Any instrumentalist, whether they play the kazoo or sing or play the clarinet, is going to get an opportunity to solo.
The Kayhi Bands started off the 2019-2020 school year with 10 incoming seniors who are ready to be in the spotlight.
Jazz band and Wind Ensemble member Senior Jalina Williams has been soloing in school bands since 8th grade year.
“When I first saw that I had a solo I kind of went, ‘Oh no this isn’t going to be good, help,’” said Williams.
Soloing in class can be scary. Forming a routine can help ease the pressure.
“To get comfortable I look at it, listen to it, play it, and practice it,” said Williams. “I really get into the solo.”
When the solo is good enough for personal acceptance, then it would be time to prepare for the real purpose of playing music: performing in front of an audience.
Soloists that thrive off of the audience’s reaction have a hard time with feeling good about their solo, but the ones that can reflect on themselves are the soloists that can adapt and get better.
“They’re not important to me because the only opinion that matters is my own,” said Williams. “If it was good it was good, if it was bad it was bad… oh well”.
As a professional, things get simpler.
Ketchikan Rain City Band Drummer Mike Purcell knows that being the only drummer in a band means the entire performance is like one big long solo.
“Because I’m playing the drums, I think about how comfortable I will be soloing,” said Purcell. “Like the different time signatures and how far I can go with it and my abilities.”
Soloing is different with each instrument. When drummers also have a solo they are then having to add to the beats and make more of what they’re already playing.
“It makes a difference for me,” he said. “What time signatures, how capable I am with the beat, and how far I can go with the solo.”
Soloists should always be comfortable when they solo to be able to please the audience.
“You’re playing music for somebody usually, so you want to make sure they’re enjoying it,” he said.
The point of a solo is to enhance the melody with a single instrument while highlighting an individual’s skill.
“I think less is more,” said Purcell. “If you do it once in a while it is more satisfying. No one wants to listen to someone soloing all the time.”
In a band setting, soloing takes a lot of hard work and practice.
“Practice is the only way you can prepare,” he said. “Go over it, try a few different variations. When you actually do the solo it usually ends up different anyways.”
Soloing is the pathway between being in a band and to being an instrumentalist; use every opportunity to solo and have a plan on how you would prepare.
“That’s the neat thing about soloing. You might just have a basic idea of what you’re going to do. It’s always going to be a little different each time once you know what you’re doing”.