You’ve spoken about musical intuition as something you rely on when performing with new artists. What does that mean to you?
Musical intuition is your ability to adapt to a musical environment quickly, an intuition about a situation you’re used to working in. You can’t fully predict a musical situation but you can be able to make quick adjustments on the fly. Especially when performing songs last minute. A drummer called me in recently for a gig with a local singer/songwriter and said, “I’m working with this kid can you do this gig? No rehearsal but don’t worry, just show up.”
This (musical intuition) is not just something you wake up with. It’s something that can be developed. If you work in a lot of different types of musical situations, your experience helps you develop this. It takes a lot of studying music and a whole lot of listening. When you listen and analyze you develop an understanding of how the music can work or flow.
It really comes down to being open-minded and listening a lot. All musicians have certain styles that they’re more comfortable with, even those of us that are pretty versatile. There are still styles we’re more comfortable in because we spend more time in them. But being open and always listening, always trying to learn more and be aware to how music is developing, will help you develop musical intuition.
As a Music Director, what would you say are your responsibilities for preparing the band?
I send the audio file or YouTube link and if we’re using charts, I’ll get the charts prepared. Capo fits perfectly for situations like that, particularly when there’s a lot of music and not a lot of time. Any time you can combine sending a chart with the audio file, it definitely helps.
As a Music Director, if there’s not a set band to work with, you also have to make sure you have the right people for the job and that the collective can work together well. There’s a certain trust factor that the title holds. You are the band leader, arranger and the one that artists and show producers depend on to make sure everything is executed well.