"One of the fundamental errors that band members frequently make is not listening closely to the rest of the band. It’s easy to just focus on yourself, but in order to play well together, it’s listening to everyone else that really counts. This is the single most important action you can take when playing with other musicians.
So what do you listen for? You listen to how the other musicians are playing or singing a phrase or part. How loudly are they playing? What are their dynamics like? How do they start and end each phrase (more on this later)? Where are they accenting? How are they playing the accents? Are they playing ahead or behind the beat? Does their tempo speed up when they play louder or slow down as they get softer? All these items require your attention as much as possible. The more you listen to each other and how each of you play or sing, the tighter you become. It’s that simple.
Things To Listen For When Playing With Others
- How loudly are they playing?
- What are their dynamics?
- How do they start and end a phrase?
- Where are they accenting?
- How are they playing the accents?
- Are they playing ahead or behind the beat?
- Do they speed up when they play softer or louder?
During a gig you sometimes get a different perspective on how things sound since the environment is different and you’re probably set up differently than during rehearsal. As a result, you’ll probably notice things that got by during rehearsal. Make a mental note of the parts that aren’t being played well together and address those items first at the next rehearsal."
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