When I was in Junior High school band, our music instructor hammered in a basic musical concept over and over and over. He always said, “Listen to what is going on around you.” I think that is a basic fundamental of performance.
If one of the members of the band plays louder than everyone else, it is probably because they aren’t even bothering to listen. It’s especially important in dynamics.
One of the basics I had to learn to master was how to lead the band in to the next section of a tune. That was a struggle; learning how to play underneath the vocalist, allowing them to hear themselves, coming down at the beginning of solos, all the while not losing intensity in my performance.
How many times have I played with a guitar player or bass player who are always too loud, drowning out other players. I haven’t got time for it; I do not have a six hundred watt Class D amp driving my drum kit.
Not every stage has a monitor system. Lower decibels equates to a greater ability to hear one another.
I also believe that folks who are struggling with tempo haven’t learned to really hear what is being articulated from other performances. I used to be so concerned about which note was coming next and concentrating on the moment, I would lose focus of overall context. A big no, no.
I have a bass player friend, who, whenever we gig together, we lock in to one another and work dynamics for each song. It is totally compelling, working as a team, supporting the other band members. Everyone has got to be on board with this. It doesn’t help if the rhythm section is working its butt off and some guitarist or trumpet player, or who ever, is obliviously playing, ignoring dynamics.
Is music a conversation? Listen. Is there a melodic question? Listen. Do you want to answer? Listen. Do you want to make a statement? Listen. Do you want to help others sound better? Listen
Is there any way we can help?
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One response to “Learning To Listen”
[…] Life is about totality. That’s how I see it. I have been playing music longer than I have been cooking and pairing wine. I’m not a master chef, but I am a pretty good cook. I am not a master engineer, or producer, but I have a damn good ear. […]