When you are striving to be the best one man band, you need to build on each performance. (This is also referring to the best one woman band)
First you have to research just what a one man band is or what are people looking for when they hire a one man band.
Are they looking for ambiant music? Music to party? or some variation there of?
You will need the right gear to go it alone.
PA (sound system)- If you are just doing ambiant style, a smaller pa will probably do. If you are doing the party/dance style gig a bigger efficiently powerful enough amp will be required.
Music Amplifier – If you are using a guitar, keyboard and/or drum machine you may not want to put everything through your PA. I prefer this as I can adjust the volume and crunch of my Chapman Stick without effecting the vocal sound.
Microphone – A good unidirectional or cardiode mic is best… you get less feed back.
Your instrumnet(s) – I use a Chapman Stick, some percussion and a drum machine. I like to have easy to get to volume control for each instrument.
Optional Looper – I use a looper, not to layer several instruments, but to create a drum/percussion groove to play over.
Now once you have all the gear it is time to get to work…
Repertoire, song lists, learning the songs, rehearse with the gear and making useful arrangements.
“They call me the wanderer
Yeah, the wanderer
I roam around, around, around…” – Dion
Now Dion was singing about not settling down and always on the move. And when I just want to get the ole digits to loosen/warm up, that’s what I do. Steve Stine refers to it as “meandering” which is basically playing your instrument with no particular true goal than to listen for a gem, surprise or maybe a muse.
It’s a kind of taking a different path and discovering something you might not of thought of or expected.
When I improvise (on my own) I try to do just that… musically look for things while just grooving on an idea (with or without a backing track).
Plus there is the bonus of warming up at the same time.
Here are few ideas you can work with to get you going.
Put on the vinyl. In the day when there was no YouTube, guitar mags with note for note transcriptions and song sheets never quite had the right chords, you played to a record! Heck there wasn’t even a rewind or loop feature, so patience was needed. Plus you’ll develop an ear for music…
Play to a jam track. You can create your own, download or buy jam tracks. This will tighten your groove which is key to playing with others.
Use a looper. This will really teach you to be accurate in your timing, because if you are slightly off… YOU WILL HEAR IT!
Play slowly. Most will agree it is harder to play slowly than fast… every note has it’s place and you can focus on your tone, pitch and dynamics.
These are just some of the things I use, and hope it helps you. If you have any ideas you would like to share, comment below.