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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2001

    Exclamation Any Guitarists (or other musicians) Out There? Need Some Input

    A local middle school has "8th grade day", where all the 8th graders go to the YMCA for a day of swimming, eating all day, playing basketball, karaoke, etc. I was asked to rejoin the old band (made up of some of the teachers) when we used to play for the kids, 7 or 8 years ago. Here's the thing; members of "the band" have changed. It is amazing at the number of people that hear you are going to play, and start inviting themselves into the band, by saying, "You know, I play <insert various music instruments>. I would love to play, too." Note: we do not have a singer anymore, as she moved away. It's all instrumental, now.

    Maybe you are getting an idea where this is going.

    The drummer is a child of the 60's. Not too much of an issue there (as he is a drummer), but all of his musical tastes lean in that direction. The kids know a few of the songs, but do not know about Cream, Kinks, Beatles, Animals, etc.

    The bass player is the school band director. He plays very well (of course); however, his tastes seem to revolve around late 70's/early 80's Chicago type stuff. The kids are not really interested.

    The assistant band director (very young---in her first year of teaching) plays trumpet. She only reads music, and plays nothing by ear or heart. She tends toward big band stuff. Need I mention what the kids think of this? She is a self-invite.

    One guitarist, a social studies teacher, plays very light rock and folk. He pretty much does nothing but P&W music at Church. All acoustic, he is having issues with going electric. As above, he is a self-invite.

    Another guitarist, the drama teacher, is unknown in abilities and music style. He will be there to practice on Tuesday. He is a self-invite.

    Finally, there is myself. I go with the genre of hard rock and metal, with a strong dose of Texas Blues.

    Imagine all of us trying to find something we can all play. The 2 or 3 of us that had played together years ago were out of sync. We needed time to fall into our old familiarity. We could not, as there were others in the mix. We sounded horrible. We stunk. What makes it worse is that the members that played music the kids can not stand, were probably the best/most exact musicians in the bunch, as they play every day. We all knew bits and pieces of songs, but could not remember complete songs.

    Here is what we did on Thursday, after much of a mess:

    1) Chicago's "Twenty Five or Six to 4". It was the only thing we could come up with that had horns. I played kinda quiet-like, as that is really not a head-banger song. The head band director looked over at me and said, "We need to stiffen it up with a hard edge, so the kids will appreciate it. So, the kids are getting the hard rock version of the song.

    2) George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone". An easy song, but we have no singer. It gets monotous to me, even with all the lead breaks.

    3) "That Blues Jam Thing in E". A simple improvisation with me noodling around on the guitar in a Stevie Ray Vaughn type way...the kind of thing that is never played the same way twice. Surprisingly (even to myself), it was myself that did not really want to do this. If I do not write a complete song, we do not know when to stop.

    4) "Sweet Home Alabama". The last song we played. We actually kicked it on this one. However, when it came time for the solo guitar parts, I could not remember a note of it. It has been too long. So, now I am trying to listen to the song, looking up tab online, etc. trying to get it down. I am not sure I can get the solo down in a week's time, as I do not have much time to practice anymore. Remember, we have no singer. I am feeling uncomfortable with that, as I am originally from Alabama. It's like sacrilege, or something.

    We would like some more-recent songs, most definitely.

    So we broke off, with promises to think of some songs this weekend, before practice on Tuesday. I am coming up with nothing. We are running out of time. I am looking for suggestions, advice, prayers...well, you get the message. We can use any help we can get.

    Going out of business in our 10th year.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Handle it like you are a cover band. If a cover band plays what they like they don't make money. Review the charts and amazon or other sites to see what is selling. Visit the websites of local radio stations they usually have a top play list. You could also check out Radio Disney altough this group may too old. Radio Disney recycles songs from the 80s and many of the youn artist are remaking older songs.

    As for the horns look at some of the ska or rockabilly inluenced bands. There are quite a few groups with horns playing today.

    Most the kids will not get southern rock, texas blues, or most 70s. music and metal is not as main stream as it was. Once you find a list of songs google the web for tablature sites. Most will have pretty up to date tabs of current songs for guiter and bass.

    Is there a choir teacher? Find a singer instrumentals probably won't keep there attention. If the accoustic player can play find some songs with acoustic parts and let he play. Green Day combines acoustic and electric parts pretty well.

    Think of this as job and set some guidelines. Everyband needs a leader somene who makes the final decision even if you let everyone have a say.

    I know some may thnk thi stakes the fun out of the playing but you need to be organized and focus on the intented audience. Fun jam bands are normally only fun to the badn itself.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    For your tabbing needs:

    For 8th graders, you're looking at songs by bands such as:

    Blink 182

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    trumpet -self invite
    guitar -self invite acoustic only
    guitar - self invite

    I belive this is what you have now. First I must say self invites are a pain in the butt. especially when they want to stuff different then what you want to do, I would talk with the the ones that were not self invite figure out something the three of you can agree on (I would go for something in the mid to late 90's for 8th graders) and tell the self invites that if they don't like it, that you will do it without them. If they leave, thats one less person you have to deal with, if they stay, then you don't have to fight about what kind of music to play.
    Who is General Fault, and why is he reading my disk?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    I really would find yourselves a semi-decent vocalist though, nobody fantastic, just someone who can keep a tune, and get the kids to sing along!

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