I have been writing pieces for solo banjo since I started playing, but had been so busy playing in bands that I didn’t get around to playing any solo gigs – until recently. I almost always do a solo piece in every band setting, and I look forward to that part of every show.
When you play solo, your attention doesn’t have to go towards featuring your collaborators, towards support playing, or reacting to what else is going on.
I would now make the case that playing solo is an essential piece of being a well rounded musician.
I love the freedom, and the opportunities that the format brings. Now that I’ve played several shows this way, I’d like to make it regular part of my performing life. One day I’d like to do a completely improvised solo night, but for now it’s a mixture of prepared original pieces and solo arrangements of some of my favorite tunes, with space for improv.