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Flying Hands Music School in Louisville, Kentucky


Playing as a Unit  


First of all, there are groups that overplay. In Progressive Rock (Rush for example) everyone in the band overplays, but there's a method to the madness. Bluegrass, Dixieland and even Classical Music can also be an example of this. This being noted, the majority of music tends to have specific parts, with little overplaying. Everyone lays down a formatted pattern.

In Blues, you will hear guitar or piano lines weaving between the vocals, without stepping on the singer. Drum and bass fills usually come at the end of a phrase. Unlike a read violin part in classical music, these lines are almost always adlibbed. When it comes time for a guitar or piano solo, overplaying is encouraged because the solo is supposed to shine. However, good soloists always try to compliment the melody. You certainly wouldn't want to play 32nd notes over a ballad though.

At the end of a song you will sometimes hear an instrument soloing along with a singer adlibbing, simultaneously. Notice in this case, it's a "call & response" situation where the two go back and forth trading lines so they don't step on each other.

In essence, learn to play and sing solid parts. Add variety and color as you go along so the song becomes more interesting and climatic, but don't overplay. When it's your turn to solo, use everything you've got!