Keys players and freaking out

Everything I said in that last post might be well and good if you have a band that can improvise and work with chord charts. I'm blessed that the guys I play with are skilled in this way. But what if your piano, trumpet, flute, strings player has no idea how to work a chord chart out? What then?
We had the same problem with these instruments in our context. Most woodwind or strings players have been trained to play within an orchestra setting, and most Piano players have been trained through AMEB. Both of these factors go into having musos who love being told what to do and who struggle with improv. This doesn't mean they are not skilled, they are probably very skilled, but they haven't yet learnt the art of making stuff up.
My hope is to post up here this week some ideas for developing this skill. I'll get some thoughts from some guys who have gone from scores to chord charts and see what they found helpful.
Watch this space.

Posted byDan at 7:59 AM  


Anonymous said... 12:02 PM  

I fit into the category of being able to understand notation and chords.

I think that there are many reasons for and against what has been discussed in this and the last post. Here are some of my insights (and these are just my thoughts, they are how I interpret music)

Music is an expression of how a performer wants to create a feeling and/or point in the form of music. If a person who has studied to the best level of their instrument, lets say piano, then they would have accomplished:
1. reading technical music and
2. musicology
and these are great things to have in a musicians repotoire. But what about when in the church scene like CCEC when a woodwind, sting or brass instrument finds that the only music is guitar chord charts.

When I first started playing keys at CCEC about 6 years ago, I found it difficlut to play along with the band becasue I was used to having a solid notation in front of me, but as I started growing with the band I was in I learned to:
1. Listen to recordings and remember melody lines (even just jot them down)
2. Listen to what my band is doing and see what I could bring to the song
Now i will expand on these two points.

I would recommend for people who have recordings of songs that they would like to learn, to listen to them. Especially their parts. If you understand how your instrument is being played then you can base what you play off the recording. I said base because for all music situations, concerts, gigs, musicals, church etc, performers play with expression and feeling becasue they understand what they are singing and playing. In a church situation one should play to Glorify God, and I am not haveing a go at some musicians, but I think there is a need for a musician to understand where the song has come from and how they can use it to express their emotions for the Glory of God, and also to lead the congregation in a way that they will want to reflect on how Awesome our God is.

The second point. LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR BAND IS DOING!!!! I don't think this can be stressed enough. Great bands work together, not separately. Over the years of being in the church band, it sounds like a total mess when a shredding guitarist and a chromatic-jazz-paino player join together and try to out do each other. I would strongly recommend for musicians to think how can I contribute to this song, in that if it is a piano driven song then musicians have to mould their instruments around it, to Glorify God and to encourage the church to sing praises to God.

Having the talent to read high level music is a great talent, but I think if you can create a song based around the chords of a song that isn't that much different from the original, then you will grow as a musician. If you have any comments email me at because maybe i didn't clarify something, it was hard to understand or you disagree with me but if you want to grow as a musician I think these points are valid and that each person needs to expand their music taste, so keep listening to other music especially church songs that you would like to do.

Dan said... 12:47 PM  

Thanks heaps Josh. That was one long comment! but good stuff! anyone else have thoughts?

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