FDP Home Page / FDP Forum / FAQ's

The FDP is made possible by the following companies and individual members like you.
Please use the links below to show them we value their sponsorship.

Sweetwater

Amplified Parts

Musician's Friend

Antique Electronics Supply

WD Music

Yellowjackets Tube Converters

Jensen Loudspeakers

MOD KITS DIY

Apex Tube Matching

Guitar Center

Amazon


* God bless America and our men and women in uniform *

* Illegitimi non carborundum! *

If you benefit and learn from the FDP and enjoy our site, please help support us and become a Contributing Member or make a Donation today! The FDP counts on YOU to help keep the site going with an annual contribution. It's quick and easy with PayPal. Please do it TODAY!

Chris Greene, Host & Founder

LOST YOUR PASSWORD?

......................................................................

   
FDP Jam
Calendar
Find musicians
in your area!
  Search the Forums  

FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / 1st time playing in a pit band for a musical

Next 20 Messages  
themaestro
Contributing Member
**********
****

Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Nov 1st, 2015 08:54 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I got invited to play bass in a local high school musical. They are doing "All Shook Up". It features Elvis tunes, but it is not about Elvis himself.

The score is pretty somewhat ambitious and beyond some of their students' abilities, so the musical director is bringing in a few ringers to fill the band out.

It's certainly different. The parts require reading ability and have unusual hits and quick changes of musical styles. I have done some musical productions in the past, but this is my first time to be truly in the orchestra pit for a real musical.

It should be a lot of fun. There is a lot of rehearsing. The band will have had 4 weekly rehearsals on their own, then starting next Friday, there will be 5 daily stage rehearsals with the cast, then 3 shows.

Hammond101
Contributing Member
*********

So. Cal. USA

Nov 1st, 2015 09:36 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I did this in high school and for a few years after. I was strictly a drummer at the time and everything was charted. I was a good reader so it was a lot of fun. Our director allowed improvising so I was able to stretch things a bit here and there. I also had to do sound effects, door bells, breaking glass, it was a hoot.

Have fun with this!

Surfinboy
Contributing Member
*********

USA

Practice!
Nov 2nd, 2015 11:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

By and large, pit orchestra work is great. It's good for your reading, you meet some really interesting people, and you get home earlier than most gigs without having to tear down a PA. Often the skill level of the musicians is kind of all over the map, but most people who do it work hard at it and genuinely enjoy it.

Every time I see the movie Waiting For Guffman, I have hilarious flashbacks of my experience in community theater. If you haven't seen it, it's a must!

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
**

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Nov 3rd, 2015 12:00 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The closest I've come to this is when I recorded a harmonica solo for a community theatre production of Tommy.
It was a seen called "The Hawker" (Eyesight to the blind)

The actor playing "The Hawker" came to me for harmonica lessons 3 weeks before "curtain time" thinking it would be a piece of cake to "just learn the solo" and perform it live...

He didn't take into account you first have to learn to play the harp properly to "just learn the solo" and quickly learnt that he wasn't capable.

So the group put me in a studio to record the pieces and then he "harp-synced" with the live band!
It would have been fun to do it live, but I had too many other musical commitments at the time.

I did this gratis of course, with exception to putting me in the program as "Harmonica Soloist - Mick Reid"
(just wanted it for the musical resume)

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 02:52 AM, Nov 3rd, 2015)

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
*********

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Nov 3rd, 2015 04:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Two years ago, I got a desperate call on a Friday night that the pit band for "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" flaked out. The found a piano player, drummer, guitar player and needed me on bass.

I took the gig and met at the first rehearsal with band and actors on Sunday night. The first performance was Wednesday. The piano score was almost 200 pages. The bass score was bass only, no lyrics to help me keep place. I had to follow the score or I'd clash with the piano's left hand. I hadn't read bass clef since college in 1971.

I spent all day Monday practicing. I tabbed out the first few of the 13 songs. After a few hours, it started to come back. We had a full rehearsal again Monday...Tuesday, practice again all day at home, Tuesday night dress rehearsal...it came together.

We had 5 performances and I had a fantastic time. I vowed to practice reading every day after...

...I didn't. Life gets in the way.

It's a lot of work and mistakes aren't an option. I used my Line 6 Variax 5 string into an Ampeg PF-500 with a single 10" speaker. I DI'd to the house from the DI on the amp. The sound tech said it was the best bass feed he'd ever dealt with.

I used appropriate models on the bass...usually a P bass model. I used an upright bass model on one song and even the 12 string model on one song to fill out better.

The drummer was an experienced pro. I knew the piano player but this was the first pit experience for both of us. She's a decent reader and truthfully, they probably could have squeaked by fine with piano only.

I'd do it again, hopefully with more time to prepare.

themaestro
Contributing Member
**********
****

Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Nov 3rd, 2015 05:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"The bass score was bass only, no lyrics to help me keep place. I had to follow the score or I'd clash with the piano's left hand."

That's my experience. We've have 3 rehearsals so far with just the band without any vocals. It does sometimes make it hard to know where you are, especially in the cued or directed sections. Luckily, I've been playing in a big band the past few years, so while I'm not a wonderful reader, I can read through must stuff. The big band is also similar in that if I am doubling the bari sax or bass trombone, there is not much room to wander off the printed score.

Rehearsals with the cast start on Friday. I expect things to come together quickly at that point.

Surfinboy
Contributing Member
*********

USA

Practice!
Nov 4th, 2015 05:09 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

By the end of a run our books were loaded with pencil marks, and I'd often see semi-erased cues that the last guitarist (probably from some other community theater from halfway across the country).

It can be tough counting, especially without the actors' vocal parts, and when you have 96 bars of rest and all of a sudden that solo guitar line sneaks up on you (usually with lots of ledger lines).

The worst gig I ever played was a musical theater one. It had lots of single-note acoustic guitar solo parts, and most of the keys had 5 or 6 sharps. To top it off, the conductor was a classically trained sociopath who had no tolerance for anything less than symphonic perfection, even in the world of community theater.

Dolemite
Contributing Member
********

What It Was!

smells like Persian cab driver ass
Nov 4th, 2015 07:41 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Got a call to do guitar for "Grease" at the Lake Worth Playhouse. It was a lot of fun - lots of tremolo & slapback, 50's style guitar. Also re-affirmed that my reading skills continue to be truly average.

wborys
OldFartBassPlayerWalt

Robbinsville, NJ

what do you mean the bass is too loud?
Nov 5th, 2015 10:21 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I guess it'd be fun, but I'm dyslexic when it
comes to reading music.

I can read tones, but can't scan the duration
of the note values.

James Brown would've made money off of me..

oldFartFeebleBassPlayer Walt


Dadical
Contributing Member
**********
****

I am not a complete

idiot - I have several pieces missing!
Nov 9th, 2015 06:37 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I was pit guitar for JCS at the church. Practice began in early February for an Easter show. It was the most intensely rehearsed show I've ever done, and worth all the work when it came together for an overflow house. I played electric and acoustic guitar, plus bass on Everything's Alright due to the 5/4 time sig. Having someone else do all the organizing and arranging is great when you have to really stretch to do the show.




themaestro
Contributing Member
**********
****

Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Nov 9th, 2015 10:29 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

When they say orchestra pit, it is really more like the orchestra dungeon. There is a floor on top of the pit, so we are inside this dark little space. Instruments are mic'd or DI'd. We hear the actors over monitors and see them via video monitors. The orchestra director sits on a platform with an open space above him. If he looks up, he sees the stage. If he looks down, he sees us.

Here's a couple of pics.

The entrance to the orchestra pit

themaestro
Contributing Member
**********
****

Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Nov 9th, 2015 10:30 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A pic inside the orchestra pit dungeon.

Inside the dungeon.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
******

Panama City, FL

Same ol **** but my hair's longer
Dec 16th, 2015 07:31 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I was asked last night to play guitar in the pit band for the musical "Rent" at the college in town. I'm excited as hell to be doing this, I think it's going to be a blast! I also found out the bassist for the ensemble played with a pretty well known band for a spell back in the late 70's. I won't say the band's name but their initials are ABB. :)

gdw3

LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Dec 16th, 2015 12:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I just finished playing in a musical myself. We closed last night. It was a lot of fun! The most concentrating I've ever done in a performance. Lots of cues and following the singer.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
******

Panama City, FL

Same ol **** but my hair's longer
Dec 17th, 2015 10:10 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yeah, just to get a jump on things I've been listening to the soundtrack for the musical and there's A LOT of guitar centric songs in this one.

I'm sure there is a lot of concentration required. You can't start songs whenever you're ready like at a regular gig. These have to start on cue.

themaestro
Contributing Member
**********
****

Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Dec 17th, 2015 07:11 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It was fun. I'll do it again if I get the chance.

acplayer

MA

Earn while you learn
Jan 26th, 2016 04:40 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've got a musical pit gig in a few weeks: "Thoroughly Modern Milly" at a local prep school.

Musicals are fun for me as the musicians that do shows in my area are good readers. I have the book (Reed II; clarinet, alto sax, soprano sax, and flute).

Leading up to a musical I practice my scales and arpeggios on my instruments. About a week prior I'll clean up the rough spots in the book.

Local HS/college shows in my area pay pit musicians rather well. There isn't much playing otherwise in my area during the winter months.

My classical ensemble

Tony Wright

Stillwater, OK

Built for comfort, not for speed.
Jan 26th, 2016 05:59 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I was in the "pit" once...back in '08 for the local production of "Always, Patsy Cline". At least I knew most of the material even if I had never played it.

We were not "in the pit" because our local theater group performs "in the round"...so they put the band "on stage" in character and in costume...well, kind of "costume". We were blacked out (black pants and shirt and in the dark...except when "Patsy" came over and stood on the small riser with us to "perform"...other times, like most musicals, they just broke into song and we played along in the shadows.

That was a reasonably fun gig, but...

If I could tell beginning guitarists and bass players one thing that would make their life easier years later....

LEARN TO SIGHT READ.

This message brought to you by XYZ-TAB ON LINE.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
******

Panama City, FL

Same ol **** but my hair's longer
Jan 26th, 2016 07:13 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Local HS/college shows in my area pay pit musicians rather well."

I'm not complaining that's for sure. I'm getting paid well to play 6 shows.

I've put in a ton of work in preparation though. I've probably worked on this score about 2 hours a day on average and that doesn't include dialing in the myriad of tones that I need for this musical.

We only have 2 band rehearsals before we start working with the cast so it goes without saying that you better know your stuff when you show up to that first rehearsal.

And yes, Tony is correct, learn to read music!

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
******

Panama City, FL

Same ol **** but my hair's longer
Apr 11th, 2016 09:19 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The first weekend is in the books! Packed house on Friday and Saturday night. This has been way more fun than I could have imagined and I'm already looking forward to doing it again!

Next 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / 1st time playing in a pit band for a musical




Reply to this Topic
Display my email address             Lost your password?
Your Message:
Link Address (URL):
Link Title:




Moderators: Chris Greene  Iron Man  reverendrob  

FDP, LLC Privacy Policy: Your real name, username, and email
are held in confidence and not disclosed to any third parties, sold, or
used for anything other than FDP Forum registration unless you specifically authorize disclosure.

Furtkamp.com 
Internet Application Development

Copyright © 1999-2017 Fender Discussion Page, LLC   All Rights Reserved