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  1. #1

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    Sure i smoke pot but come on, lol. only at night btw and never on a gig. Anyway, how do you guys deal with that sort of thing. Especially when im doing a trio or duo with bass. im doing a chord melody version. I play it in the practice room flawlessly then on the bandstand, some how space a certain part. I know its a totally different animal out there in the real world then in your room practicing. i guess i already know the answer, practice it more.

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  3. #2

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    Everytime you move into another level of playing, there's another skill set.

    So, it's one thing to play alone at home, another to entertain your friends, another at a friendly jam, another at an unfriendly jam, a small background gig, a large background gig, good sound, bad sound, without a PA, with a PA, in a concert etc.

    For me, each step up makes it harder to relax. And, relaxation seems to be the key. If I'm not relaxed everything is harder, including harder to remember things.

    So, over the years, I've tried to maximize the probability of being relaxed. Practicing a lot is definitely number one, but it's not the only thing that matters, or so it seems to me.

    Here are some things that have seemed helpful.

    1. Arrive early enough to set up and then have 15 or 20 minutes to relax.

    2. Start with something really easy.

    3. I know I should be past this, but I like having a chart on the stand for any tune that isn't in the deepest part of my brain. It deals with the fear of forgetting, even if I don't need to look at the chart.

    4. Get my tone the way I want to hear it as quickly as possible. This is at least half mental. I have repeatedly had the experience of using the same settings in the same room as last week, turning it on and hating the sound. Then, in the second set, it sounds good, even though nothing changed. I don't know what to do about the mental part, but I do know that it's harder to play if it doesn't sound like you coming out of the speaker.

    5. Play with other musicians who help you feel relaxed. Not everybody is the same in this respect.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzgtrl4 View Post
    Sure i smoke pot but come on, lol. only at night btw and never on a gig.
    What about during practice and rehearsal?

    I've known people for whom regular indulgence seemingly "inverted" them - indulged, they were comfortable, normal, effective, and all good until they had to go through a while of non-indulgence during which they found that things felt weird, they spaced out, lost concentration, had lapses of short term memory, experienced confusion, got moody, slipped their attention into daydreaming, etc... because they had "emerged into straight", and that not being their usual familiar baseline indulgent mentality, its difference was disorienting.

    Maybe try "never during practice or rehearsal" for a while and see if matching the preparation mentality with the performance mentality helps clear up the connection and retention from the one to the other?
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  5. #4

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    Allegedly someone asked Johnny Griffin how he was able to play the sax with his usual lightning speed and accuracy while being totally juiced up on booze. He replied that he could do it because he was totally juiced up when he practised.

    (Not that I am recommending this as a solution...)

  6. #5

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    I think it's worth figuring out more specifically what is happening: with bebop heads, it's sometimes easier to skip a section or go to an ending or something unintentionally. Like Moose The Mooche, that's a head that's easy to repeat the "A" section of if you're not careful, it actually never repeats itself for a whole A, but it's easy to hear it "wrong". A standard that's similar is "I Get A Kick Out Of You", where again, the various A sections all end slightly differently. I also do this with "Confirmation", despite having played it a million times. I often mix up the last lick of the A section before the bridge, with the last lick of the A section at the end of the tune.

    The other issue is that you don't remember what the melody sounds like, in which case, you can listen to the tune more, and specifically the part of the tune you don't remember. I often forget the last 4 bars of a bridge.

    Listening more is always going to help. But for me, it's been useful to understand (fairly specifically) which parts I am finding difficult to remember.

  7. #6

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    Chord melody can be evil. Make sure you're learning the head separately as well, not just as melody and chords combined or an "arrangement."
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Allegedly someone asked Johnny Griffin how he was able to play the sax with his usual lightning speed and accuracy while being totally juiced up on booze. He replied that he could do it because he was totally juiced up when he practised.

    (Not that I am recommending this as a solution...)

    Funny (not so funny) story.

    Some guys I knew who aren't me...or something...in high school took note of the fact that when you smoke pot, all you do is remember and talk about the stuff you did the last time you smoked pot. So the plan was to get high, study for finals, then take the finals while high, thereby remembering everything we...I mean they...studied.

    Worked out great, at the final they remembered that they didn't actually study at all, they just watched "The Warriors" and ordered pizza from 2 different places to see who delivered quicker.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  9. #8

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    There are so many different strains of pot available now days. Can't you just get the "Make me a great jazz guitarist strain" and fire it up when you need it?

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Allegedly someone asked Johnny Griffin how he was able to play the sax with his usual lightning speed and accuracy while being totally juiced up on booze. He replied that he could do it because he was totally juiced up when he practised.

    (Not that I am recommending this as a solution...)
    I believe the phenomena is called "state-related learning" and the day I learned of it I started cleaning up my act in every way. My view is: if I can't play clean, I can't play; and if I can't play, who am I?

    It's stone cold sober for me whether practicing or performing, full stop. I am now a much better player than I was. YMMV.
    Best regards, k

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    What about during practice and rehearsal?

    I've known people for whom regular indulgence seemingly "inverted" them - indulged, they were comfortable, normal, effective, and all good until they had to go through a while of non-indulgence during which they found that things felt weird, they spaced out, lost concentration, had lapses of short term memory, experienced confusion, got moody, slipped their attention into daydreaming, etc... because they had "emerged into straight", and that not being their usual familiar baseline indulgent mentality, its difference was disorienting.

    Maybe try "never during practice or rehearsal" for a while and see if matching the preparation mentality with the performance mentality helps clear up the connection and retention from the one to the other?
    Ya i never smoke during practice, well i have before, never regularly. And im not seriously practicing, just playing tunes.

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Chord melody can be evil. Make sure you're learning the head separately as well, not just as melody and chords combined or an "arrangement."
    Hey Jeff, its this!!!, it sure can...this happen to me, learned this hip Darn that dream CM years ago with out learning the head separately. was playing with a bass player, it bit me in the ass. I think that's some of my hang up there, pulling off these harder CM in a live environment.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200 View Post
    There are so many different strains of pot available now days. Can't you just get the "Make me a great jazz guitarist strain" and fire it up when you need it?
    Hahaha, wouldn't that be great!.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzgtrl4 View Post
    Sure i smoke pot but come on, lol. only at night btw and never on a gig. Anyway, how do you guys deal with that sort of thing. Especially when im doing a trio or duo with bass. im doing a chord melody version. I play it in the practice room flawlessly then on the bandstand, some how space a certain part. I know its a totally different animal out there in the real world then in your room practicing. i guess i already know the answer, practice it more.
    Happens to everybody. Remember, there are no wrong notes, only unintended ones. So whatever you play, play it like you meant to (helps to close your eyes and have an expression of pained seriousness on your face). That, and just keep calling the tunes you flub until you stop flubbing them, then move on to flubbing different tunes.

    John

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Funny (not so funny) story.

    Some guys I knew who aren't me...or something...in high school took note of the fact that when you smoke pot, all you do is remember and talk about the stuff you did the last time you smoked pot. So the plan was to get high, study for finals, then take the finals while high, thereby remembering everything we...I mean they...studied.

    Worked out great, at the final they remembered that they didn't actually study at all, they just watched "The Warriors" and ordered pizza from 2 different places to see who delivered quicker.
    Hah. I briefly played in a rock band with a bass player who was OK when high, but absolutely sucked when he was straight; couldn't play at all unless he smoked a bowl. After several rehearsals and gigs where this pattern became evident to everyone but him, he showed up to a gig at an outdoor festival put on by the local Hell's Angels chapter, and announced that he knew how important the gig was so he was completely straight and wouldn't take the chance of sparking up. Nooooooo ... ! Total trainwreck, but they were Swiss Hell's Angel's, so we survived.

    John

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Swiss Hell's Angels
    Clean, tidy, and renowned for their punctuality.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Chord melody can be evil. Make sure you're learning the head separately as well, not just as melody and chords combined or an "arrangement."
    Totally , I asked John Etheridge once what I
    need to do to know a tune
    He said (something like)

    The melody
    the changes
    A chord-melody arrangement of some sort
    All the above in a few different keys too

    Phew ,a salutory lesson for me

  17. #16

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    It's different practicing, and it's different practicing playing. You have to practice performing it the way you intend to perform it during a gig. Otherwise you're not getting the most out of the material you practice.

    When you practice do you just play through the head once and that's it? Because that's not what you'd play on a gig. You'd play the tune start to finish. That's how you are supposed to practice playing songs. Even if there is no one else in the room you have to play the song like you'd play it to an audience that is listening to everything that's going on. Otherwise you won't get better at playing, you just get better at practicing how to practice.

  18. #17

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    I sometimes find it helpful to visualise a bunch of people I know are in the room watching me play. Like Don Oz says, it somehow makes me play the tune without stopping, and to ignore any slips and just keep going.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu View Post
    Totally , I asked John Etheridge once what I
    need to do to know a tune
    He said (something like)

    The melody
    the changes
    A chord-melody arrangement of some sort
    All the above in a few different keys too

    Phew ,a salutory lesson for me
    My teacher would always say stuff like "let's play ________, start from the last 4 of the bridge."

    Quickly showed me how well I knew a tune.

    (I still suck at this exercise, btw)
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by don_oz View Post
    It's different practicing, and it's different practicing playing. You have to practice performing it the way you intend to perform it during a gig. Otherwise you're not getting the most out of the material you practice.

    When you practice do you just play through the head once and that's it? Because that's not what you'd play on a gig. You'd play the tune start to finish. That's how you are supposed to practice playing songs. Even if there is no one else in the room you have to play the song like you'd play it to an audience that is listening to everything that's going on. Otherwise you won't get better at playing, you just get better at practicing how to practice.
    HI

    I understand where you're coming from. Ya when i practice a tune ill play the head, CM or single note. then take a chorus or two. maybe not finish the tune. But ya, im not thinking in a performance mind set like i was on the gig. thanks

  21. #20
    interesting read, i have some of these issues forsure.

    Why You Play Better In Practice Than Performance - Play In The Zone