To my fellow, budding musicians out there, I'd like to discuss the fine art of "sittin' in". You might find yourself at a jam, or even on stage playing music with people you've only just met, playing songs you might never have even heard. What do you do? The first rule is Stay Out Of The Way--which means to let the leader, or singer do their thing and don't clutter up the mix. Listen first, then add something subtle. Don't play too much. Keep it quiet at first. Follow the singer--if they go to the bridge, go to the bridge! Don't fight the flow! Go with the flow.
The second rule is Support The Song. Try to find out the key. Just fill in little spaces. Take turns. Listen. If someone else is playing chords, don't double that, just add what you can. Try to illustrate the meaning of the song with your contributions. For soloing, do your thing, then stop! Let somebody else take over. There's nothing worse than a virtuoso who can't stop playing over everybody. Think about playing behind them. If they get lost, jump in and steer them back to the melody. You don't have to be in the foreground all the time, do you? Add color and texture.
The third rule is, If You Know What You're Doing, Bring It On Stong. That means if you're swingin', swing hard! If you've got something to say, say it! Now, don't go on forever---but your confidence and energy can bring the whole band together. The great musicians I've had the pleasure of playing with could match their style to the group. Don't ditch the group--keep with them. Music isn't a competition.
In general, if you've been asked to 'sit in' by a band that is on stage, just play a song or two and get off. The old jazz etiquette is a lost treasure, so we're not too sure how do these things anymore, but from what I've been told by the Wise Ones: Don't assume that you get to sit in just because you came to the gig, and if you do get asked to sit in, take a little time to warm up (tune) before getting on stage, and once on stage just play one or two songs unless the band begs you to stay. Just remember, folks, music is the universal language--you can play music even with folks you don't know! It's magic, so treat it as a precious gift!
Even More Videos!
Tuesday, August 15th, Eden and Noodle share as part of 'Truth Is..." animals edition, Gala Coffee, Avondale, 7pm, free//
Thursday, August 17th, The Amazing Mittens at Vibra Rehab, 3pm, private//
Friday, August 18th, The Amazing Mittens at Savannah Grace for happyhour show, 3pm, free//
Saturday, August 19th, V-Tones trio at Grace and Grit, vintage brunch, 11:30-1:30pm//
Saturday, August 19th, V-Tones quartet at birthday party, 5-8pm, Hannahan, private//
Sunday, August 20th August 19th, V-Tones trio at Grace and Grit, vintage brunch, 11:30-1:30pm//
Wednesday, August 23rd, She Goes He Goes at Prohibition for the Sunday night Swing Dance, 8-11pm, lesson at 7pm, free//
Friday, August 25th, the V-Tones of Charleston at Allen Park for a free concert! 6:30-8:45pm, free//
Saturday, August 26th, Noodle + friends at the James Islnad Farmers' Market, 871 Ft. Johnson Rd., 9am -1pm, free//
Sunday, August 27th, The Amazing Mittens for private party, Folly Beach, 1-5pm, private//
Tuesday, August 29th, The Amazing Mittens at Summerville Farmers' Market, 3-7pm, free, Summers Corner//
Wednesday, August 30th, August 13th, The V-Tones of Charleston at Prohibition for the Sunday night Swing Dance, 8-11pm, lesson at 7pm, free//
Saturday, September 2nd, The V-Tones of Charleston play for a diversity festival, Mario Square, free, more into tba//
Wednesday, September 13th, August 13th, The V-Tones of Charleston at Prohibition for the Sunday night Swing Dance, 8-11pm, lesson at 7pm, free//
Saturday September 16th, The V-Tones at the Charleston Childrens' Museum for FamJAm, 10-11am, free! kids show!//
Saturday September 16th, She Goes He Goes plays swing Dance at Coastal Coffee in Summerville, 7-9pm, more info tba//
Sunday, September 24th, August 13th, The V-Tones of Charleston at Prohibition for the Sunday night Swing Dance, 8-11pm, lesson at 7pm, free//
Saturday, September 30th, 50th! Anniversary Party, V-Tones, 4-8pm, private//
Sunday, October 1st, V-Tones trio at Goorin Bros hat shop, noon-3pm, free show (buy a hat!)//
Friday, October 6th, The V-Tones of Charleston at Trident Tech Conference Center for lunch show, more info tba//
Saturday, October 21st, The V-Tones of Charleston at the Georgetwon Wooden Boats Show, noon-4pm, down Georgetown, we're a the corner of Front and Screven, free//
Saturday, December 9th, The Amazing Mittens at Jingles and Jammies, brunch party, private//
Saturday, December 9th, V-Tones trio for Christmas party, Bristol apts., 7-10pm, privte//
Sunday, December 10th, The V-Tones 13th Annual Holiday Extravaganza, at the Main Branch of the Charleston County Public Library, 3pm, free//
Saturday, December 16th, Holiday Band for private Christmas party, pm//