Progression & Development. (Part 2).


In this half, I will reflect on our progress since formative assessments. I will discuss the outcomes of rehearsals and our performance. I have included information relating to our presentation and will discuss my own achievements and pitfalls throughout the term. Finally, I have included some relevant media in the form of videos and photographic evidence of my work, along with the relevant research.



Each term, communication has been an issue. I have tried to impress its importance upon this group, in the form of cues as well as conveying our ideas in terms that we all understand but only Josh has been particularly responsive to this. Communication outside of rehearsal has been problematic in that, misinterpreted messages regarding plans have led to arguments on multiple occasions and reached a point where we were not communicating at all. At one point I felt the vocalists were working independently of the instrumentalists and we were not consulted on a number of decisions. While I can appreciate that I was absent for one day, I openly communicated on that day, but they did not consider our views whatsoever. I felt that since we were in regular contact, it would not have been difficult to consult us. I did, however, decide that there was no sense in arguing about it, so I accepted the decisions that were made.To combat the issues that arose, we began planning our rehearsals for the following week at the end of each rehearsal and this did help to steady the ship. I found myself at odds with members sometimes but decided early on to try to remain calm and encourage everyone in the band to focus on our performance and remain positive. Everyone was responsive and we set our differences aside for the sake of the performance.



Each member has taken on vastly different responsibilities this term. Luis, has been consistent and he has been a great band member. He has always been prepared and for the most part, stuck to rehearsal plans. Taking on bass duties has showcased his adaptability and he has been a pleasure to work with. His laid back attitude has benefited all of us when tensions arose and he injected a positive energy into rehearsals when needed. Claire has been motivated and positive throughout, despite getting stressed at times and I have enjoyed working with her. Leomi has for the most part, set a very high standard for us all with her punctuality and although she has sometimes been absent, she has always communicated this to us. Her live presence has improved, but the limits of her vocal abilities have made rehearsals very challenging at times, she could have given more thought to her individual contributions as a vocalist, in terms of harmony arrangements and she did not always consider her own role but she benefited from Reece and Claire’s support. Reece and I have disagreed a lot, but he has mostly been a positive addition to the band. He has contributed creatively and appropriately throughout the term. I have always enjoyed working with Josh, but he let us down with his attendance and his attitude. He stated that he felt like he could not work with Reece so I explained to him that, be that as it may, his actions have affected rehearsals for everyone and he was genuinely apologetic. He has mostly been prepared and this has made it easy to work with him. His musical ability and rhythmic understanding have allowed me to set a much higher standard for myself.

I felt let down by the group’s unwillingness to prepare for our rehearsals with Nigel and the decisions fell entirely upon me. I have since built up somewhat of a rapport with Nigel and he said he would like to work with me in the future so it was worth the effort.

I have tried to set a high standard and lead by example, but I needed to address my own contributions. I have contributed as much as I could this term; my punctuality has slipped because I have managed my workload effectively and this led to late nights. I am taking steps towards rectifying the situation. I am proud of my progress, but I have been unable to make the most of the module. I do aim to always contribute creative ideas and suitable arrangements.

Presentation & Reputation:

Given our song choices, the set took on a very funky sound and we are concentrating on the theme of dance to deliver an energetic performance. This idea was taken a little too literally, however, as it was my intention that the set would fuse the sound of jazz and funk. I do not feel this set showcases our range of abilities. I was not in favour of dropping Africa from the set, but as mentioned before, we were not consulted on this decision; it is probably the song that I had put the most work into and some of the others felt the same.

I stressed early on that we should consider our image and towards the end of term, Reece and Claire really responded to this idea and were more or less solely responsible for the end result. We are incorporating outfits and stage props and hopefully this will showcase  a professional attitude.

IMG-20160723-WA0000 - Edited


As mentioned above, we have made a mistake in foregoing the new repertoire, but given our time constraints, I think we have no choice but to work on the songs we have chosen. I was not pleased with my recording and in future I need to ensure a tighter, cleaner take as well as playing with improved groove and feel.

In response to my feedback from last term, I have focused more on the transitions between songs and the beginnings and endings to each song this term.



Dex Dickerson (Prince’s guitarist) – Modernaire

Funk Guitar Tones.

Funk Guitar Lessons – Carl Burnett.

Gaining Fretboard Mastery Through Chord Inversions.

Nathan East – Daft Funk.

How To Get a Nile Rodgers Style Guitar Tone.

Getting The Funk Sound.

Online Forum – What Gear For a Prince Funky Clean Guitar Sound?


Nature Boy: 

Eddie Hazel: 

Funk Guitar Lessons:

Leo Nocentelli: 

Curtis Mayfield:

Sly Stone:

Al McKay:

Steve Cropper:

My own evidence:







Performance & ensemble skills. (Part 1).


Upon starting the new term, I am feeling confident with my progress, although, my group performances up until this point have been somewhat lacking, I definitely wish to improve my ability as an ensemble musician. Below, I have outlined the various elements and themes which to me, have been evident as areas deserving reflection.


Readjusting to a new term and a new group, while difficult at first, has been enjoyable. With the ability and drive to work efficiently, I feel we can accomplish a good set if we prepare effectively. So far our progress has been steady.

During the second week, we needed to adapt to a new vocalist which did set us back initially, but due to some absences, we were grateful to have Reece to work with. This allowed us to keep moving forward and we made good progress with our rendition of Africa.

The world music theme this term has allowed me to expand on my understanding of instrumentation and timbre. While I am already a fan of world music, I have yet to expand on that knowledge in an ensemble context. I enjoy exploring new ways of playing, particularly, taking a more percussive approach to the instrument and this is an element that I always liked about funk music, which as it happens, features quite heavily in our set. This allowed me to think about blending world music and funk and using that as a template for our overall sound. Rather than trying to encompass multiple genres at once, I will seek to authenticate the elements of jazz and funk and focus on expressing myself within these genres. This will allow me to study the genres in more depth without spreading myself too thin, whilst also allowing for a more coherent set-list. This will also influence our band image and I mean to discuss this topic with the band.

According to an article on Nile Rodgers’ signature percussive sound is known as “chucking” and he utilises 16th note rhythms and syncopated grooves to capture this sound. [Gress, J. 2015]

I will look to develop this technique by focusing on the fifth position voicings and tone.


Time management, as always, will be an area for reflection and each member needs to assume responsibilities in order to motivate one another to the best of our abilities.There has been issues with rehearsals being cancelled often and this reflects poorly on those of us who are more committed. I will encourage the others to take rehearsals more seriously.

Screenshot 2016-07-29 at 05.01.36Screenshot 2016-07-29 at 05.01.23


I would like to see us expand on the songs in the sense that we don’t just learn them. There is scope to add a more personal spin to each track, but this has failed to materialise so far; I will continue to push this idea and bring ideas to each session.


Screenshot 2016-07-29 at 05.02.07Screenshot 2016-07-29 at 05.01.57Screenshot 2016-07-29 at 05.01.41


There has been a lot of tension in the group and communication has been the main area of concern.We had a discussion last week to clear the air, but certain members still need to resolve their issues before we can return to practice as usual. I felt very on edge yesterday. We were guided by Ashley and this lent a more professional air to the discussion. Later, I tried to convince Leomi and Reece to discuss their differences and Reece and I ended up arguing. I am frustrated that petty disagreements are getting in the way of our progress. I have tried to mediate these disagreements and caused more tension and as a result and I currently feel stifled by the atmosphere in rehearsal.

Communicating musically as well as verbally is one area where we can improve. I have been focusing mostly on instrumentation, but, as addressed by Ashley recently, vocals are the main role needing improvement. The performance and rehearsals would benefit from more visual cues, but I have been the only one to really engage with the idea up to this point in the course.


Our songs are taking a funky approach and our aim is to create an atmosphere around the theme of dance. This will allow us to focus on the energy that the songs create and aim to deliver a more engaging performance.

Luis has expressed that no one seems particularly excited in rehearsals; I will try to inject more energy and confidence into my own performances and encourage the others to do so. He is grateful that his opinions are being valued this term as he has felt that previously they have not.

I’ve begun making preparations for Essensual. The guitar is very latin jazz and so, I will research bossa nova tracks to prepare for the rehearsals. I will do up a list of all the instrumentation for Essensual as a guide for how we can achieve all of the melodies on the track.

Screenshot 2016-07-29 at 05.02.36Screenshot 2016-07-29 at 05.02.23Screenshot 2016-07-29 at 05.02.12


We are feeling on top of the songs ahead of our performance, but the vocals still need polish and confidence. The laid back approach is evidently impacting our progress. I would like to expand into more vocal duties this term to develop my ability to sing and we could arrange some of the extra instrumentation as backing vocals.We discussed the notion of using percussion early on but this has not materialised just yet. I will explore ways in which I can use the guitar more percussively. Due to time constraints, we have been unable to arrange vocal parts for me.

Colourful, symmetrical visual patterns are recurring with the image of a lot of the artists we are studying and we should incorporate this into our performance somehow. My initial thoughts are of a material, backdrop patterned with African inspired print designs and colourful patterns and I think this would bring an original element to the performance and set the scene for a more exciting show. How feasible this would be, is another matter.

“Your look represents your band and your sound and it should be consistent and complimentary”

I recently saw a production of Hamlet, which was set in Nigeria. T colourful way that the play was re imagined has inspired me and I believe we can aspire to a more theatrical, visual aesthetic for our performance.

After our performance today, we all felt disappointed. The reality of our lack of preparation hit home, but this did allow us the opportunity to clear the air and agree on a better commitment to rehearsals and the repertoire. We ended the day on a positive note.


Bosso, J. (2010). Joe Satriani’s 5 Tips For Perfect Band Rehearsals. [Web Article]. Accessed: June 2016. Available at: <>

Cerullo, A. (2016).  5 Performance Psychology Skills Every Musician Should Master. [Web Article]. Accessed June 2016. Available at: <Performance Psychology Skills.>

Gress, J. (2015). Guitar Player [Web Article]. Accessed: June 2016. Available at: <>

Robley, C. (2014). How To Create An Image For Your Band. Diy Musician. [Web Article]. Accessed: June 2016. Available at: <>

Sciaretto, A. (2015). 6 Ways To Improve Your Band’s Image. [Web Article]. Accessed: June 2016. Available at: <>

The Top 10 Band Rehearsal Tips.

Recording Tips.

A Short Analysis of Nica’s Dream.

Steve Lukather guitar lesson.

Jamiroquai – (Don’t) Give Hate a Chance.

Solo arrangement.

Let’s Dance – Nile Rodgers.

Prince Kiss – Guitar break

Gee Mack.

Oscar Jordan.

Chic – Everybody Dance.

Foxy Lady – Jimi Hendrix

Dani California – Red Hot Chilli Peppers


Essensual (live).

Omar – Live.

African percussion & dance.

Fara Diouf.

basic funk chords

funk rhythm guitar.

deaden the strings.

dominant family chords.

funk it chords

Lose Yourself To Dance Analysis.

Shape of My Heart:

Craig David ft Sting.

Live ft Josh Groban and Chris Botti.

Sampled by Nas.




Our final rehearsal was not as comprehensive as we wanted it to be. I have enjoyed this group regardless of our lack of commitment but next term I will aim to strike a balance between enjoying ourselves and commitment to getting the work done. We have made our final preparations for our equipment, outfits and presentation.

Personally, I have developed a better use of inversions to suit the tone of the song. My aural skills have progressed and I can now more easily hear the differences in chord voicings when analysing music. My use of guitar tone and equipment has improved as well. I have always been conscious of image and presentation but I have tried to emphasise this to other band members. I have improved on all of the main issues I had last term.

The Performance.

I think I played well enough, I was happy with my overall tone and despite some lateness, we managed our soundcheck time well. Mid-performance, Vicky had some trouble with the keys but Leomi used the opportunity to address the crowd and divert attention away from the issues. This was an effective way of managing the tension in the room and quick thinking on Leomi’s part. Samson played well despite a lot of inconsistency during rehearsals and he was pleased with his performance as well.

We had some very positive comments following the performance, people praised my guitar solo in I Was Here and enjoyed hearing me sing backing vocals. One person commented that it felt like Vicky and I held up the band but that this didn’t always come across in the way that we addressed the crowd. All things considered, I would have preferred if we had all been more attentive in rehearsals. We could have made the songs sound a lot bigger and more technically interesting than they were but given the efforts put in so far, I think the performance surpassed my expectations.

I have developed a better understanding of group dynamics throughout this term and hope to apply a more patient and understanding approach with members next term.



Over the past few weeks we have realised that it is more difficult for us to rehearse efficiently if we are all tired. As a result of this we have been arranging rehearsals on days when we are more likely to be productive.

I have organised my weekly schedule around our sessions. This has been challenging but it has allowed us to rehearse when most alert and productive.

I missed a rehearsal today due to some financial issues which could not be postponed. The group did make use of the time to focus on vocal parts and plan our performance so while I feel bad for missing a rehearsal, the group were able to carry on without me.

Practicing Beyonce – I Was Here.



In the face of stress I have tried to maintain a positive attitude this term.

At times I have not been able to manage our repertoire as well as I would like but my time management and organisation have improved a lot and by next term I will have a steady grasp on my schedule.

With next weeks deadlines I am trying to maintain a level head. Hopefully this calm and collected approach will influence our last few rehearsals and show in our performance atmosphere.

Although the overall attitude of the group has been a bit relaxed, I believe we have all enjoyed working together as a group and I will be sad to see an end to this term.




Due to other commitments both Vicky and I were unable to make our rehearsal session this week. We had planned to meet up in the evening instead but I got back very late and we had to cancel.

It has not been a productive week for our group and I feel personally responsible for this.

I am arranging several sessions to make up for this for next week and I will dedicate extra time to rehearsing our pieces.

I again had to miss a rehearsal today. I am told that the group made use of the time without me and have begun planning our performance. This will save time during our next two rehearsals.

Practicing Ali’s track choice.

Lianne La Havas – Au Cinema



I want to record Vicky’s string parts on Tonight Tonight during our recording session tomorrow.

Update (4/16): I had some issues with the stems for the keys I have built my MIDI around Samson’s drum track instead. In hindsight, it was a good idea to record a back up stem after all.

Ahead of our recording session, no one else has given much thought to what stems we all want to sample.

I have been researching remixes and covers to inspire ideas on how I can approach the track. I think most of my inspiration will come when I actually sit down to work on my arrangement but for the time being, I will make notes.

I am looking forward to seeing how this experience allows us to work as a team in a different environment.

Tonight Tonight – Isolated strings mix.

Smashing Pumpkins remix.

Tonight Tonight cover.

Tonight Tonight – 8 bit remix.

Today – chilled out remix.

The recording session could have gone better. Despite prompting from me, no one had given much thought to which stems they wanted to record. I would have liked to have been told which guitar parts they wanted to use so I could better rehearse them.

On a positive note, when focusing on specific sections of the song as we were recording we did notice differences in the way that we play our parts which helped us to then play those parts properly in rehearsals.


Owsinski, B. and Ill, P. (2009) The Studio Musician’s Handbook. Accessed on (11/15 and 03/16). Available at Birmingham City University library. 





I’ve been thinking about how to ensure the best quality of our songs.. We should assign vocal duties according to who has the best voice for each song. This might mean that one person takes lead vocal more than others but I believe that this is a suitable compromise if it alludes to a stronger performance.

This also includes the instrumentalists roles in terms of practising to the best of our ability. Motivating everyone in the band to contribute equally has been difficult to do without leading to tension within the group and as a result, such conversations have been neglected.

I have tried to maintain a consistent practice routine of my own to be more productive in rehearsals but this has been a challenge for me due to a busy schedule.

Soundcloud – Audio files of repertoire.



3 Reasons You Should Practice To A Metronome.

30 minutes practice routine.

Gilad Hekselman practicing.



Since our formatives, I have been more conscious of the guitar tone that I use during performances. For financial reasons I do not have access to higher end equipment and I am often trapped with whatever tone I can conjure up on the day. This has obvious ramifications for my performances and this has been criticised each time. As a potential solution I will discuss this with my fellow guitarists and tutors and see if they can aid me in finding affordable gear which will allow me more control over my sound. I have been told that a more sole purpose wah pedal for example would allow me more dynamic control over the wah sound that I use on Tell Me Something Good. By being more specific with my tone, I can ensure a more consistent performance both during ensemble and individual performances.


When working on I See Fire, I have played the song both acoustic and electric and have decided that the timbre of the acoustic will make for a more authentic performance.

I have been Researching the sort of acoustic arrangements that Ed Sheeran utilizes and how I can capture those textures for our ensemble.

In relation to our group, I think Vicky and Samson have a very natural sense for what sort of timbre a song needs. As do Ali and Leomi in relation to the instrumententation. It was decided that for a couple of songs, the tone of Ali’s voice would be most appropriate and we have tried to consider this with each song and how we allocate each vocalist’s role.


I See Fire – Live Lounge.

I See Fire – Studio Version.

Owsinski, B. and Tozzoli, R. The Ultimate Guitar Tone Handbook. Accessed (3/16). Available from Birmingham City University library.




After our performance today, we have all felt a little deflated. We discussed the performance and are disappointed with the lack of progress. We could have done better if we had put some more effort into the songs.

The band were looking to Vicky for support and I have been expressing the same sentiment for several weeks. I have encouraged the others to contribute. The last few weeks has seen some improvements but we still have a long way to go. From discussions, I understand that this may be due to members having needed some time to get comfortable working with each other. While I can jump right into the process of rehearsing with anyone and start to develop a working relationship straight away, I understand that not every member finds this easy.

If we all carry the weight of responsibility in equal measure then we can support each other and work as a more solid band unit.

For our directors’ choice song we have decided to do I Was Here by Beyonce. It was composed by Diane Warren. I have a lot of ideas about how we can arrange the track for our ensemble but I will encourage everyone else to do the same. In particular I think we need to improve on vocal arrangement.


Update: Towards the end of term, I have not been able to convince everyone to take on new ideas that I had for arrangements. We ended up quite often, just learning the songs in rehearsal times rather than coming prepared and adding to the tracks.