Relevance in the 21st Century - What are you playing these days?
What music are you playing these days?
I have been trying to find music that means something to my audience today. That is, a different audience than I have known in the decades gone by.
Have you changed the content of your show lately?
How do you choose what to play?
Things that I have been doing lately:
- Asking the staff and management at the places where I play for ideas.
- Listening to music has been written lately. For me, that's anything written in this century.
- Learning some of this new material, performing it and then talking to the audience (usually one-on-one) about it.
- Wondering if it is better to be age appropriate and to stick to the music from my era, or press ahead at the risk of being the old guy playing Hey there Delilah, Whistle For The Choir, 1234, Gravity. Oh - but I do so love it when people sing along to tunes like this.
- Thinking about putting together another band to do ...?
What about you? How do you decide what to play? If you are incorporating contemporary music in your show, how are you doing that? Where do find that music?
Thanks for any input here.
A lot has changed for me since the beginning of the year. I got a steady gig playing solo and have recently been having people sit in with me as accompanists.
This means that I get to pick the songs, set the arrangements, and give other folks the nod when it's their time to solo.
For most of my musical life, I've been a side-man and occasional on-stage musical director. Taking centre stage and having others to support me is really different.
From the side, I always played whatever the headliner or the band wanted to play with respect to the music and the arrangements. I might have some input but ultimately I ceded most of the decisions to someone else. That's all changed now and it gives me the ability and responsibility to choose the music.
In the beginning I went back through all the tunes I have played on a regular basis and
- Learned the lyrics (no small feat)
- Did arrangements to do them solo, indulging myself in being able to do them as I had always wanted to, except for the inherent limitations of playing solo
- Hit a little culture shock when I realized that almost everything in the list was at least 25 years old.
The L1® connection here? I KNOW that I would not be playing solo or headlining if it weren't for the lessons I've learned and the changes I've made in the last four years. Most of these were because with the L1® I can actually hear myself. But just being here in the message board has had a huge impact on the way I think about and experience music.
So back to you.
What about you? How do you decide what to play? If you are incorporating contemporary music in your show, how are you doing that? Where do you find that music.