How to Jam with others on keyboards


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Hi Folks:


Im wondering for those who are playing in a group settings (jam session or 'band'). Myself and other beginner are wondering how to fit ourselves in. I understand that we fill in space in songs and have bits and parts otherwise there is too much noise. I have made peace with the fact that there is a lot of 'sitting around' and waiting for my parts. The other guy plunks chords along with the guitar parts but I dont do that.
The other keyboardist (guitarist first) cannot make peace with waiting. We wondering what others do or not do in these situations? I plinker with a kalimba / tambourine if the songs calls for to keep busy sometimes.

PS. The other guy wanted my spot for we alternate so arent at the same session if you wondering :)

Hope our question makes sense.
 
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happyrat1

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What you're asking is "Why did the Beatles break up at the peak of their careers?"

Bandmates are people, and for every individual there is a best approach and a worst approach.

Learn to teach people to bring out the best in themselves without talking down to them.

Most people sincerely want to improve themselves but it sometimes takes patience and understanding of where they are coming from to explain how to be better without making them feel like the misfit.

You've honestly asked a psychology question instead of a musical one.

And as for why the Beatles broke up?

They simply ran out of patience with one another. :D

Gary ;)
 
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Hi Folks:


Im wondering for those who are playing in a group settings (jam session or 'band'). Myself and other beginner are wondering how to fit ourselves in. I understand that we fill in space in songs and have bits and parts otherwise there is too much noise. I have made peace with the fact that there is a lot of 'sitting around' and waiting for my parts. The other guy plunks chords along with the guitar parts but I dont do that.
The other keyboardist (guitarist first) cannot make peace with waiting. We wondering what others do or not do in these situations? I plinker with a kalimba / tambourine if the songs calls for to keep busy sometimes.

PS. The other guy wanted my spot for we alternate so arent at the same session if you wondering :)

Hope our question makes sense.
I’m assuming this is an original music project.

My advice - do what the song needs. It could be chords, it could be lead lines, it could be nothing.

Acknowledging your comment that this is new to you, if you’re unsure of what might fit best, I recommend you listen to other bands that play similar music to you. Listen to the choices that the keys players in those bands make and use this as a source of ideas and inspiration.

Good luck and trust yourself.
 
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In my part of the world (USA) we have a wide variety of music styles. My orientation is to "popular" music which you hear on radio and television. I started out learning scales, chords, and chord patterns from popular songs and learned current pop songs for playing in a band. From my experience, I agree with CowboyNQ's advice. Here's a kind of "jam" song with a band I played with. Listen to how different instruments play off each other and with each other. Don

 
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The other guy plunks chords along with the guitar parts but I dont do that.
The other keyboardist (guitarist first) cannot make peace with waiting. We wondering what others do or not do in these situations?
If an entire song is really best with no keys, I take a break and leave the stage for the song. More often, there is something worth doing that can make the sound fuller. Plunking chords is sometimes fine. (I find that a Wurli sound tends to work well to support--or in lieu of--rhythm guitar, though I don't know what style of music you're playing.) If it's just a part of a song that should have no keys, then of course I need to stay on stage, but I'd say it doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you look engaged. Like, don't be on the stage checking your phone messages. ;-) Yes, I've actually been on gigs where a horn player, with stretches of waiting time, pulled out his phone. Don't do that!
 
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happyrat1

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Considering how most bands bury the keyboard player away in the darkest corner of the stage, you guys could be watching cartoons during the breaks for all the audience will ever know :D :D :D

Gary ;)
 

happyrat1

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And for my additional two cents, DO develop your ears to isolate the harmonies in both recordings and practice sessions especially if you are a cover band. You do have to embrace the concept that most of the time, less is more.

But DO open up communications with your bandmates as well. If you are going to perform live, then you have to be 100% on the cues and signals you exchange as a group.

Gary ;)
 
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I have the opposite problem a lot of the time. Any place where i get to do something creative seems to indicate its a guitar solo, so the guitarist fires up his Noodle pedal lol. My specific parts are getting less and less, and I’m just not playing while he is.
I’m one of those players that will just play nothing if nothing is needed, but i wouldn’t sit out a whole song. We only play covers, and a few of these songs have no keyboards in the original. If its a whole song ill make something subtle up in parts, It shows I’m creative and restrained. When I joined the band i was told dont worry about the original not having keys, make something up. This, to me, is where the skill comes in.
 
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Hi Folks:


Im wondering for those who are playing in a group settings (jam session or 'band'). Myself and other beginner are wondering how to fit ourselves in. I understand that we fill in space in songs and have bits and parts otherwise there is too much noise. I have made peace with the fact that there is a lot of 'sitting around' and waiting for my parts. The other guy plunks chords along with the guitar parts but I dont do that.
The other keyboardist (guitarist first) cannot make peace with waiting. We wondering what others do or not do in these situations? I plinker with a kalimba / tambourine if the songs calls for to keep busy sometimes.

PS. The other guy wanted my spot for we alternate so arent at the same session if you wondering :)

Hope our question makes sense.
 
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Hi Folks:


Im wondering for those who are playing in a group settings (jam session or 'band'). Myself and other beginner are wondering how to fit ourselves in. I understand that we fill in space in songs and have bits and parts otherwise there is too much noise. I have made peace with the fact that there is a lot of 'sitting around' and waiting for my parts. The other guy plunks chords along with the guitar parts but I dont do that.
The other keyboardist (guitarist first) cannot make peace with waiting. We wondering what others do or not do in these situations? I plinker with a kalimba / tambourine if the songs calls for to keep busy sometimes.

PS. The other guy wanted my spot for we alternate so arent at the same session if you wondering :)

Hope our question makes sense.
Listen to all songs with keyboards. You will learn by that method. Less playing is equally important as playing. Remember a keyboard is a percussive instrument too.

Everybody has a part to play.
 
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Hi Folks:


Im wondering for those who are playing in a group settings (jam session or 'band'). Myself and other beginner are wondering how to fit ourselves in. I understand that we fill in space in songs and have bits and parts otherwise there is too much noise. I have made peace with the fact that there is a lot of 'sitting around' and waiting for my parts. The other guy plunks chords along with the guitar parts but I dont do that.
The other keyboardist (guitarist first) cannot make peace with waiting. We wondering what others do or not do in these situations? I plinker with a kalimba / tambourine if the songs calls for to keep busy sometimes.

PS. The other guy wanted my spot for we alternate so arent at the same session if you wondering :)

Hope our question makes sense.
Hi, That is a great question. The thing you don’t want to do is muddy the sound by simply playing the same thing in the same octave. I recommend thinking about two things. First, Phil Specter created his wall of sound by having two separate instruments play the same thing or an octave apart. The result is a larger phater sound. The other is to add to the complexity by playing counter melodies. If you listen to the Bob Dylan song Like A Rolling Stone, focus in on the organ and piano parts, you will see they both compliment each other as well as complementing the guitar by weaving these very different parts together. We all start out by playing chords and that is fine, but when you listen to bands using multiple keyboards such as the E Street Band you will see the difference. Hope that makes sense.
 
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I’m one of those players that will just play nothing if nothing is needed, but i wouldn’t sit out a whole song. We only play covers, and a few of these songs have no keyboards in the original. If its a whole song ill make something subtle up in parts, It shows I’m creative and restrained.
I don't sit out many songs, there's usually something I think I can add as you describe, but IMO, some songs just work best without any keys. My main cover band (weddings, etc.) has a ridiculously wide repertoire, and sometimes there's a call for some really heavy guitar-oriented stuff, like Ramones, Billy Idol, or maybe more along the lines of Led Zeppelin or AC/DC, where sometimes adding even "subtle" keys as you said might detract from the vibe and attitude of the song which needs to be kind of raw. Maybe they are kind of "go big or go home" songs, subtlety works against them, and if I'm not going to go big (which would completely alter the character of the song), it's better to go home. ;-) At the other end, there are also songs where part of the vibe is just how little is going on. So for example, I wouldn't add keys to "Ho Hey," either. But I can play tambourine and sing backing vocals on that one. ;-)
 
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I don't sit out many songs, there's usually something I think I can add as you describe, but IMO, some songs just work best without any keys. My main cover band (weddings, etc.) has a ridiculously wide repertoire, and sometimes there's a call for some really heavy guitar-oriented stuff, like Ramones, Billy Idol, or maybe more along the lines of Led Zeppelin or AC/DC, where sometimes adding even "subtle" keys as you said might detract from the vibe and attitude of the song which needs to be kind of raw. Maybe they are kind of "go big or go home" songs, subtlety works against them, and if I'm not going to go big (which would completely alter the character of the song), it's better to go home. ;-) At the other end, there are also songs where part of the vibe is just how little is going on. So for example, I wouldn't add keys to "Ho Hey," either. But I can play tambourine and sing backing vocals on that one. ;-)
Yeah, i agree that you do what you need to, and what works. Whats ive found is not a lot of the bands ive played with have a full enough basic sound to get away with sounding just like the original anyway, so a bit of sublte ‘something’ can help fill out the sound without distracting. A bit of organ pad or some atmospheric stuff in the background etc.
I do quite a few Tamborine/Cow bell bits on keys if there really isnt anything else i can do, and it makes up for the drummer not bothering to make the effort to do them.
 
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It works the other way, too. Sometimes a piano ballad really doesn't benefit from guitar. Or in another band of mine, we do some ELP, some of which is best left guitar-less.
 
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It works the other way, too. Sometimes a piano ballad really doesn't benefit from guitar. Or in another band of mine, we do some ELP, some of which is best left guitar-less.
Ha, tell me about it. As I wrote above, when it gets to bits there is no guitar in, my guitarist finds something to play over what I’m playing.
Some guitarists (and other musicians i guess) just cant not play lol.
 
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Hi Folks:


Im wondering for those who are playing in a group settings (jam session or 'band'). Myself and other beginner are wondering how to fit ourselves in. I understand that we fill in space in songs and have bits and parts otherwise there is too much noise. I have made peace with the fact that there is a lot of 'sitting around' and waiting for my parts. The other guy plunks chords along with the guitar parts but I dont do that.
The other keyboardist (guitarist first) cannot make peace with waiting. We wondering what others do or not do in these situations? I plinker with a kalimba / tambourine if the songs calls for to keep busy sometimes.

PS. The other guy wanted my spot for we alternate so arent at the same session if you wondering :)

Hope our question makes sense.
Hi! It’s a delicate balance, for sure. I played solo piano accompaniment for years, so I had to learn NOT to be a bass player with my left hand, for one thing! Anyway, when I’m not playing a riff or feature, I usually try to provide a ‘wash’ if I can...a quiet underlying chord to kind of fill out the sound with strings, organ, sustained guitar.

I don’t know how many musicians you’re playing with. My band has three other people playing classic ‘60s and’70s stuff, and often I can just find a voice that adds another dimension, depending on the kind of song — banjo, harmonica, flute, brass or something — but quietly. Often an additional rhythm guitar is useful if there’s a lead guitar in the song.

Hope this helps — I’m sure you’ll get lots of other suggestions that I’ll be watching for too. Always something to learn!

Judy
 
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Hi Folks:


Im wondering for those who are playing in a group settings (jam session or 'band'). Myself and other beginner are wondering how to fit ourselves in. I understand that we fill in space in songs and have bits and parts otherwise there is too much noise. I have made peace with the fact that there is a lot of 'sitting around' and waiting for my parts. The other guy plunks chords along with the guitar parts but I dont do that.
The other keyboardist (guitarist first) cannot make peace with waiting. We wondering what others do or not do in these situations? I plinker with a kalimba / tambourine if the songs calls for to keep busy sometimes.

PS. The other guy wanted my spot for we alternate so arent at the same session if you wondering :)

Hope our question makes sense.
Let me add my two cents on this. First, when you join a band or even in a jam session, the reality is that you are PART of the band or session. You are not the whole band. Each member, and I'll continue from the bands perspective, contributes their instruments sound and expertise in order to make the song sound better or complete or fuller. You cannot have the lead guitar player taking off on a solo when the singer is trying to sing. As for keyboard players, we rarely have a dominate role all the way through a song , but more often come in and out throughout a song. You must be happy to be the supporting role, in most cases, adding depth and often unique sounds when needed. Many keyboardists are also harmony singers or even the primary singer on certain songs. It gives the normal lead singer a break. Look at the most successful, and still touring band, such as Journey, Fleetwood Mac, Beach Boys, Metallica and many others to see how the songs are constructed and where the instruments come in...as well as where they don't. Oh, leaving the stage is a no no, even when you have no part in the song. Get a tambourine and help keep the beat. You are part of a unit that always works together, not just when you are playing. That goes for all band members.
 

HRF

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Hi Folks:


Im wondering for those who are playing in a group settings (jam session or 'band'). Myself and other beginner are wondering how to fit ourselves in. I understand that we fill in space in songs and have bits and parts otherwise there is too much noise. I have made peace with the fact that there is a lot of 'sitting around' and waiting for my parts. The other guy plunks chords along with the guitar parts but I dont do that.
The other keyboardist (guitarist first) cannot make peace with waiting. We wondering what others do or not do in these situations? I plinker with a kalimba / tambourine if the songs calls for to keep busy sometimes.

PS. The other guy wanted my spot for we alternate so arent at the same session if you wondering :)

Hope our question makes sense.
Perhaps you should listed to the music of Gary Wright from the 70's. Pretty much an all keyboard band...lots of synths. Use some imagination and arrange songs for several keyboards. One could do bass, another rhythmic chops, and another putting in fills like strings or horns. Got a "funky tune" in mind? How about a nice clave with wah wah on it. the possibilities are endless. take a song and make it your own.
 
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HRF

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Hi Folks:


Im wondering for those who are playing in a group settings (jam session or 'band'). Myself and other beginner are wondering how to fit ourselves in. I understand that we fill in space in songs and have bits and parts otherwise there is too much noise. I have made peace with the fact that there is a lot of 'sitting around' and waiting for my parts. The other guy plunks chords along with the guitar parts but I dont do that.
The other keyboardist (guitarist first) cannot make peace with waiting. We wondering what others do or not do in these situations? I plinker with a kalimba / tambourine if the songs calls for to keep busy sometimes.

PS. The other guy wanted my spot for we alternate so arent at the same session if you wondering :)

Hope our question makes sense.
I think you should listen to some Gary Wright from the 70's. Mostly all keyboard band. Find some good music and arrange it for all keys. Bass and fill from one board. rhythms rom another, and fills such as strings or brass or ???? From another. Got something funky in mind? How about a nice clav with wah wah.
 

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