Thursday, August 27, 2009

Professional Repertoire

Howard 3/1/2003 9:53 AM
Don: Hello! Please, what is the best way to build a professional repertoire for playing club dates that require a variety of styles of music? Fake books, recordings, transcriptions, sheet music, etc. Thank you, Howard

Don Mock 3/4/2003 12:35 AM
Welcome Howard. Good question about building a repertoire. Knowing lots of tunes is a valuable aspect to being a pro. Here's a quick list as I see it. First off get one or more fake books. Everyone I know all have the famous "Real Book" which was produced years ago by some musicians on the East Coast. It has all the standards and "hip" tunes most people play. But now days there are new versions plus a CD that's floating around packed with charts in pdf's. I'm looking for one of those myself. Check out some clubs or gigs to see what tunes seem to be popular that everyone’s playing. Make a list of about 10 to start with. Then add another few at a time. But don't try to learn too many. Learn the melody in single-note form. Learn the chord changes the best you can cause this is what you will be playing 75% of the time. Comping is giging!!! If you are into improvising over the tunes then start working on that. Get or make yourself a play-along "music-minus-one track of the tune to practice to. As you progress you can develop chord-melody versions of a few of the tunes too. Look for similarities between tunes like II-V-I progressions and turnarounds. Then when you learn new tunes you will start to see familiar patterns which make leaning them and soloing over them easier. With all this though, nothing will be better for you then just playing with people. If you can manage to land a gig, it will teach you very quickly what you need to work on and what tunes. It's difficult to try to prepare ahead of time for the real world of playing gigs. You have to just dive in and the rest takes care of itself. - Don Mock

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