Hello friends, my question is how do you keep your listeners interested in your daily hotel gig, i am talking about the listeners of the daily hotel gig,especially when you are living in a small city or town,and the faces repeated every day, its my situation,and i have only one harp,and no second one to practice at home and to add new music every week for example, what about you?????????
First, congratulations on having and keeping a steady gig! That’s a huge accomplishment.
Second, do whatever you can to get a cheap or donated harp to practice at home. You have to do this! You also may want to get a small electric keyboard or piano to work on things.
Your goal should be to memorize tunes. Memorize the basic tunes and chords, then each time you play them at the hotel, try to do something different with them.
Set realistic goals. Mine is to learn (by learning, I MEAN memorize!) one tune a month. Maybe at this point, you can learn one tune a week. That means you learn over 50 tunes in one year.
Also, make sure you learn tunes your audience knows and recognize, as well as music that is your own personal favorites.
Hope this helps……..
Change your clothes and hair every day. At least that will distract them while you figure out new tunes to play. Many basic rock and roll songs are built on the 1-4-5-1 chord progression, so if you get comfortable with that, you can put many tunes above it.
Get yourself a couple of “fake books”. You can now order them on the Internet. Years ago, we had to buy them in the back room at the music store because they were illegal.
Also, as Mel suggested, simple piano arrangements (and always, with the chord symbol written in!!!) are a great way to start. If the chord symbol is not written in, write it in yourself.
Sorry Mel, but I disagree with you on one thing. Never, and I mean never, play a melody in octaves. This is probably the worst sound on a harp. It works on a piano sometimes, but never on a harp. Just my two cents… and just to let you know that I am a “recovering piano tuner”, so whenever I hear open octaves on a harp, it makes me very uncomfortable. In fact, it makes me want to scream!
Also……. I stress again MEMORIZE! You are on stage. You are an entertainer. You are being watched as well as being listened to. I’m glad my piano teacher when I was a child (started piano in 1962) stressed this to me. It was one of the greatest lessons I ever learned.
i will be glad to hear also the experiences of the harpists who have also second harp to practice, how they can keep them interested if they play for a long time in one place and they can by the result to keep their listeners interested too. and how often do you add a new music to your daily repertiore……….??
I would suggest talk to the audience, involve them in the music, ask them questions: how they like, what they like, sing if you could, invite them to sing with you… and so on and on improvise, akt and enjoy yourself, that is the secret of all, then they will be absolutly happy! That is a job of an entertainer, that also means to be an actor.
Of course melodies in octaves are a good idea, that was rude, Christian. Melodies are also very expressive two octaves apart. If you haven’t heard of Lloyd Lindroth, or seen cocktail pianists, they pay a lot of attention to what they wear. Lloyd wore the most outlandish costumes I’ve ever seen, truly the Liberace of the harp.
Regarding open octaves….
Open octaves on the harp expose a misaligned overtone system, which ironically, if used properly, can add to the warmth of the instrument. After tuning hundreds of pianos, I hear things other people don’t, so this is where I am coming from.
I remember back in the 1980s actually buying other people’s pop arrangements to study (not to perform!) and saw open octaves so many times. It has a very old-fashioned and out-dated sound in pop music, in my opinion.
There are other open-intervals that work much better to the contemporary sounds in music. Here are some I use a LOT.
In the bass: Open 10ths
In the treble: 3rds
Open 5ths from the mid-range up
Open 6ths and Open 10ths from the mid-range up
6ths and and 10th can actually be the same thing flip-flopped. I use this more than anything else to create a warm sound. Doubling a melody with open 10ths can be very warm and beautiful.
Also, the lower on a harp or piano, the farther apart the intervals need to be. If you play tight intervals in the lower ranges of a harp, the sound will be very muddy.
I know this may sound very technical, but I just want to clarify where I am coming from having a piano, harp, piano tuning, guitar, clarinet, tuba, and composing background.
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