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Follower needs to lead - leading songs (not lead guitar)

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(@jkf_alone)
Active Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 13
Topic starter  

Ive been playing for 11 years, can play along & sing to almost any song off the radio or in a jam on Bass, Mandolin, and Guitar. my problem is that i can only lead a few songs that i know by heart. most of the people i play with can lead many songs from memory and almost any song from a lead sheet. The style i tend to play is acoustic gospel, alt folk, country and my ideal would be to have a cache of 20 or so songs i can lead without a lead sheet, and to be able to comfortably lead off from a lead sheet most songs within that style. any advice on how i can achieve this goal ? also i have trouble with kickoffs and giving space between verses when i lead.

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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

you have asked a million dollar question. experience will help. and studying a few songs.
I never play leads note for note. my intention is to but I always seem to drift and play what I hear inside.
sticklers would hate me. version players and I get along well.

so what is a lead sheet?
Tabs?

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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(@jkf_alone)
Active Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 13
Topic starter  

Im not really talking about lead guitar though, its more leading a folk style jam (sing a long type) . for me leading a song is playing the rhythm, adding some melody notes to the chords & bass runs, and singing the bones. from there, thers can add texture , a harmony, a counter melody, a different rhythm texture or just singing the melody with me.

what Im looking for is advice on playing and singing a leadsheet with style as well as techniques for practicing songs to build my lexicon.

A lead sheet is the words and standard notation(melody line only) with chords above it. Tab is guitar only, with a lead sheet any instrument or person who reads music can pick up the song and play/sing it. go to a bookstore and look at a fake book (or the REAL book for jazz) to see what it looks like

360.yahoo.com/jkf_alone


   
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(@davidhodge)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4472
 

Leading groups through a song, or helping to put together a group arrangement of a song, is also a matter of practice. But it's a more difficult thing to practice in that it involves (no surprise) practicing with a group.

The best advice I can think of is to get together a small group of three or four people and plan on making regularly scheduled jams. Each person should be responsible for no more than three or four songs a session. The reason you want so few (even fewer if the group can take it) is to work on leading the songs. You need to first go over what you want to do and then perform and discuss whether or not it worked and then go on from there. Alter the repetitions of the songs by signalling for leads in different places, bringing down (or up) the volume at different times and other changes in dynamics. Again, discuss what worked and what didn't and then try it yet again.

You mention being a "follower," so I assume you've been taking part in these sorts of sessions before. Talk with the folks you respect as song leaders and gather their advice as well. Everyone has different approaches to this and you're going to have to find your own strengths. But, kind of like taking up an instrument in the first place, it doesn't hurt to begin by emulating someone whose style you admire and respect.

Keep us posted on the progress!

Peace


   
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(@jkf_alone)
Active Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 13
Topic starter  

Thanks Dave! i have weekly bible study meetings where my wife and I play 8 to 10 songs (she leads 1/2 on guitar and i lead 1/2 on mando) plus i play bass in church worship, which is another 8 to 10 songs, as well as singing as much as I can. so all together thats about 20 to 30 songs per week with 50% being familiar and the rest new. Maybe thats why i have such a hard time packing in the memorized songs, because im constantly playing new stuff on a deadline.

360.yahoo.com/jkf_alone


   
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