Guest appearance with a house-band … What should you be aware of?
You probably sing because you love singing. If you sing a lot, you might end up singing in different constellations and for different purposes. Perhaps you might appear as a guest singer with a house-band you do not know. I’ve worked as Musical Director for house-bands on TV and live shows for many years. I think there are several things you should be aware of when you do such a guest performance with a house-band – so here and in some following blog-posts, are some thoughts from a M.D.’s view.
Of course, if you’re on tour promoting you latest single, you don’t have to consider which song to perform with the local house bands. But if you’re going to some sort of audition or examination, or performing as the icing on the cake at a venue with a house-band, there are things you should consider. Whether you sing only to please yourself or others, the result will be better and more memorable the fewer elements that can distract the judges or audience and remove focus from the overall impression and your performance. The more everyone on stage work as a unit, focusing on energy, dynamics and interpretation, the stronger the result will be. Therefore it’s wise to also think about the style, arrangement, duration and so on.
“But if the band is a group of serious and professional musicians, who even had opportunity to prepare your song, shouldn’t everything be possible?” In theory, yes… In practice, not necessarily.
Soren Reiff as Musical director. Hush did a guest appearance with the house-band on the TV-show “Danmarks indsamlingen”
The other day a student from Berklee College of Music asked me if I could give him an advice. Not just any advice – but my best advice to a young guitar player, who wanted to “live my life” and play the type of jobs I’ve done.
That was a tough one. There’s so many things I can think of depending on what you’re focusing at – I mean should it be concerning networking, education, playing gigs, recording sessions, getting the right guitar or practicing … well “practicing” – that’s a god place to start. So here it is … at least one of them 🙂
Some time ago I wrote a post about how I didn’t choose to have music as a profession – I just couldn’t imaging a life without playing guitar every day … all day – so today we are looking down the history lane.
My first guitar
I started playing guitar when I was around 4 years old. My big brother bought an electric guitar and I got so jealous that my parents bought me a small acoustic as well. I guess they thought I would keep interest for a week or two and then return to my normal routines, but no …
My brother, who was ten years older than me, showed me new chords or a scale every once in a while, but I didn’t had “real” lessons on a regular basics. I had fun with the guitar, but I also did a lot of other typical child stuff.
When I was around ten years old my brother took me to an Eric Clapton concert and I was blown away. When we left the concert hall, I told my brother that I would play like Clapton one day. He smiled and told me that if I wanted to do that, I should practice and practice a lot. l remember how I said to myself: “hell yeah, then I’m going to practice a lot”, but I just looked at my bro and said “ok”.
Jesper Reiff playing live with Soren Reiff (10 years old) @ Smogen, Holbæk – playing for the fun of it – with no thoughts of having music as a profession
After that experience my interest for music intensified. I bought my first electric guitar when I was ten years old and started practicing a bit more seriously. Continue reading →
After writing about how thankful I am to be a musician, and how privileged I think I am to be able to live from my music, I think it might be logical to write about how this happened, and why I become a professional guitar player. Here’s a little story from the past …
Many years ago a young guitar player called me, and wanted to take private lessons from me – three hours a day, five days a week. The reason for this? He wanted to get all the gigs I had. I told him that it was a tough and intense schedule he asked for, but he was consistent. A couple of months later he showed up with his guitar a monday morning, ready to start. After the first day he was tired, after the second day he was very tired, after the third day he was exhausted … “couldn’t we just do something different the next day, like going to the tv-set where I worked and check out my rig or something?”. The fifth day he went back to the town he came for – had to reconsider his life and career plans.
A week later
He called me about a week later … “could I talk with him for a minute or two?”