Originally Posted by ba dum tish
I just joined a cover band (my first band) so I'm trying to learn a bunch of new songs. So far, my strategy has just been to listen to the songs over and over again until I just know all the lengths of each part intuitively and can just feel when the next part is coming. But I wonder if when playing live and the nerves set in if it might be more advantageous to actually have the count of each part (how many bars per verse 1, chorus, bridge, etc) memorized.
How say you? What is your strategy? Does anyone here actually count out the number of bars as they're playing so they know when the next part is coming?
Yes... no... all of the above. I tend to learn all of a song, not just drum parts and counts. By that I mean I know the melodies, rhythms, lyrics, and major parts of the song well enough to just know how long each goes and what follows what. I know the lyrical or melodic cues that lead into the next part, and as a band you should all be following the same dynamics which usually happen at the transitions between verses, bridges, choruses, etc.
Part of it is developing your ears. If your listening is developed sufficiently you can play along to a song first time through (as long as it follows normal songwriting tropes) and pretty much feel where each change will fall naturally, and do something appropriate for each part.
If the song involves odd times, phrasings, or little tricky parts such as the band starting and stopping and then doing cued hits in unison, then yes, I get obsessive and nitpicky about counting right down to the 16th rest.
And as you develop ears and feel and just experience, you know what four or eight or twelve or sixteen bars feels likes, sounds like, and how long it takes.