I want my concerts to flow and to be a constant surprise to the audience.…
Learn to play the guitar, piano, drums, and bass in a group setting.
The Music Ensemble Practice
What do I need to know to be able to enjoy our Sydney Music Ensembles to the fullest extent
In all our music ensembles we encourage band members to have full control over any song to the best of their abilities.
What does this mean?
This requires the student to be able to play by memory the full vocal line, (the melody line), of the song and the accompaniment but not at the same time.
In a band we have different roles. One is to define the melody and the other is to define the accompaniment. The more we are able to play both roles, the better the song will sound and the more fun we will have.
In this manner there is no need to have the chords or chart in front of you, once you know the basic outline of the song.
What do you need to know to understand the outline of any song?
In our Ensemble music lessons you learn the necessary skills to play a song of your choice in a group format. That is in a band type format where you play the melody of the song or the accompaniment, and create variations of both, including improvising a simple solo.
When you play the melody the other members of the band will play the accompaniment, when you play the accompaniment another band member will play the melody or solo over the structure of the song.
Therefore you need to know
Step 1: The General Outline
- What is the key?
- What are the available chords?
- What is the time signature?
- How is the beat divided?
- What is the basic structure of the song?
- How is this structure repeated?
- Where to play the melody?
Step 2: The Details – Learn Melody & Chords
- The melody and chords off by Heart
Step 3: Prove that you know it.
If after steps 1 and 2 your are able to do the following, you will then have a basic understanding of a song:
- Can you sing the chords of the song twice, non stop and to a metronome beat?
- Can you sing the melody twice and clap your hands on one, non stop and to a metronome beat?
- Can you play the chords twice and sing the melody, non stop and to a metronome beat?
Step 4: Record Melody and Chords
As final proof, record the chords and melody repeating the basic structure twice.
What comes next after we know the song?
Well, now it is time to play the song as a group, have fun and tell a story that has a beginning, a climax and an ending.
For example: Let’s say you are the bass player. The band plays once through the song and upon the repeat, the vocals becomes more intense, therefore as a bass player you will have to complement the intensity with variations of the bass line.
The same would apply to any other instrument in the band or ensemble as piano, strings, brass instruments, etc.
How do you create these variations?
You learn to modify your existing role and make it more or less intense by applying three simple generic guidelines.
You can play more intensely by adding more rhythm, more melodic tension or playing in a higher octave. All of this can happen at the same time or individually.
- A bass player could rearrange the bass line to create ascending, descending bass lines in order to vary the intensity.
- A trumpet player could choose to focus on long chordal tensions in his solo.
- A guitarist could play the same riff octave lower and then octave higher.
- The band could decide to reharmonize a section.
- A vocals could start rapping with more rhythm.
The what to do, to be able to create on the go riffs, grooves, solos or melody changes is a simple reflection of practicing specific techniques to make us aware of how to achieve the changes in any style of music whether it is jazz, pop, funk, soul, blues, reggae flamenco. etc
Yes, we do all of this in all our Sydney Ensemble music lessons and we encourage all musicians to be creative and let go as the end result is rewarding and satisfaction does create a good feeling that translates into a balanced existence.
You will also learn how to develop and expand your improvisational skills as a guitarist, pianist, trumpet player, drummer, vocalist or as any other band member.
We do play a lot in our ensemble music lessons and consider they are also guitar lessons or instrumental lessons where you will pick up more chops as a performer.
What happens if I cannot read music?
All songs and parts are pre recorded and musicians can download them to memorize accordingly. I recommend the LISP method to be more effective in transcriptions.
What happens if I miss a session ?
If all other band members agree I will record the session for the absentee to be able to catch up.
Can you describe what happens in a rehearsal?
I expect all band members to arrive 5 minutes before the session so as to prepare.
In the first 15 minutes we will warm up with aural and rhythmic training.
Then we will perform the songs, understanding that all band members have previously done their best at home during the week.
The tutor will guide all the band members on how to be more proficient in their performances as an individual and as an ensemble member.
The objective of all ensembles is to get ready for the live gig. Yes, we all get together every 10 weeks and perform a concert for our personal enjoyment and that of our friends and family. This is all really great fun.
What are you waiting for? Call me, book your FREE assessment and sign up.
Please not that the Creative Guitar School is open on Mondays and Tuesdays in Sydney and the rest of the weekdays in Wollongong.