Teaching band members a song...
It took me a while to realize that when someone listens to a piece of music they don’t necessarily hear the same things I do. I learned this fact when I gave bandmates a piece of music to learn by listening to it. They didn’t always hear the same details in the song. Things like dynamics, rhythm accents, and even the general groove of the song may not be “heard” by others.
This is no fault of theirs. Hearing the details in a song’s arrangement is a learning process. It takes time and hard listening until you get it.
Now this becomes problematic when I want someone to learn a new song or a new part. I usually hope that they can “hear” what I want them to play so that it won’t take as much rehearsal time to learn the song.
But sometimes when I say, “leave a little space after that G# note” they don’t know what I’m saying even though it seemed clear to me on the recording I gave them.
Inevitably I have to breakdown the song and go over the recording until they “get” what I’m talking about during a rehearsal session. That’s just the way it is… no big deal. That’s what rehearsing is all about anyways.
So how do you teach your bandmates a new song?
We are all adults and expect each other to learn the song on their own time, but like you say, not everyone catches every little detail. We just play through it in practice and when I, or someone else, notices something, we'll either stop the song there if it's major or wait til the end if it's something minor. We talk it out, then run through that particular section of the song making sure to add in the detail, then we start back from the start of the song and see how it goes. Some songs, we'll have to remind everyone about the part before we start the song for a few weeks before it becomes ingrained. For example, we do Dwight Yoakam's version of Little Sister and it starts on beat 2. Our drummer is so used to just clicking 1,2,3,4 that he would count it normal and not add in the extra 1. For 3 or 4 practices, I'd say right before we started, "remember, 1,2,3,4,1 da da da da da da da dum" Now, he just knows and remembers.
what happens with us is more like orientation style. The person who came up with it will do a run through with everyone and then get down to it. I guess if you've been playing together a while everyone sort of understands what flavor to add to their own part. Sometimes our bassist will tack on a his signature pull and that would sound great even to the original composer.
Einstein said “I’m no smarter then the next guy I just work on the problem longer”.
I think the guys I’m playing with are pretty close to the same skill levels, and we all have limited time with work, family and such.
I want to make the best music I can possibly do, but my greatest motivation is …I don’t want to be the suckiest one! Which really only means hey, Larry over here is getting good! Man I need to step up my game.