Got my first session gig tonight! Nervous as hell...

BFrench501

Senior Member
Has anybody got any tips how to try and handle the occasion? I have played 2 songs at an open mic night, with the guy I'm sessioning for. It's all covers but I had to learn over 15 new songs this week in addition to 15 I already knew.

Is there anything you guys can recommend to try and calm me down or think through thinks positively? My mind is a like a hamster on steroids its just running round and round driving me nuts. I know there is the potential for more work if it goes well and I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself, but it is difficult!

If I was busking the songs (just playing straight time not specifically what was recorded) I would be physically more comfortable but I hate deviating from songs. I need to at the very least capture the essence, if I can't capture every note.

The set lists are at the bottom of post for anyone interested. In bold are the songs I knew already.

Thanks
Baz

SET ONE


Keep on running
Bad moon rising
Oliver's army
Easy (reggae)
Learn to fly
All right now

My girl (reggae)
Thinking of you (reggae)
Waiting in vain
Jumping Jack flash
You really got me
Teenage kicks
Paranoid




SET TWO


Lucky man
Stuck in the middle
Brown sugar
Someone like you (reggae)
All the small things
Basket case
Use somebody

Chelsea dagger
Town called malice
20th century boy
Get it on
Cigs & alcohol
I predict a riot
Get lucky
Sex on fire
My generation
Wonderwall
 

DrummerSneed

Senior Member
Drink...

...and try to remember that most people in the audience will not notice your mistakes...


Most importantly....have fun.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
That's quite a bit of song learning to do right there :( I've no specific advice, other than to not be too critical, & concentrate on the vibe. The energy & groove + fun is what transports much more than detail. The only specific playing advice I can give, is to start the first few numbers a little slower. That way, you'll probably hit tempo about right :)

Good luck!
 

jornthedrummer

Silver Member
1. get the temp right
2. focus on the groove
3. get the intro right
4. simplify the complicared parts
5. remember to check out the chicks -)
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
Smile - even if you have to make yourself do it. It releases hormones (endorphins?) that make you feel good, so you feel good and smile more, and feel better - like a positive vicious circle. You can trick yourself into believing that you're enjoying yourself, with the result that you will relax and play better and hey presto - you suddenly find that you ARE enjoying yourself.

Best of luck!
 

Southpaw99

Senior Member
These guys hit it on the head (no pun intended). No one in the crowd hears your mistakes, if you make one just keep going and immediately erase it from your mind. Keeping time is the most important thing of the night, that is all your band is going to worry about. As long as you keep time and play the beat you will have a smooth night. Throw fills when you are comfortable, but don't feel the need to impress anyone. No one leaves the bar and talks about the drummer. Have fun and good luck.
 

Dave_Major

Silver Member
What the guys have said so far is great advice so try to implement that.

MOst of the work I do is depping. And all the work i am doing this year is depping. I don't have a set function band so I am totally freelance which is great fun.

First thing to remember is that the guy asked you to play which means he likes you and your playing. your first gig won't go as smoothly as you would like but thats cool and if you miss a fill then it isn;t the end of the world.

15 songs is a fair amount to learn so check out this vid on how to chart songs quickly
(yeah thats me!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIWiH2XeAvs

Try it on the ones you know already.
Secondly keep all your charts forever in a massive folder.

You will build up a massive library of precharted songs (currently I am at 400) which takes some of the weight and hassle out of depping for other bands.

Most of all give everything to the gig. Be prepared and play your best.

Groove when you need to groove, Fill when you need to fill and you'll do great

Dave
 

STXBob

Gold Member
What Dave said. Chart out each tune. If you can read music, you're golden. If you can't, you'll have to develop some sort of shorthand you can understand when you read it back.

When you chart, make sure you use large-enough writing/notation/whatever that you can actually READ the damn thing in a dark club. Learn from my rookie error! :p
 

BFrench501

Senior Member
Thanks for the plethora of advice you guys have given me it has all been most useful.

Dave - I haven't ever learned to chart music. I know how to transcribe it so that isn't so much an issue.

I normally like to be able to sit behind the kit and play through songs at least a few times just to embed what I am doing.

I eventually want to have a repetoire of 400-500 songs but I can see the issue arising where Im asked to play a song I havent played for a year, then Ill be trying to remember the beat. If I chart it then Ill know vaguely what to do I guess.

What I have done with a couple of songs is referenced the drum beat to a song that is similar. For example - Keep on Running (Spencer Davis Group) has that same kind of beat that is in Pretty Woman, Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater...) has a swing type pattern on the hats, Learn to Fly has Bossa Nova type beat etc.

That process kind of helps me for now, but my repetoire is at about 80 or 90 songs. Not bad I guess considering I've only had 2-3 months to learn them to a standard that is acceptable for me. Not looking forward to playing Chelsea Dagger or Sex on Fire though, I despise those songs and bands. At least I havent had to learn Mr Brightside yet! Putting that off as late as I can :)
 

Dave_Major

Silver Member
Thanks for the plethora of advice you guys have given me it has all been most useful.

Dave - I haven't ever learned to chart music. I know how to transcribe it so that isn't so much an issue.

I normally like to be able to sit behind the kit and play through songs at least a few times just to embed what I am doing.

I eventually want to have a repetoire of 400-500 songs but I can see the issue arising where Im asked to play a song I havent played for a year, then Ill be trying to remember the beat. If I chart it then Ill know vaguely what to do I guess.

What I have done with a couple of songs is referenced the drum beat to a song that is similar. For example - Keep on Running (Spencer Davis Group) has that same kind of beat that is in Pretty Woman, Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater...) has a swing type pattern on the hats, Learn to Fly has Bossa Nova type beat etc.

That process kind of helps me for now, but my repetoire is at about 80 or 90 songs. Not bad I guess considering I've only had 2-3 months to learn them to a standard that is acceptable for me. Not looking forward to playing Chelsea Dagger or Sex on Fire though, I despise those songs and bands. At least I havent had to learn Mr Brightside yet! Putting that off as late as I can :)
Transcribing the music note for note is great until you have 40 songs to learn in one day.

Idiot charting is the way to go and learning how to now will save you the hassle and headache later on. That vid (although long) isn't about transcribing it's about idiot charting.

I reference grooves on my charts or feels. It is more arrangements that are the most important. Catching stops and endings is hugely important and if you catch all them then you can cover us most other mistakes.

Also if you ever find yourself in a studio working with someone and hearing a song once before recording it idiot charting will help. Vinnie C, Dave Weckl and ALL other session drummer have some sort of scheme to get the job done.


BEst of luck

D
 

BFrench501

Senior Member
Transcribing the music note for note is great until you have 40 songs to learn in one day.

Idiot charting is the way to go and learning how to now will save you the hassle and headache later on. That vid (although long) isn't about transcribing it's about idiot charting.

I reference grooves on my charts or feels. It is more arrangements that are the most important. Catching stops and endings is hugely important and if you catch all them then you can cover us most other mistakes.

Also if you ever find yourself in a studio working with someone and hearing a song once before recording it idiot charting will help. Vinnie C, Dave Weckl and ALL other session drummer have some sort of scheme to get the job done.


BEst of luck

D
Thanks for taking time out to help me Dave. I cant wait to watch that video. I will watch it tomorrow once the gig is out the way, got enough in my head sat at work while trying to drum in my head to some of the songs. :)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Some more tips:

On break time you could do quick YouTube listen of the problem songs that are upcoming in the next set for a quick refresher.

Hopefully you will have all the song arrangements charted out on paper that you will be reading. Bring something like a music stand to hold your charts, and don't forget about a magnet or some kind of spring clip to keep your papers from falling on the floor.

Hopefully your charts are in set list order so you aren't fumbling around trying to find the right chart.

Just listen constantly to all the problem songs in the time leading up to your gig.

You'll be fine, nervousness is completely normal and will probably help you keep you on your toes... if you don't let it overpower you.
 

BFrench501

Senior Member
Some more tips:

On break time you could do quick YouTube listen of the problem songs that are upcoming in the next set for a quick refresher.

Hopefully you will have all the song arrangements charted out on paper that you will be reading. Bring something like a music stand to hold your charts, and don't forget about a magnet or some kind of spring clip to keep your papers from falling on the floor.

Hopefully your charts are in set list order so you aren't fumbling around trying to find the right chart.

Just listen constantly to all the problem songs in the time leading up to your gig.

You'll be fine, nervousness is completely normal and will probably help you keep you on your toes... if you don't let it overpower you.
I'm fast realising how important charts are. I havent got any charts written for anything as I'd never thought about needing them.

The songs that are going to cause me problems are the reggae versions of songs where they do it their way, I have a couple of staple reggae beats Ill just get in tempo with what they do. Waiting in Vain is the exception - I know that one specifically.

I'm gonna have to work on some charts sharpish for the next time I do a gig with a different band. I had no idea they were necessary as the leader in my established band said deps who use sheet music havent been bothered to learn the material enough. Guess I got clouded by their opinion... :-(
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Oh man charts are your lifeline. I usually do something that reads like this:

I/V/V/B/C/L/B/C/L, along with notes about time sig, tempo, kick drum pattern, and anything else that will help me to recall the tune.

I= intro, V=verse, B=bridge, C= chorus, L=lead ... you get the idea
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
If I was busking the songs (just playing straight time not specifically what was recorded) I would be physically more comfortable but I hate deviating from songs.
This is the one thing that YOU have control over. Stop fretting over things that DON'T MATTER. You are just playing the drums and almost no one really cares if you play the parts as written. They want to hear the vocals and the signature melodies. The drummer is just there to glue everything together and look good doing it. :)

I understand wanting to play perfectly but there isn't enough time to do this so you must adapt. Turn off your desire for perfection and simply play along with the song.

Most of those songs play straight through anyway. All you have to know is when to start and stop :)

Watch and listen to the guitars and, if you have questions on stops, ask them to give you some cues. Some people are really good at this. A good band leader or front man will be.

Drums are absolutely the easiest instrument to fake your way through a song so, count your blessings, relax and enjoy the opportunity!!
 

ncc

Silver Member
Just remember a few things:

1) Always enjoy yourself and have fun.
2) You are going to be your own worse critic.
3) If you make and error or miss something, just move on. Most likely no on will notice but you.
4) No one is going to be upset if you do your best.
5) Relax and don't try to overplay. (keep it super simple)
6) Everyone makes mistakes.
7) They wanted you so you already proved yourself.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
  • Enjoy the gig. Small goofs will not be noticed by anyone but you.
  • On your set list, write down who starts the song. Guitar, keys, count off & all in, etc.
  • Before you count off on a tune, hum/sing the chorus of the tune to yourself to get the tempo into your brain.
  • If you can't remember the beginning and/or end of a tune, ask one of the band members. It's no big deal to ask.
  • Smile and give a nod to a band mate when he does something you like.
  • Don't be dour on or off stage.
  • If your kit isn't set up/situated the way you like it, fix it during the first break. Get it right so you don't have to think about it.
  • Drink water.
  • Tell everyone how great they sounded afterwards and ignore the small stuff.
 
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