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Gigging Archives - Page 2

Shaping A Jam Session From The Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Shaping A Jam Session From The Bass

Q: I go to a few jam sessions in my city, which have given me great times and contacts. For the most part, I’ve been able to get over most of the pre-jam jitters and adopt more of a “whatever happens, happens” approach to sessions. But I have encountered one stumbling block related to bassist conduct that I wanted to...

The Lightbulb Moment: Three’s Accompany
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Three’s Accompany

When it comes to accompanying a singer or soloist, there’s nothing like the power of three. The rock trio. The jazz trio. The trio of cheeses provided in the green room. It’s the perfect way to get the bases covered (no pun intended). While there are various forms of trio instrumentation (keys, bass, drums; guitar, bass, drums; guitar, fiddle, and...

Concentrating on the Gig
Ask Damian Erskine

Concentrating on the Gig

Q: I have a question about… mindset, I guess. I feel like I make a lot of unnecessary mistakes during gigs. I mean that it’s not a technical deficiency, and it’s not that I don’t know what needs to happen but I just seem to goof it up. Kind of a lot. Any advice? A: This reminds me of a...

Getting Through A Bad Gig
Ask Damian Erskine

Getting Through A Bad Gig

Q: What do you do on a bad night? Like, if the gig is not happening, what’s the best way to avoid toxicity and frustration and make the best of it? A: This question extends far beyond just musical situations. I recently heard an interesting podcast interview with a specialist who studies emotions and the brain, which served to confirm...

The Lightbulb Moment: One, Four, Five
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: One, Four, Five

“Hey, so we’re in G and it’s a one, four, five thing. Cool? Count it off.” Here we go again… Whether it’s a local blues jam, and evening hang at your friend’s garage-turned-music-room, or a gig where someone decides to deviate from the setlist, the notion of calling a “One, Four, Five” can leave us bass players a little high...

Taking Criticism in a Positive Light
Ask Damian Erskine

Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

Q: How can I learn to take musical remarks/criticism from a bandleader/conductor in a productive way? I can’t help it, but I always get a little offended and/or insecure. A: Remember this: If you weren’t good enough, you wouldn’t have the gig. While not every band leader may have the best delivery, in general, suggestions and statements of preference are...

The Lightbulb Moment: Easy Come, Easy Go
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Easy Come, Easy Go

In true professional musician fashion, I recently received a set list for an upcoming gig and had a mini panic attack when I took a look at the final song. An anthem, that’s for sure, but one that is rarely attempted in a live setting. It’s a song that most people are familiar with, thanks to the fact that Wayne’s...

Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities
Ask Damian Erskine

Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities

Q: I read your column for years, but I don’t know if you have answered this already: I have been playing bass for many years and, due to circumstances beyond my control, I cannot find people in my hometown to play (long story, small Greek city). I am taking some jazz theory lessons (via Skype), but I am stuck in...

Playing Etiquette While Subbing
Ask Damian Erskine

Playing Etiquette While Subbing

Q: While I am stoked that I have been asked, I am a wee bit apprehensive. I have been asked to be a substitute bassist for a classic rock cover and original band by the band leader. My current gig is as a bassist in a trio which plays punk and alternative originals. The slight apprehension comes from not knowing...

Incorporating What We Practice
Ask Damian Erskine

Incorporating What We Practice

Q: In your opinion, how does what we work on when practicing make it’s way into our playing? I’ve been thinking about the best ways to incorporate what I shed into my “vocabulary.” A: There are as many ways to incorporate what we practice into our actual musical vocabulary as there are ways to absorb abstract life concepts into our...