If you play in a band setting where you are just playing “filling” parts, it can be tricky to know when and how much to play. Here are 5 quick tips that will help.
This is the most common mistake that players make behind singers. It’s important to remember that your role is to support the singer. So, don’t try and fill absolutely every space with saxophone. You’ll enjoy it but your singer will hate you! Also, you will probably overshadow your singer and detract from their performance.
2.Keep it simple
If you’re working from a chord chart, find simple lines based on the chord tones. By sticking to these notes or basing your melody strongly on these notes, your horn lines will always work, and, they will seem logical to your listeners.
3. Think rhythmically
Rhythm is just as important as melody, but often overlooked by inexperienced players. Use simple, clear rhythms to give your horn lines strength. They don’t need to be complicated to be effective but must be accurate.
4. Build it
This is an important one. Think about the structure of the song you are playing. Just about every song has verses and choruses. Try not playing anything on the first verse, then add some simple lines in the second verse, build it further in the chorus. This way you can use your horn lines to build the excitement and intensity of the tune. It’s a simple trick but really works.
5. Recycle your ideas
You don’t need to come up with an endless stream of ideas in your horn lines. Be eco! Build your horn lines but developing a single idea throughout the song. You may want to use a different idea for the verse to the chorus. Building your horn lines this way will make them sound more logical and again, makes it easier for your listener without distracting from the singer.
Remember, when playing sax behind a singer (either individually or as a section), your role is as a supporter, not a soloist. If you’re lucky you’ll get a chance to really shine if you get to blow a solo on that tune. But when you’re playing horn lines, think about how you can enhance the singers performance. That’s the sign of a great section player.