This is something I have to keep telling myself because there were moments I ruined the music I was playing and ironically these were the moments when I take a solo in which I should like shine and take over the universe. What’s to be blamed? I blame my practice. I had been practicing so much on my note runs that whenever I had a chance to solo, I would ‘test’ them out even when it might not be in the correct context. And that, is how you ruin your solo and possibly the song (among countless other ways). Actually I should blame my execution the most. Practice is practice and we need not always apply what we practiced. Just like not having to put salted egg in every food just because.
I somehow feel like, often when we take a solo, we focus on making ourselves look and sound good that we might be oblivious to the rest of the band. This reminds me of some weeks ago when I was at a jam session. There was this drummer whose name I unfortunately have forgotten, was making everyone in the band sound so good! He was always paying attention to everyone’s playing and complementing them. There was no super technical stuff judging by my almost non-existent drumming knowledge but music doesn’t need to be complicated to be good. It felt so good and easy playing with him.
I actually wrote about this before about soloing like a rhythm player (or something along these lines) and gosh how could I have forgotten that? Again let’s blame my practice. I think it’s common that we want to try out what we practiced but for me to not follow the flow of the songs is just embarrassing to say the least. Now let me write this down again to remind myself, even while soloing, do it like a rhythm player. A rhythm player is always aware of the vibe of the music and act accordingly so why not the lead player? I can’t just play 10 million notes per second when the music is a ballad going at 40 bpm! It is sometimes a struggle for me as I always go against what I feel. It goes like this between my feels and brain:
Feels – ‘Okay this is so slow and romantic let’s take the solo real slow and not break the vibe. Just sustain those notes focus on those vibratos man yeah that’s what I’m talking about.’
Brain – ‘Didn’t we just practice some quintuplets at 500 bpm back home? Let’s do that right now!’
Feels – ‘No please don’t! You just ruined the solo!’
Brain – ‘I immediately regret my decision.’
Happened way too many times. If you’ve read lots of my post, I believe that technique is needed to execute feels. Not making it a technique vs feels thing but here it is more of being brain vs feels. The more technique I know of course the more things I can do but it’s always my brain that calls the wrong decisions. Well, time to work on letting the feels dominate the brain. In the end, music has to ‘feel’ good, not ‘thought’ to be good. When the music feels good, it will sound good.
Anyway here’s a video I recorded last night of me playing a classic Cantonese song with some reharmonization: