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Playing With A Band And The Importance Of Playing In Time

Being able to play music with other people is one of the most
rewarding and fun parts of playing music.  It is also quite
difficult, because if you are playing with others playing in time
becomes very important.  


This is particularly important in group situations.  Having all
instruments in time in a group situation is vital to creating a
quality sound.  If you find it hard to play along in a band to
begin with, don't worry, it is quite natural, as playing in time
can be quite difficult.  I myself have had quite a lot of trouble
learning how to play with other musicians, this was because for
years I just played solo piano.  When it came time to play with
others I didn't know where to begin. 
It is important to learn techniques and skills that come with
playing along with a band.  A good way to prepare you for playing
with other is to learn how to play along with a metronome.
Learning how to play with a band and a metronome requires you to
play in time so any practice that develops this aspect of your
playing is valuable. 
Depending on what kind of band you are playing with, you might have
to read chord charts.  What usually happens is that you get the
chords in the song written out for you in a chord chart.  A lot of
the time the chord chart will show you what chords to play and when
to play them.  In songs that are quite simple the chords might
change every bar or every two bars.  This means you have to be able
to count in time to know when to change to the next chord.
You can run into trouble if you're counting incorrectly which can
cause you to change chords either too early or too late.  If you do
this while the rest of the band are changing chords in time, your
music will sound bad.  


Because the piano is an instrument which can be used to play
melody, harmony and the rhythm of a song it can be played solo.
When playing solo piano it's very easy to lose track of the timing
and the beat of the song.  So it is also important to learn how to
play in time when you playing solo.  It's very easy to go out of
time when you are playing by yourself because it isn't as
noticeable when you are playing alone so you have to be hard on
yourself and practice playing piano with a metronome.  This isn't
always a very fun part of playing, but it is important if you want
to sound good. 
If you want to start a band, the best thing for you too do is go
out and find people who play the kind of music you like listening
to and playing.  Get some songs that you all like and have a listen
to them and then try and play the song.  It's probably a good idea
to start off with quite a simple song.  It's important that you
concentrate on the timing of the songs so you get used to playing
strictly in time.  If you can find the chord charts to the songs
you like you can start from there.  Have a listen to the song and
try and follow the chord changes on the charts. 
Though it depends on what kind of band you're looking at playing
in, you will generally find that most bands have at least a drummer
and a bass player (this is called the rhythm section).  From there
you can have as few or as many other instruments you like, but
getting a bass player and a drummer is a good place to start.  Or
you could you might be able to talk your friends into learning, to
play.  Some of the greatest bands were started that way.
When it comes to playing with other people there are several
important things to consider. The first is playing in time; this is
something that can't be emphasized enough.  No matter where you
want to go with your playing being able to play in time is a
critical skill. Also you should try and find musicians to play
with.  Anyone with a passion for music and a desire to practice
will be perfect. Just keep playing and trying to develop your
skills as a complete musician. 

Article by George Downey


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