Some bits I learned from being in a band.

Some bits I learned from being in a band.

Hi All,

I’m just thinking about how I got to this

I’m a completely untrained musician, but I’ve mentioned in a couple interviews that I was in an indie-pop band a while back. Bands are hard work, and they’re a lot of fun. I think all bands are greater than the sum of their parts. Besides being character-building, making music with other people is one of the most satisfying experiences one can have in life. I just wanted to share a few things I learned from being in a band that I often think about when I’m making music alone:

-Bass notes played with the kick drum give the song a tight feel.

-If the rhythm section (bass and drums) is tight you can get away with just about anything on the top end.

-Songs endings are as important as song beginnings.

-It’s totally okay if a song is really simple and a 5th grader could play it. Nothing to be ashamed of.

-Make space for the vocal, or lead.

-Look for natural accents in a rhythm and have all the instrument voices chime on them for a strong. feel. For example, a funk recipe calls for a strong two and four count.

-Songs with more than verse-chorus-verse construction are usually more satisfying.

-Freaking out after a build up usually gets the crowd’s attention.

-It’s best to play a ballad after you get the crowd’s attention, not before.

-Loud is louder when juxtaposed with quiet. (That’s how to ‘turn it to 11’.)

-Avoid stopping mid-song at all costs.

-You can change anything (tempo, key, mood, volume) in a bridge, but it can’t come out of nowhere.

-Crescendos, drum fills, slowly decaying chords, and stick counts are handy for such changes.

-The melody is the memorable part of the song.

-A satisfying show and a good album have a mix of moods and tempos.

-The right mood for a song might not come at first. Push and pull. Trial and error.

-Having fun is job #1.

Voila, making pop music is easy peasy!

-p bear

  • Gillian

    05/10/2007 at 4:04 am

    It’s 5am and I like your list of bits. Definitely things to think about, and some of them don’t even sound like they’re just for writing music–could apply to just about any creative endeavor. I’m going to use them to have very nice dreams now. Dream snow. Sweeet to you.

  • Zanzibar

    09/07/2007 at 12:03 pm

    I heartily agree with your thoughts. Excellent list. It’s no wonder that I immediately love your music.

    All apologies for the late comment, but I just discovered your site, so I get a break, right? 🙂

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