Play in a Band... better! | Stefanie Potter | Skillshare
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8 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Define Your Band

    • 3. Purposes of Instruments

    • 4. Drivers and Gap Fillers

    • 5. Varied Parts

    • 6. Using Textures

    • 7. Dynamics

    • 8. Review

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About This Class

So you play music... and maybe with other people.  But is that all a band is?  In this class I will share insights on how to take your band from playing the same song alongside each other to playing with each other as unit, with intentionality and excellence.  I have decades of experience playing in all sorts of bands: from rock bands to acoustic bands to worship teams.  I am excited to help you fast-track through lessons learned in my years of experience.  I break the concepts down so you really think through what you're doing.  Even if you have some years of experience yourself, I bet there is something you can glean from this class... even if good reminders that we forget about!

Meet Your Teacher

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Stefanie Potter

Music Artistry Channel


Stefanie Potter is a folk/soul singer-songwriter in Charleston, SC, with a background in social work and ministry. She's an "artist of the heart," writing inspirational story-filled songs from her heart to yours, about things that matter most in life.  She's been writing music and playing live music for over 15 years, developing her craft and learning from some of the best.

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1. Introduction: Hey, guys, welcome to my class. Play in a band Better. My name is Stephanie Potter, and I'm an inspirational folk soul singer songwriter, But I do have all types of experience between duos, trios, bands, acoustic bands, rock bands and worship teams is well, So first I'm on us to think of what is a band. When we think of a band, we don't want to just be a group of people playing music at the same time. Way wanted to be united. So we're thinking unity here, the state of being one, combining all of its parts into one. So that's gonna be a really important concept to remember throughout this class, and I hope you sick with me. The parts of the class include the types of bands, the purpose of different kinds of instruments on, and then what? I called drivers and abandoned Gap fillers in a band. Then we'll go over very parts, using textures within the music and using dynamics. So I hope again that you'll enroll in this class, and I'm looking forward to sharing lots of insights with you. 2. Define Your Band: So when he form a band, the first thing that you want to decide is what is our purpose here? What type of music do we want to create? Why are we creating that music? There's all sorts of different types of dance. There's cover bands, bands that playing mostly originals and then all sorts of different John Ross and styles of music. So as you're gathering with people, you want to make sure that you're on the same page with the John read that you're gonna play and the purpose of the music that you're gonna play, Um, and what types of music within that genre that you're gonna focus on Are you gonna write music? Are you going to cover music? Where do you want to play? So once you are united in those decisions, you know that you can move forward because if you're not united on the purpose in the genre , then you're all gonna be pulling different directions, and it's just not gonna work out quite as well 3. Purposes of Instruments: Now we're gonna talk about different types of instruments and how they have varies purposes that you want Teoh use according to their purpose. So first we have percussion, which is meant to keep the time keep be, keep the rhythm, keep the groove of everybody moving together in the same direction. Also, the rhythm section is any type of bass instrument that's that low, and that's maybe emphasizing the court structure. Then you might have different types of guitars, depending on what kind of band that you're in. Acoustic guitars are typically used for rhythm and then some picking, maybe occasionally on and then. Electric guitars are kind of that power, and of the guitar that can you be used for big, strong power chords, different kinds of leads and melodies and fillers to kind of add to the sound. Then we have different types of piano, so pianos, keyboards, synthesizers, so piano skin kind of carry the rhythm as well. So when you're playing a psalm, you know you gotta kind of decide between the acoustic and piano who's going to primarily be carrying the river. And then synthesizers can carry kind of a nice even under tone on as a really unique sounds . Teoh a band. Then you have different kinds of string and wind instruments, and these are often used for some smooth melodies or leaves. Then, of course, there are voices unless it's an instrumental band. The voices will bring for the lyrics, of course, but also bring out the melody and use different types of expressions to really send a message across. So we want to think about what each instrument in your band can bring that is different from the others when you're plotting out a spot and I'll talk about this more in the next lesson. 4. Drivers and Gap Fillers: Now let's talk about what I call the drivers in a song in the Gap fillers. So the drivers are basically those who will carry the rhythm and the groove for most of that song. Typically, this might be a piano or acoustic guitar, so you want to decide this kind of between the band members who's going to be driving this song? All others should be taking a back seat and filling in the gaps. Of course, percussion will go alone with the rhythm and carrying that groove, but it's in support of the driver. So all of the Gap fillers need to be aware of leaving empty space for different instruments to come through. Basically, I tell people don't plan to play the whole song. The driver can sometimes play the whole song, or sometimes maybe during the bridge, they can take a back seat. Well, they let another instrument come through, Um, but no matter what, your kind of following that driver with where they're going. So it's important to have driver for a song because remember, we're all going the same direction as the driver, and we're just filling in the seats, so you will come up with different melodies. Maybe the sense will be playing something. So then the electric guitar should be playing something different, a different ability, a different rhythm, a different tune. And then the winder string instrument should be playing something different than the electric guitar as well. So we're all kind of listening, Teoh what the other gap fillers air doing, and we're all trying to follow the rhythm and pace and movement that the driver ISS setting . 5. Varied Parts: so, especially if you're a gap filler and you're trying to follow the driver. You want to make sure that you were varying the parts that you're playing and that every part around you is different than the part that your plane. But you also want to make sure that you're complimenting the parts around you, so it's really important to listen to form that unity within the differences. So you want to know the key. You want to know the cords, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you're gonna play all of the cords. You take those facts and you build complementary parts with the court within that key. So something that you need to be wary of is, for example, guitars and pianos just chugging along together on the same rhythm, which might not be exactly the same rhythm if you haven't tightened up your sound. So instead of just chugging along everybody playing the chords, there's a variety of things that you could do. You can use melodic leads seven between the section, having somebody playing something different that really brings out the ability he can use between line fillers. So at the end of a line universe play a couple notes. That just adds to the sound. Um, you can use picking or arpeggios breaking up the cords into single knows. That helps to decrease the muddiness, and then you can use various rhythms and various court voicings. So likewise, you need to be wary of the base and the keyboardist left hand overlapping within the same range of notes because the left hand is playing those low notes. So, um also be wary of the guitars playing the same voicings of the courts, especially if you have more than one acoustic guitar. It always sounds better to have one K bowed or playing up the neck with different chord voicings that really decreases the muddiness of this sound. You also need to be careful of the guitars and the keys over, up, over lapping in the range. So just be listening between those instruments and making sure that you're not all just trying to play the same thing. But then, sometimes it doesn't always work out that way and just creates this kind of money mess. And so that happens more when you have instruments playing, you know, exactly the same things are in the same range. You want to just be aware of the people that could be in the same range is you making sure that you're playing something different than them pulling out different parts so that it doesn't just overlap and create this confusing sound. And then for vocals. It's really key that you learn, have harmonised and use back around four goals as well. Generally, unless you have practiced again and again and again, and your or your chorus, I recommend against singing in unison for most of the songs, unless you have the timing and pronunciation down exactly with each other. When you're both singing, especially like two girls or two guys, if you're both singing, I can get a little bit of money. So if you want a part in unison, you should work out really tightening up that sound and making sure that everything ISS in time with each other and being pronounced the same way using the same no movements and stuff like that or just build this chorus sound but in general is it's just good to pull out. Some different vocal harmonies toe add to this sound rather than again it becoming money so as far as rhythms, you can really play a lot within the main structure of the songs rhythm. You can add some simple emphasis on parts of the rhythms. You can add little bits of complex rhythm within that, depending on what type of instrument you're playing, It could be fun to just throw in some different rhythms within the rhythm, as long as it's adding to and not detracting from the main rhythm. And then for the rhythm section, you can vary between driving sound grooving, so just make sure that you're playing off one another. The most important part is that you are not competing with one another trying to play over each other, but that you're listening to what the other focal is and instrumentalists are doing and seeing How can I add to that rather than just chugging along with it? But what can I bring? That's different than what they're bringing right now, not in an overpowering way, but very supportive way 6. Using Textures: just like there are textures in visual arts. There's also textures within music. So think about the way that the different instruments sound and the purpose of those instruments. You want to use those textures to the best that they can be used. So as you're thinking of this song, think about how each section and should feel and use varying instruments to bring out that feeling. So if you need something softer, you might bring in some light acoustic or synthesizer. If you need something more powerful, more gritty, you can bring in an electric guitar. If you need something kind of light and airy, you can bring in some piano or keyboard, so, like high notes so really considered, like what each sound can bring for different sections. And if your instrument doesn't match that sound, then pull out unless it's just a total big build in the chorus or bridge or something where everyone pretty much should be playing together. So you should definitely be varying the highlighted instrument of each section, and then everyone else should be supporting that. Remember, there's still a definite driver of this song, the one that's kind of focusing on the chord structure but pull out different instruments within the song. So maybe in the intro you're pulling out a saxophone, been highlighting that, and then you're switching to highlighting the base during the verse and then interlude. You'll highlight the electric doing a little bit of in between line filler. Then maybe in the chorus you're building up with more instruments. And then on the bridge can maybe start with the acoustic guitar or the piano, maybe very from whoever started this song or whoever. It's the driver, and then you can build it from there and maybe even cut out and future the drums and just the voices before you could do some ah capella singing. There's so many textures that you can be pulling out through a section. So just be mindful of those textures and kind of a message that each instrument sense let the different instruments shine through. Don't be playing the whole song. If you feel like you can add something, then do so in the right time. Maybe the bridge repeats itself so it can be quiet, and then you add another instrument or a background focal vocalists. You can start with the melody and then repeat ad harmony. Or in the first course, it's only the melody. And then the second course, your buildings, you're adding a harmony parts rather than just sitting the whole time because of the harmony that thought So. It's all about highlighting different instruments and supported, um, so as you're supporting, the drummer can be matching the rhythm. The base can emphasize parts of the lead or the rhythm that a drummer ISS setting the crews that can be matching the rhythm of the drums or the rhythm of the keys. So just be listening and building that unity together as a team highlighting instruments and supporting them and you're taking a back seat. 7. Dynamics: Finally, let's talk about dynamics. Dynamics are key to the overall sound and how much listeners actually appreciate this song and don't get bored of listening to the same level throughout the whole song. So dynamics are basically intentionally using quietness and loudness. There should be an intentional build throughout this song. Some ups and some downs and loudness and use different instruments to help build that loudness. So when the music gets quiet, you can build out different instruments like maybe the piano or listened or quieter guitar vocals, even some percussion or cello. And these are all bring out really different textures from each other. But you're pulling out that different sound when the music it's quiet and then often the latter choruses and or the bridge will be the loudest section. So you can use that time to bring in lots of instruments those power instruments that have you drowns, maybe the electric guitar to just build as much as you can so that there's movement in emphasizing the the passion of the vocals or the movement of this song. But again, as you're bringing in these loud sections, be careful that each instrument is still bringing something unique, and you're not just all chugging along together in the same rhythm. So that little line on the screen is kind of an idea of what you might see in some pop songs or contemporary sounds. So the intro would be kind of quieter. You're building a little bit through the verse, the pre chorus you're building up loudness to the chorus that maybe you're taking it down on the first. But second verse is often a little bit lower than the first verse, maybe burning in more salad drums, maybe a couple more instruments than again. You're building through the pre course up to the chorus, and then sometimes you'll drop off on the bridge. And, like I said, pulling out maybe quiet vocals or some nice piano sounds up through to the Final Course or choruses, or sometimes the chorus through the bridge to the chorus are, you know, kind of loud. Or maybe the dip will be at a different point between those points. But it's really important to play with those dynamics in that section. Two vary the sound of your song so that you're not just staying at one level and making everybody's ear drums really fired. Rather than building the passion through quiet parts and lower parts, and then the final chorus. You're really bring it out all the stops on, then plan back, usually for the TRO if there is an outro or you might just fade out from the final chorus. So that's kind of a typical picture of a lot of songs and how they'll use dynamics within this song. So you see, there's a whole bunch of ups and downs, and they're all very intentional. It just depends on what you want to emphasize, how powerful you want each section to come through and power can be in the quiet moments as well as in the lab. Moments just be very intentional and using those varied part, using those textures within the different instruments to build those dynamics with intention. 8. Review: As I said at the beginning, being in a band is all about unity. We don't want to compete with each other trying to play over each other. We don't want to all be the same, playing all the same chords and in the same exact rhythm. We want to allow each person to bring their part to form a co piece of whole. You can only play as a unit when you're aware what other instruments are doing in each part , and we want to follow each other. So that means we need to listen throughout the whole song, being aware of what each person is doing as a review in a general rule. Don't plan on playing the whole song, take turns bringing out and supporting various instruments according to the texture in the unique part that they bring. The louder the song gets in a section, the more likely that every instrument will be playing. But again, very those textures and rhythms within those lab sections, so that you're not all just chugging along, playing the same stuff in getting really muddy. So along with listening, listening to different types of bands, study how they use these concepts and finally your project. Gather some friends and practice jamming two covers or you can put on a city, add new parts. Teoh the songs that you hear. I have more instructions in the project section of the class. But I've left to see a video or audio. You can either upload something you're opposed to link so that me and your fellow classmates can kind of give you some feedback and say, Hey, you're doing this really well and then be really cool to see kind of before and after. If you have that between the song of everyone playing, you know, just next to each other versus really intentionally working together to bring out different parts to form this cohesive unit United hole. So I look forward to seeing your projects and I hope you learn so much. Let me know if you have any questions in rock out