This is my practice diary where i’ll be writing a few posts on whats happened during practices in college and review them and talk about how it will help and how i can improve.
Today we had a jam on one of the practice rooms. At first we started to jam over E playing in a heavy funk style and we kept referring back to the same phrase. But we all struggled to come up with things to jam to such as riffs, chords and structures. it took us a while to actually get into our jams. We tried to make our jam diverse by playing through different genres including, funk, heavy metal, death metal, latin jazz and standard rock. Later on in the day, we got given the task of picking a genre we know well. Then compose a track in that style. Some people had to get up and choose a band to play their genre while they directed us and told us what to and how to play what they wanted to fit the genre. I chose alternate rock because it is a genre i know quite well and could compose a track for. The first genre was Heavy metal that Luke had to direct. Luke was good at directing us to play what he wanted and clearly gave us the notes and rhythm to play for his track. The next genre was funk and Raph was directing it! Raph made it clear what groove he wanted and what notes to play over E. He was very good with the structure of the song too, including an intro, and two different sections. Another piece was directed by Harry. He made it clear what electronic genre he wanted us to sound like and made it very clear what each individual player had to play and thought about the certain tones that needed to be used. Including Mirron just making sounds with his jack lead. The last genre was pop-punk directed by Seb. Who made it very clear it was pop punk with the generic chord progressions, breakdowns and rhythm of the song. For my composition i will need to research and listen to bands who fit the genre and influence their styles of songs into my composition for next week.
Today we had a piece of sheet music to work on. But two people out the class we chosen to md and direct one group each. The md’s had to choose a genre for the other md’s group to play. So Seb’s group had to play the sheet music in the style of ‘pop’. Where as Ash’ group had to play the sheet music in the style of ’80s disco’. I was in Ash’ group with Raph and Mirron both playing guitar. Both groups had an hour for the md to direct the piece. This could be done by changing the tempo, length of notes, changing the texture and timbre to fit with the genre. The piece of sheet music was ‘Stars fell on Alabama’- words by Michell Parish, music by Frank Perkins. The sheet music is a swung jazz piece, but we had to change it to sound like an 80s disco piece.
To start with we all learnt the chords and the structure to the song. Then Ash told up the style of playing we should each play. I played octave riffs for the bass like in the style of the disco around that time. Where as the guitars were playing stabby funky chords and Mirron was also playing some of the melody. The guitarists were also told to substitute some chords to fit in with the style. From the sheet music we got rid of playing all the diminished, flat and sharp chords to keep it all in the key. we also got rid of some chords to try and make it feel less like a jazz standard. An idea that i suggested was to lengthen the note values to mainly four beats per chord instead of two beats per chord but we didnt follow through with that suggestion and carried on playing mainly two beats per note. I think this made it feel like more of a jazz standard though. This is because i think disco play chords for longer that two beats usually. When our group plugged in and tried the song out after changing some of the chords and structure we needed to work on the disco groove. To do this we rode on the first note ‘C’ until we were happy with the groove. This ended up being the intro to the song. Once we got the right groove for the genre we played through the sheet with the same groove. This made it sound like more of a disco track. One of the last changes to the track was the ending. Ash decided to end with quaver stabs on the ending C. This created an 80s disco version of a jazz standard directed by Ash.
The only thing i wanted to improve was the length of the chords being played to make it sound less like a jazz standard. But i found it interesting playing sheet music in a different style, directed by one person.