#1
what do they do?

and how does a musician become a "Sessional musician"


better shred than dead
#2
just session musician, you must be ridiculously competent with your instrument. Sight reading, musical theory and chops gotta be top notch.
they go into the studio and are told to play something or write something by the producer and they do it. right there and then.
#4
All session musicians are like machines!

Fantastic at there instrument and a lot know how to play multiple instruments.
#5
Session musicians are extremely talented ad well versed players who get paid to play the instruments on recordings. My mentor worked on a session where they brought in 6-7 session players, handed them the sheet music at 10 am, and had the first song tracked by 11:30 am.
Quote by Teh Traineez0rz
yeah was weird cause she liked us both but she loved him and for some reason she let me know beforehand.

i just wanted her poon and she wanted me to have her poon.

so i had myself some poon.
#6
Quote by Shirate
Session musicians are extremely talented ad well versed players who get paid to play the instruments on recordings. My mentor worked on a session where they brought in 6-7 session players, handed them the sheet music at 10 am, and had the first song tracked by 11:30 am.



what kind of music was it though.


and how much would they get paid for a session?
better shred than dead
#7
Quote by shredda2084
what kind of music was it though.


and how much would they get paid for a session?


session musicians have to be able play just about every style, one day hip hop or R&B next country.
moneys pretty damned good though.
#8
Quote by stephen_rettie
session musicians have to be able play just about every style, one day hip hop or R&B next country.
moneys pretty damned good though.


we talking in hundreds or thousands
better shred than dead
#9
If you play a lot and do well and the bandleaders time and money arent wasted, you can make pretty well. Most of the time its by the hour, and a lot of players are paid according to agreements via their Musicians Union.

If you want to learn about the world of a Session Musician look up guys like Dan Huff, Or Kenny Gamble or Tommy Tedesco.

To start with youd have to know how to sightread a chart, be very flexible and versatile with your tone and be able to incorporate a large variety of styles. Another guy that comes to mind is Carl Verheyhren (sp?)
#10
Quote by Sean0913
If you play a lot and do well and the bandleaders time and money arent wasted, you can make pretty well. Most of the time its by the hour, and a lot of players are paid according to agreements via their Musicians Union.

If you want to learn about the world of a Session Musician look up guys like Dan Huff, Or Kenny Gamble or Tommy Tedesco.

To start with youd have to know how to sightread a chart, be very flexible and versatile with your tone and be able to incorporate a large variety of styles. Another guy that comes to mind is Carl Verheyhren (sp?)


"be able to incorporate a large variety of styles"

learn lots of different genres

and techniques ?
better shred than dead
#11
Let me put it this way: If someone comes up to you and asks you to play something on the guitar or hands you sheet music, you have to be able to play it. If they say they want a certain progression with a certain feel, you have to be able to play it. If they say they want different voicings, you have to be able to do that for them. Honestly, your guitar has to be like an extension of your body. Because if you can't do something someone asks you to, you don't get a call from them again, maybe even from others because word travels fast - and there's always a guy around the corner that can play what you can 10x better.
#12
Quote by shredda2084
"be able to incorporate a large variety of styles"

learn lots of different genres

and techniques ?


Well, the money ones are the ones that are big with producers. Melodic rock, especially for commercials, such as Car Dealers. Pop Rock, Jazz not so much, but you can eke out some sessions, but usually they arent scraping for Jazz dudes. Knowing Jazz however IS an asset, as the saying goes, if you can do well at jazz you can pretty much do well at anything else. Money isnt in Jazz however, compared to the other genres. Many do it for the simple love of what they are doing.

Country - Particularly that which omits the proper notes over the proper chords. Try playing Pents or straight major scales over a country progression and youll quickly find some notes just dont work. Therefore, there are a lot of hexatonics, and straight out playing over the changes as the chords change. Techniques such as fast pedal steel licks, banjo runs hybrid picking etc, are looked at in Country. Take Brad Paisley, Danny Gatton, or a cat like Johnny Hilland for example and of course one of the best proponents of the fast pedal and banjo licks, and chicken pickin, Albert Lee.
#13
Quote by shredda2084
we talking in hundreds or thousands


Depends, single scale session musicians get around 400 for 3-4 hour sessions, a triple scale (which is what my mentors session players were) get around 1200-1500 for a 3-4 hour session. It was country btw.
Quote by Teh Traineez0rz
yeah was weird cause she liked us both but she loved him and for some reason she let me know beforehand.

i just wanted her poon and she wanted me to have her poon.

so i had myself some poon.
#14
Quote by shredda2084
we talking in hundreds or thousands


We're talking a large amount of money here.

But you really have to be good at your instrument. Sight read like a machine, know all techniques and be incredibly good at them, be good at pretty much all genres.

These people are the exact kind of people you want in a band but you can't get.

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#15
Basically the job of a session musician is to record music to the demands of a producer or composer. Because studio time is so expensive, a musician who can quickly record a perfect take of a tune actually SAVES lots of money - and thus is paid plenty!

To be a session musician therefor, you must be able to play what's in demand in the studio and you must be able to get the tone, feel and notes that the producer/composer demands.

However, I'd guess the number one issue is the ability to track perfectly to a click.
#16
its like always being tested to the max of your ability...and never letting the stress show much less getting in the way...

you get handed a lead sheet...sometime its hard to read..depending how fast it was written...the chord symbles may be correct...sometime not....

some time you are asked to transpose the sheet music on the spot...lets say from C to Eb ... if there are some difficult passages...good luck

play well

wolf
#17
well first of all i need to learn how to sight read, im 16 so by time i would be able to be a "session musician" i would at least be 23 - 25 ? so i should have it down by then.
better shred than dead
#19
Quote by Freepower
Well, bearing in mind that you have to find the work as well...

Why are you waiting so long? Start practicing your reading, gigging, and click track work. Now.



i am man i just looked in my local paper for sight reading tutors, i got a theory tutor (my technique is perfect, as its the only thing ive practiced over the last 2 years)


what is click track work?
better shred than dead
#20
To shredda2084.... All of the above info you received is a good overview and explanation of what is needed. Session muso's get paid well, yes, but only through recognition and reputation. Like any other business, you have to start at the bottom and pucker up and kiss that pink rose.

On a lighter note, if you are interested in jacking your chops up... I would recommend a book and a dvd.

The book: Tommy Tedesco; For guitar players only (Short cuts in technique, sight reading and studio playing). He is the most recorded guitarist in the history of the music business.

The dvd: Carl Verheyen; Intervallic Rock ... he also has a book of the same system. If you get through this and are still breathing at the end... you will have a bright future ahead of you. Although this book is aimed at improv... it does more than what it says by actually opening your playing up to a huge degree.

PS: perfect technique? ooooooooooooh. Well, then you wouldn't really need anything.

Enjoy and good luck!
Last edited by evolucian at Dec 11, 2009,
#21
(my technique is perfect, as its the only thing ive practiced over the last 2 years)




You say that like you actually believe it.

Practice recording and double tracking music to a click track, listen back and see good your timing really is.

Bear in mind also that you need to be where the work is and be ready to pick up the phone.

Some articles here - http://www.zackuidl.com/articles
#22
Quote by shredda2084
well first of all i need to learn how to sight read, im 16 so by time i would be able to be a "session musician" i would at least be 23 - 25 ? so i should have it down by then.


If you want one of the best resources Ive ever come across for sight reading consider Music Reading for Guitar - I use it through my Shop/Academy to teach a lot of aspiring 7-9th graders how to prepare for auditioning for the local high schools jazz band out here.

I've used it for bass and guitarists alike. The high school band directors tend to send their Jazz guitar wannabe's my way to get them sorted through a "boot camp" or training camp. "You wanna play guitar for me next year? Go see Sean and do exactly as he says and come see me at the end of the summer"

That sight reading course is amazing. The author is David Oakes, and the method IS unique out of all that's Ive seen out there it's hard to beat it for progressive learning. Its published by MI and as I recall, it's their first year sightreading text at MI - dont quote me on this.
Last edited by Sean0913 at Dec 11, 2009,
#23
Quote by evolucian

The book: Tommy Tedesco; For guitar players only (Short cuts in technique, sight reading and studio playing). He is the most recorded guitarist in the history of the music business.

Enjoy and good luck!


agree with the tedesco approach...tommy was a master...and very funny...got some great tips from him..one of the top studio guys ..

howard roberts books are also very good if you can find them...another top studio guy...founded GIT... now it's called MI i think..

play well

wolf
#24
When I did session work as drummer the going rate was $168.00 per hour. But you were also part of the musicians union.
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#26
Quote by shredda2084
i am man i just looked in my local paper for sight reading tutors, i got a theory tutor (my technique is perfect, as its the only thing ive practiced over the last 2 years)

what is click track work?

No it isn't, trust me. No one's technique is perfect, espcially after just two years. My technique isn't perfect, the guy's above isn't, even Yngwie's isn't(althought he wouldn't admit it).
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#27
You have to start getting familiar with a lot of genres in addition to the other posts here. That means that your "shred or dead" signature may need some work.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#28
No one's technique is perfect


But there are! They just happen to be one in a million. Pianist Walter Gieseking allegedly never practiced. His excuse? "Clean people don't need to bathe." I didn't really believe it at first either, but then I studied with a man on the FSU piano faculty who was actually the same way.

How do they develop that kind of proficiency? Well to start with, practice everything in every key and transpose much of the music you play into every key. Sound like pain in the ass? It is, but the struggle is probably worth it. Anyways, if there are any ambitions here to do session work, practicing all things in every key is a very good place to start to get the skills you need to compete at that level.
#29
Quote by Erc
But there are! They just happen to be one in a million. Pianist Walter Gieseking allegedly never practiced. His excuse? "Clean people don't need to bathe." I didn't really believe it at first either, but then I studied with a man on the FSU piano faculty who was actually the same way.

How do they develop that kind of proficiency? Well to start with, practice everything in every key and transpose much of the music you play into every key. Sound like pain in the ass? It is, but the struggle is probably worth it. Anyways, if there are any ambitions here to do session work, practicing all things in every key is a very good place to start to get the skills you need to compete at that level.


I don't believe this, it's not possible. If you mess up, you don't have perfect technique. And I'm pretty sure I could write a piano piece one of those guys couldn't play perfectly the first time.

virtuosity =/= perfection
#30
I don't believe this, it's not possible. If you mess up, you don't have perfect technique. And I'm pretty sure I could write a piano piece one of those guys couldn't play perfectly the first time.

virtuosity =/= perfection


Sure, if one intentionally wrote an impossible piece to play, then they couldn't play it. But what is within humanly possibility, at least the man whom I personally know, can be sight read and played with precise musical inflection on a first try. It's a very hard thing to believe on faith alone, but I have seen it myself where he sight read one of the most physically difficult, cramped and unpianistic passages in the repertoire four times perfectly with 4 different fingerings.

EDIT --> Ahh, but I do think it's unfair the way I have represented these two particulars. I did say, or imply, that they never practice, but that isn't entirely true. What they allegedly claim to do, is practice in their heads. Of course, maybe they're just liars and really do physically practice in secret, but I'm even more skeptical of that. So presumably when the FSU professor (Dr. Gainsford is his name btw) looks at music, he's already instantly identified the difficulties and has practiced them in his head. That is at least how he taught me to practice, (think first, then play) and I assume he does the same. Also another pearl I've gathered from him is "amateurs practice till they get it right, professionals till it can't go wrong." and that, I think, is the reason for his 'perfect' technique.

If you mess up, you don't have perfect technique.


Of course, the idea of perfect perfection is presumably inhuman and non-existent, but virtual perfection does exist, where flubbed notes are perceptible only to the performer and to those equally intimated with the music. If one's heart leaps with joy at identifying a flubbed note (like when one listens to Perlman or Richter) , then I don't think it's unreasonable to identify their technique as being 'perfect.'
Last edited by Erc at Dec 13, 2009,
#31
Lots of good advice above, but something that was neglected: you have to be reliable. You don't show up on time, you show up 10 minutes early. You return phone calls and e-mails promptly. You call in sick only if you are deathly ill, or a direct family member died that day. You do not make outrageous demands. You are polite and civil with everyone involved in the production, from the producer, to the other musicians, to the studio janitor. If you are a dick, no matter how good you are, you will not get calls. There are not too many top knotch session guys, but you are NOT the only one out there. Keep in mind you are replaceable.
#33
Just remember. If your on time your late.

Ive learned this in the classical word more than anywhere else. 6:00 rehearsal means in your seat, music out, warmed up, tuned, and ready to play at 6:00. Not walking in the door at 6:00
#35
Quote by shredda2084
i am man i just looked in my local paper for sight reading tutors, i got a theory tutor (my technique is perfect, as its the only thing ive practiced over the last 2 years)


what is click track work?

I've seen your vids, and if your definition of perfect is "poor-average" then yes, it is.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1242808
Actually called Mark!

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