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Band practice panic. Just made the band but having second thoughts.

Outlier

Member
Messages
1,434
Okay, so it's been two years since I was in a band and wanted to get back into the groove. I met up with an existing group last weekend and we jammed a bit and they told me I was in. They sent me a set list of 20 songs and over half are out of my vocal range and I only know the guitar parts to three. So we have band practice tomorrow and I'm sweating bullets. I had a busy work week and only had time to nail down one new song. To make matters worse they are using backing tracks in practice with very specific timings.

My options are a) bail- I don't need this kind of stress in my life and most bands seem a bit more organic and less homework oriented.

b) go unprepared and try to fudge my way through some songs

c) tell them that I didn't have time to woodshed the set list and ask them if they still want to practice.

I'm going to work on some more songs and listen to your wise feedback.
 

paulbearer

Member
Messages
5,244
originals? a lot to learn in a week.
or if songs you're 'familiar' with, tough, but build a chart w the key chords & changes (2 lines max per tune) as a floor chart reference. no one will fault you for that.
you made the band, so go for it, (and be honest)
you want to be in a band, bailing might reset the clock, unless you have pending options.
good luck!
 

gixxerrock

Member
Messages
3,865
Be honest about what you know, what you are willing to wing. Hopefully you have enough common ground to have a productive practice. Just make sure you learn a bunch more for the next practice so they see your hard work and forward progress.

Enjoy, it will only get better.
 

RLD

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,770
Agree with being honest.
For auditions where I have to learn a bunch of songs, I chart them out with a chord short hand I've developed over the years.
Don't be afraid bring charts and a music stand if you must.
When you nail the parts no one will mind.
 

Gasp100

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
21,289
20 in one week and playing to tracks / click and you need to nail vocals? I’m assuming backing vocals? I wouldn’t agree to that unless they were a regularly working, getting me paid band with urgent upcoming gigs (is that the case?)
I learned 40 (covers) in 2 weeks for a band that had immediate upcoming paid gigs when I joined (replaced a founding member). It was tough and consumed me for 2 weeks, but cemented my relationship in the band (and eventually in the “scene). Also, many of those tunes are on everyone’s set list so I rode (and still ride) many of those songs to this day.
DONT CANCEL PRACTICE
DONT QUIT
You need to have the sack to set proper expectations IN PERSON.
If you can handle 3 tunes and if you force them to run them through a few times to solidify that makes way more sense.
If you’re the new lead singer and you got the gig you can pretty much tell them they are working on your schedule now.

EDIT: I’m not a fan of charts. In 99% of situations you’re are not playing Bach or Zappa (are you?). All my guys in my band are still referring to charts / notes on stuff that should be committed to memory by now. I video each practice and they have near ZERO stage presence, are regularly referring to notes killing the flow between songs, and still making some gaffs.
It’s getting better now that i’m sharing video each week.
 
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Baminated

Member
Messages
6,494
Okay, so it's been two years since I was in a band and wanted to get back into the groove. I met up with an existing group last weekend and we jammed a bit and they told me I was in. They sent me a set list of 20 songs and over half are out of my vocal range and I only know the guitar parts to three. So we have band practice tomorrow and I'm sweating bullets. I had a busy work week and only had time to nail down one new song. To make matters worse they are using backing tracks in practice with very specific timings.

My options are a) bail- I don't need this kind of stress in my life and most bands seem a bit more organic and less homework oriented.

b) go unprepared and try to fudge my way through some songs

c) tell them that I didn't have time to woodshed the set list and ask them if they still want to practice.

I'm going to work on some more songs and listen to your wise feedback.
Any gig where there is a ton of homework, especially since i have a day job now, is a no go. If i have 1 week, I will learn 5 unfamiliar cover songs TOPS (maybe). If they are OKN's (Original Key Nazis, and refuse to bend, get out.

OR
you might even use the fact that those tunes are out of range as a reason to back out.

Let them bring up transposing. Most peeps won't transpose either out of laziness or lack of skill, or both .

Just say something came up at work - like a big project and youre too wiped out at the end of the day to learn 20 new songs.

The fact that those songs are out of range is enough - youll kill your voice and lose your falsetto range by belting
 
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Baminated

Member
Messages
6,494
Just some more anecdotal stuff -
Ive been gigging since 1988, was full time muso for decades, bachelor's degree in music, etc . . .

Recently , as a day jobber now, I took a gig where i had to learn close to 30 tunes in 2 weeks.

It was the most stressful situation i put myself in in a long time. It was literally hell.

So even for someone with alot of pro experience and alot of "time in" on the instrument itself study wise, 20-30 songs in a week WITH a day job, is just too much - don't do it !
 

DanPaul

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
540
So, you tried out last weekend and got the gig. Great job! They send you the set list and now you are feeling the pressure to learn 20 songs in less than a week. As some have asked, is it a cover band? That makes a huge difference as 20 originals is a lot to digest in less than a week.

Serious question: Are they EXPECTING you to learn 20 songs in less than a week or are you applying unrealistic expectations to yourself? That's in addition to the songs being out of your range.

In the off chance they expect you to learn the 20 songs in a week, exercise option A and bail. That's unrealistic but if the pressure is self imposed do what you can and you'll be just fine with an honest effort. If you are the lead singer then feel free to transpose the tunes to whatever works vocally.

Good luck!
 

Outlier

Member
Messages
1,434
I knew you guys would come through with some great stuff. I feel a lot better about it. Just took a break and checking my TGP. I think 20 songs was too much to realistically expect. I'm now up to 6 fairly solid and I think I can sort of fake another two with some strategic non-playing to cover some parts I don't have down. Yes, singing lead for most songs and playing rhythm guitar. So a tall order for an amateur with full time job. Was told they did not want to deviate from original keys. That is revealing...

They are covers so some are familiar or I know the main melody at least. We are playing to backing track because their drummer is away this week but they did provide me with the drum tracks which was nice. I just prefer a live drummer who can adjust to anything that might (will) go astray rather than a relentless backing track. Will let them know I'm not fully prepared but would like to practice 6 or 7 songs and get those down tomorrow. They seem like reasonable guys so I hope they will relax a bit. Maybe this is a test?

Anyway, back to the woodshed and thx for the supportive words and helpful hints.
 

paulbearer

Member
Messages
5,244
Was told they did not want to deviate from original keys. They are covers so some are familiar or I know the main melody at least. We are playing to backing track because their drummer is away this week but they did provide me with the drum tracks which was nice.
At that point, I might just practice over the actual recordings. Gives you the bass line *and* the vox.
 

soulman969

Member
Messages
3,650
Yes, singing lead for most songs and playing rhythm guitar. So a tall order for an amateur with full time job. Was told they did not want to deviate from original keys. That is revealing...
I've been in this position as a lead vocalist in several bands both as a guitarist and a bassist going all the way back to HS. My rule is simple. If I cannot sing it well in the chosen key then we either alter that, someone else sings it, or the songs goes.

There's nothing worse than listening to a vocalist struggling to hit notes outside if his or her range and nothing worse or more wearing for your voice than to spend an entire gig trying to do it and damaging your vocal chords in the process.

I realize some songs are based on riffs that simply can't be played in an altered key so in my case we've replaced them with songs that were well within my range and similar. No one wants to listen to a vocalist screaming and straining to hit notes all night.

I'm assuming this is not what you're doing for a living any more than I ever have so IMHO it helps to make the others aware of your vocal limitations now. If they won't work within your limitations and adjust to them like it or not you're in the wrong band.

You can do some serious and permanent damage to your vocal chords constantly trying to sing out of your range all night long. I've played with guys who've done it and who even required surgery just as some pros have and some can't do vocals at all anymore period.

It's that or find a voice coach who may be able to help you extend your range but even that many only be temporary. Age has a way of taking it all back. ;)
 




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