Have you ever wanted to trade in those classical performance clothes for some leather pants and cool looking outfits? Me too! Well, I still haven’t found those perfect leather pants, but I do have a few tips for your first rehearsal playing with a rock band.
Most classical violinists are giddy and eager at their first rock band rehearsal. But I must forewarn you, many rock bands play effortlessly by ear and some may not even use music. Awkwardly, classically trained musicians often lack in being able to play by ear and are helpless without sheet music. When you ask for the first violin part it could be an embarrassing moment!
However, you may be in luck, many rock bands use chord charts as a general guide during rehearsals. Chord charts are musical symbols and notations that illustrate which chords and rhythms are to be played for a particular song.
If you’re not familiar with using chord charts, the best place to start is to know the Circle of Fifths inside and out. An explanation on the Circle of Fifths will be next month’s blog, but In the meantime, check out a few YouTube videos for a head start.
If you're out on a limb and have no chord charts or don’t know what key the band is playing in, it’s time for a bit of pre-planning. My best recommendation is to sit in on a few rehearsals and hit the record button on your iPhone. Hash out playing by ear at home or with your private teacher, and get a good handle on improvising background notes, harmonies and rhythmic crunches. Once you master those, move on to a few solo licks.
Most importantly, don’t give up or feel intimidated. With practice, you’ll eventually get it and will be wearing those awesome leather pants!
I hope you enjoyed this blog. If you have any comments or questions, please comment below. “Playing Violin in a Rock Band” author: Suzy, violinist and founder of Vogue Violin www.vogueviolin.com
Suzy, founder of Vogue Violin and accomplished violinist.