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Watch the Extended Performance online guitar lesson by John Stowell from Modern Chord Melody

Extended Perf.
For the extended performance, I'm using the embellished melody with the added rhythmic fills. When I begin soloing, I'm not adhering to the meter changes in the melody (6/4 and 4/4), but rather outlining the harmony and playing with a quarter note pulse and no fixed meter. This is relatively easy to accomplish (with some practice) when playing solo, but takes some time to develop in a group context. I make note of this approach to playing time in several of the other video banks, as I play with this pulse-oriented concept on a number of my tunes contained in the course.
I try to think about the appropriate length of an improvisation as I solo, and I seem to clock in pretty consistently at four to five minutes per tune when I'm playing alone. Obviously things change when performing in a group. I try to err on the side of caution, and would rather play a solo that feels a bit short than one that meanders on for too long.
I remind myself frequently of the importance of dynamics, even when playing solo. Effective use of dynamics draws the audience into the music and creates important contrast. Sometimes a portion of a melody will suggest a shift in the level of intensity, and dynamics can be built into the arrangement of a tune. In a group setting, I also encourage the drummer to take an active role in shaping and moving the dynamic range of the band.