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The Indie Initiative: Listen And Play Tighter

STUDIO CITY, CA (Hypebot) – In this excerpt from his new book called “How To Make Your Band Sound Great,” producer and author Bobby Owsinski illustrates the single most important practice needed to make your band as tight as can be.

Play Tighter By Listening To Each Other

One of the fundamental errors that band members frequently make is not listening closely to the rest of the band. It’s easy to just focus on yourself, but in order to play well together, it’s listening to everyone else that really counts. This is the single most important action you can take when playing with other musicians.

So what do you listen for? You listen to how the other musicians are playing or singing a phrase or part. This includes details like:

– How loudly are they playing?
– What are their dynamics like?
– How do they start and end each phrase?
– Where are they accenting?
– How are they playing the accents?
– Are they playing ahead or behind the beat?
– Does their tempo speed up when they play louder or slow down as they get softer?

All these items require as much of your attention as possible. The more you listen to each other and how each of you play or sing, the tighter you become. It’s that simple.

That being said, it does require some work. During rehearsal, if you notice that you’re not playing a phrase or part the way everyone else is (or if just one of you doesn’t seem in sync with everyone else), stop immediately and ask, “How are you playing that?” Then determine which way sounds best and just rehearse that phrase or part until you’re all playing it together.

During a gig you sometimes get a different perspective on how things sound since the environment is different and you’re probably set up differently than during rehearsal. As a result, you’ll probably notice things that got by during rehearsal. Make a mental note of the parts that aren’t being played well together and address those items first at the next rehearsal. It's also a good idea to also note the parts that you play really well too, so you can compare them to the parts that are shaky.

About The Author

A long-time veteran of the music industry, Bobby Owsinski has produced and composed for records, motion pictures and television shows along the way. Bobby has also has authored several books that are now staples in recording programs in colleges around the world including "The Mixing Engineer's Handbook", "The Recording Engineer's Handbook", "The Audio Mastering Handbook", "The Drum Recording Handbook", “The Studio Musician’s Handbook,” and "How To Make Your Band Sound Great".