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Young rhythm section players, particularly piano, guitar, and bass players usually do not begin playing these instruments in a traditional band setting. They have often studied with a private teacher or have learned to play "by ear". This can be an advantage, however you must remember that they have very different backgrounds and skills than horn players, who began their instruments in your band program. Drummers often play in the band, but the background and experiences needed to be successful on drum set differ from what they have learned in the concert band.


Recruiting and Selecting Rhythm Section Players
Piano
  • band or orchestra student who plays a traditionally non-jazz instrument like flute, oboe, bassoon, violin, etc.
  • highly motivated
  • some knowledge of scales or chords
  • solid rhythmic feel
  • good listening skills
  • studying piano privately


    Bass
  • a-e above and/or
  • studying the bass privately
  • orchestral bass player motivated to play in jazz band
  • maybe guitar player who is motivated to persue bass


    Guitar
  • often students who are not in the band or orchestra program play guitar
  • auditions
  • may want to find a player who can read notes and rhythms, although some of the most talented guitar players may have never had this type of formal musical training
  • highly motivated to play Jazz(be up-front with the student that they will not be playing only rock music and that they will need to learn to read and learn jazz chord voicings.)
  • solid rhythmic feel
  • good listening skills
  • willingness to take suggestions


    Drums
  • solid rhythmic feel
  • highly motivated
  • some experience with drum set(has a set at home to practice?)
  • good listening skills
  • williness to take suggestions



    Tips for the Young Rhythm Section
    Have a sectional rehearsal with the rhythm section weekly to address their specific problems; their responsibilities are very different from the wind players. Depending upon the written charts, the rhythm players will often be improvising at all times. they must be taught to maintain steady time, read chord changes, voice chords, construct a bass line, understand the form of the piece, etc., to be able to function at a minimal level. Many of these skills are important for the wind players as well, but not critical at the beginning.