By: Tony Williams
If your band is in rehearsals, either preparing for gigging, or
practising new songs to add to your repertoire, the chances are
you will have to hire a rehearsal room. The costs of hiring a
room can soon mount up if you don't organise your time
effectively. You could be wasting time and money going around in
circles, with a growing frustration that your band doesn't seem
to be making any progress.
The answer is to set a Schedule for your rehearsals. Without a
schedule it's difficult to monitor progress if in fact any is
made. Disorganised rehearsals can soon turn into chaos, with
everyone throwing in ideas and playing different things at the
same time. The rehearsal is not the time for your guitarist to
hone his right hand tapping skills, or your drummer to perfect
his lightning fast paradiddles, it is valuable time for working
together as a band, and should be used as such. Band members
should have their own private schedules for practising
instruments and learning new techniques. During a rehearsal you
should all be working towards the same goal and making each
other sound as good as possible. The rehearsal should never turn
into a 'who can play the loudest' competition.
What should your schedule consist of?
Set goals for your rehearsal times and WRITE THEM DOWN! You
should know which songs you are going to rehearse in advance. If
you have planned your strategy, you will avoid getting stuck in
a rut and your time will be used constructively. Songs you
already know can be perfected and the little nuances worked on,
stamping your own identity on cover songs and putting the
finishing touches to originals.
You should make a list of 'finished' songs, 'work in progress'
songs, and 'new ideas'. As each one progresses, move it up into
the next category, thereby revising the schedule for your next
I would suggest starting with 2 or 3 songs you are happy and
comfortable with, simply to give the band a positive vibe to
build on, and then start work on new numbers. Set aside a
certain amount of time for each song, and then move on! Don't
waste time trying to perfect something that just isn't working,
you can come back to it later or at the next rehearsal. Perfect
the numbers that do work, and you will see positive results as
your repertoire builds up considerably.
Always take regular breaks. Coming back to a number that wasn't
going too well with fresh ears can often be all it needs to make
a distinct improvement. If that doesn't help, there's no point
in flogging a dead horse, so move it to the bottom of the list
or consider dropping the song altogether and concentrating on
Work on band dynamics and expression, i.e. fast, slow, loud, and
quiet. Get your fills as tight and as fluent as possible. What
you are working on is that elusive 'feel' that is the hallmark
of a good band. Everybody should not only be playing his/her own
instrument, but also actively listening to the rest of the band.
Tape your rehearsal. You don't need any fancy recording
equipment - a simple tape deck and mic will be sufficient. The
idea is simply for the band to be able to listen to their
efforts afterwards. Listening to a song while you're not playing
means you can listen more subjectively and discuss the merits.
Take notes while you listen, that way you are already forming
the schedule for the next rehearsal.
And finally, remember; you are in a band! As such, the sum of
the parts should be greater than the individual contribution.
About the author:
Tony Williams is a musician, writer, and self-confessed eBay
fanatic. He is also the webmaster of MuZiCk! - The irreverent rock
music lexicon. Take some time out and laugh your socks off at www.muzick.co.uk