How many song to learn is reasonable for an initial try-out?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Mattosaur, Oct 27, 2011.


  1. Mattosaur

    Mattosaur

    Jan 21, 2011
    Michigan
    So, after getting back into bass over the last year, I bought a big boy head/cab and am dipping my toes into the local cover band scene. Next week I'm going to be playing with a guitarist, singer, and drummer who are trying to put together a start up band (and have been playing together for a year or so) but haven't been able to find a bass player. They're willing to take a chance on a relative novice (me).

    So, they sent me a list of 17 songs they've been working on. (I have no idea if this is their full set list at the moment or not... I guess they've been taking a long break while waiting for a bass player to materialize). I received the set list Sunday night, and we made plans to get together and play a week and a half later.

    The singer mentioned she'd like to have at least 5-10 songs to go through with the whole band, which worried me a little at first. But as I'm working through them, most of them are pretty easy and I think it won't be a stretch to hit 10.

    Once I hit the 10 mark, do you guys think I should try to keep learning more, or sit tight and work on polishing and memorizing what I have?

    For the most part, these songs are riding the root on eighth notes, but there are parts that are a bit outside of what I've been used to playing by myself the last nine months. There are also a few songs that immediately went into a "not going to even try at this point" bucket, since they were more funk/ska based. Those are going to take a week or more on their own to learn.

    My current plan is to hit ten songs, and then polish. Does that sound about right for having a week to prepare? I'm just under a week out from the rehearsal and I have 5 at a point that I think I wouldn't entirely embarrass myself.
     
  2. themacinator

    themacinator Always looking for the perfect gig

    Oct 8, 2009
    8,385 feet in the Colorado Rockies
    Endorsing Artist: Babicz FCH Hardware
    First off what are the songs? Did they send you difficult or easy songs?

    Second since you are new to them and somewhat new to bass you I feel they need to slow down a bit on blending you into the mix. If you showed up and could play 3-5 songs very well, as if YOU had been playing with them for a year, I feel that would be excellent.

    Then two, maybe three new songs each week, in addition to the ones from week one. Until you are up to their 17 songs.

    Slow and steady builds great jams and great bands.
     
  3. cbrophy

    cbrophy

    Nov 11, 2009
    Central MA.
    Concentrate on the ten....familiarize yourself with the rest...depending on how long you have rehearsal with the rest of the gang, you probably won't get through them all any way!
     
  4. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Minneapolis
    If you were auditioning for us, you would need to NAIL three, GET BY on three more, and then just do the best you can on a couple more, and then, if you had the right personality, and we liked you, you might just get the gig.

    If you did all that, and we still weren't sure, we might set up a second audition.

    10 songs is a lot!
     
  5. +1

    The band I'm currently in sent me their set list (I could already busk my way through about 80% of) about 10 days before I auditioned.

    They had picked out 5 songs from that list and I was expected to have both the bass and backing vocals nailed (fortunately I'm the only backing vocalist so I only needed to work out a line that would fit with the lead vocals, not find my way through a multipart harmony).

    But that was it. Those 5 songs were the only ones they were judging performance on.
     
  6. themacinator

    themacinator Always looking for the perfect gig

    Oct 8, 2009
    8,385 feet in the Colorado Rockies
    Endorsing Artist: Babicz FCH Hardware
    +2
     
  7. Mattosaur

    Mattosaur

    Jan 21, 2011
    Michigan
    Thanks for the feedback, gents.

    For the most part, these are pretty classic rock songs. There are a couple with busy lines, but I'm sidelining those for now since I'm not sure I could learn them in a week if that's all I was doing. I'm about 10 months in with my playing, so while none of these songs are really challenging, they do take some effort on my part to learn and get right. I'm at the point where I'm making sure I'm getting rhythms and fills right.

    I think these are the ten I'm going to focus on, with the first five being the ones I'm really going to try to have nailed:

    Only one-Melissa Etheridge
    Highway to Hell-AC/DC
    Bitch-Meredith Brooks
    Kiss me deadly-Lita Ford
    Brass in Pocket-Pretenders
    Favorite Mistake- Sheryl Crowe
    I kissed a girl-Katy Perry
    Heart breaker-Pat Benetar
    If it makes you happy-Sheryl Crowe
    I love rock and roll-Joan Jett
     
  8. 3 from them... 1 from you to them...

    you should sing one.
     
  9. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Minneapolis
    I play these in my band:

    Only one-Melissa Etheridge
    Bitch-Meredith Brooks
    I love rock and roll-Joan Jett

    Super easy, note-wise, but make sure you learn them right! In an audition, being dead on the beat is the big factor.
     
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    That's not too challenging of a list, so I wouldn't say they're asking too much. Still, when we audition somebody we have them pick three or four - that's enough to ask of somebody, especially if they only have a week or two to work on them. Then we might pull out some others and just jam with them, and see what they want to show us, just to see a little more of how they play and how we get along.

    I know one band in the area where the audition IS the gig - show up and play the first set, if you nail it you're in and if you don't you're not. They never practice either, just show up ready to play. They have their departing member around to play the other two sets and to take over if the auditionee disintegrates.
     
  11. 1954bassman

    1954bassman

    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    Seventeen is not un-reasonable, if you can devote the time it will take you to learn them. Pick off the easy ones first, and spend a lot of time listening to all the songs when your bass is not handy. If one is particularly hard, skip it. When the practice date is looming, just start playing along with the entire 17 song CD - all the way through, non-stop. This will get you half-way familiar with the entire list.

    There is a good chance they are looking for more than note-for-note perfection. If you feel like you are in over your head, just kick back and enjoy the exprience.
     
  12. Mattosaur

    Mattosaur

    Jan 21, 2011
    Michigan
    I think I've got Only One nailed, expect for the last few notes of the pre-chorus. There's a little fill there that I can't seem to find the rhythm of.

    It's nice to be pushed to really focus on my rhythm instead of notes, which is what I think I generally tend to focus on.
     
  13. Mattosaur

    Mattosaur

    Jan 21, 2011
    Michigan
    This is what I'm really focusing on. This is my first "audition" pretty much ever (aside from playing in a jazz band in junior high 17 years ago :) ).

    I think I was pretty clear on what my experience level was, and what I was looking for, so I won't be disappointed if I'm not what they're looking for. But for a hobbyist cover band that is only looking to gig 1 or 2 nights a month, I think I've got a decent shot.
     
  14. stflbn

    stflbn

    May 10, 2007
    Nashville
    Audition... for me...

    give me 3-4 songs you want me to learn to hear how I play and/or sing. I'd also like to give them 1 to learn so I can see how THEY do their homework.

    Anything more is just wasting peoples time. I almost always know in the first song.
     
  15. themacinator

    themacinator Always looking for the perfect gig

    Oct 8, 2009
    8,385 feet in the Colorado Rockies
    Endorsing Artist: Babicz FCH Hardware
    Obviously a female lead singer. The five I would do would be:

    Only one-Melissa Etheridge
    Highway to Hell-AC/DC
    Bitch-Meredith Brooks
    If it makes you happy-Sheryl Crowe
    I love rock and roll-Joan Jett

    Nail these and tell them you are working on the rest.
     
  16. cableguy

    cableguy

    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    +1

    Anything more than 5 should be a bonus. Is this a full time band or week-end warrior type stuff? Different type of mentality if you're playing to feed yourself.

    Also make sure they play the songs in the same key as you. As simple as that sounds I've seen bands play songs I a different key than the CD.
     
  17. Jarrett

    Jarrett

    Jan 19, 2004
    Waxahachie, Tx
    If they send me five, I learn five. If they send me forty, I learn forty. More likely to get the gig if you show up with more homework done than the next guy.
     
  18. wonderjosh

    wonderjosh

    Nov 19, 2009
    Fort Worth, TX
    For you semi-pro guys that work a full time job and have other various "real life" obligations, how many songs can you reasonably learn in a week?

    I'm working full time and taking 12 hours of college courses and I feel like I never have any time at all for music anymore. :(
     
  19. themacinator

    themacinator Always looking for the perfect gig

    Oct 8, 2009
    8,385 feet in the Colorado Rockies
    Endorsing Artist: Babicz FCH Hardware
    2-3 at most. Wife, Kids, Job all take priority. I can recall some weeks I never got to learn. Too busy.
     
  20. Jarrett

    Jarrett

    Jan 19, 2004
    Waxahachie, Tx
    I learn songs for fun. 30-40 new songs a week is fine, but I've had years of practice at it and can usually pick up pop song bass lines in one pass. I have to learn 5-6 new songs for church every week anyway, what's a few more.
     
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