Mattias Bylund, Jannik Jensen, Pontus Engborg, Tracy Silverman & Soren Reiff

Guest appearance with a house-band – part 5

I’ve written about the length of the song and the style. I’ve also written about challenges for band members and tempo changes. Now it’s about time to wrap it all up with a few more thoughts about guest appearances. Thes thoughts might be obvious for some … not everybody.

Last but not least

When you do a guest appearance with a house-band it’s important you know the song you’re singing well. The better you you know the song the more you can assist the band by leading and cueing. If something goes wrong during the concert, you’ll be more on top of what happens the more you know the song.

Conversely, if you do not feel particularly well and relaxed about any of the songs you have chosen, my advice would be to go with the simplest. When the band have the possibility to focus on other things rather than just getting thru, surviving the parts that require virtuosity, they will give you much better backing and that will lead you to a good overall performance. A performance where you will appear absolutely the best and seem more convincing.

Mattias Bylund, Jannik Jensen, Pontus Engborg, Tracy Silverman & Soren Reiff, outside Svenska Grammofon Studion, Gothenburg, Sweden

Some years ago I did a guest appearance on the America TV format “Studio jams” … actually we all did – and we all showed up with open minds and a positive attitude

When you have made your choice, be sure to forward as much information as possible to the Musical Director. Information such as: original version of the song, maybe alternative versions for inspiration. Be sure to make clear which version you want to use the arrangement from and as reference. Inform the MD about the key you want to sing the song in. It’s more important than you might think to be clear about that. Some of the parts might be difficult to transpose on the day if it’s a guitar part voiced a very specific way, or a sax part that suddenly would have sounded much better on alto instead of tenor sax. Off cause things can be transposed on the rehearsal. But what do you prefer? One time thru transpose on the day, or two times thru, because everybody had agreed on the key and their parts in advance?

Also remember to inform about the tempo, and very important if you want to cut out certain parts, or repeat parts more than on the original version. Imagine a serious MD who has programmed a sequencer track, since the song really needs a certain synth or percussion part. When you get together the sequencer can’t be used, since the structure is different from the one you sent. With more rehearsal time that wouldn’t be a serious problem but with a 10 minute slot it’s just wasted work.

So think ahead and try to prepare as much as possible – give as much information as possible – the MD will love you for that 🙂


Remember to bring your most positive attitude – and be prepare for tons of waiting time. Change in schedules and rehearsal time, weird dressing rooms and more waiting time. Bad monitors, technically problems and more waiting time. If you think of all this and prepare mentally it should be a blast.

Enjoy … looking forward to be playing with you.


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