Monday, April 22, 2013

Drill: Being different

For those of you who solo, do you ever take into consideration the solos of the people before you, or the solo "styles" of the people in your group?

There's nothing wrong with soloing to express yourself and being genuine in that expression.  But think about the audience's point of view, especially if they're watching five, eight, or a dozen solos in a row.  Solos can easily start blending together, sounding and looking alike.  You shouldn't make it your main goal to "stand out", but it's worth thinking about.

Listen and look for patterns.  This applies to the solo before yours as well as all the solos as a whole.  Lots of syncopation?  Try staying on the downbeat.  Lots of playing stationary?  Explore the space around you.  Lots of notes?  Play less and make them count.

Not only does this help make you stand out to the audience, it provides variety and diversity to your group.  It does takes the ability to play in different ways and be flexible, but you can think of it as an opportunity to try new ways of playing rather than a difficult chore.  Besides, it's optional - you don't have to do this.

To start easy, don't do it while you're in a song.  Do it when you're watching one.  Watch the first soloist and take note of what they do and don't do.  Continue that observation through several soloists, then look at the solos as a group and take note again.

Having trouble seeing what's "left"/what else you can do?  Be creative.  Does anyone pause or hold a movement?  Kiai?  Jump?  Kneel/crouch?  Are there many ka played?

It's easy to stand out by being ridiculous but you probably don't need to go that far.  Just be observant and pick the places you want to "fill in".  Remember, as long as your solo is about being genuine rather than being impressive, you're on a good path!

No comments:

Post a Comment