By Thomas DeVoy
You started this band with your friends because you finished binge watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. But now you've had three band practices and your dad wants you to play a set in the basement for him and his four friends. So things are getting pretty serious. You need a game plan.
I have little authority when it comes to how to run a band successfully. But I have been through countless unproductive and unsuccessful band practices, so I know a thing or two about what NOT to do. Most local bands consist of members who have full time jobs, families, friends and other commitments. Your time is valuable. Here is what I have come up with to get the most out of your band rehearsals.
1. SHOW UP ON TIME.
This one is huge. If practice starts at 6pm, you need to show up with enough time to load your gear in and set it up, so you can hit the first note at 6pm. If a band member is late or bails on practice, no one can practice. You just wasted your bands valuable time they could have been using doing something more valuable.
2. SET A START AND END TIME.
Every band member should know when practice starts and ends. That way everyone can manage their time accordingly. Is it really worth a half hour of practice to get down the lead guitarists line on the first four bars of the chorus? No. Let him figure that out on his own time and move on to arrangements, composition, or other things that you can only work when everyone is together.
3. TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS.
Studies have shown that taking frequent breaks actually INCREASES your productivity and creative energy. Also, your ears get tired. Taking a 5-10 minute break every half hour or so will allow your ears to rest. You will hear things you didn't before the break.
4. PRACTICE AT LOW VOLUME LEVELS.
Lame I know, but you need to be able to hear everyones parts. This is especially true if you do not have a PA system set up for the vocals. You need to hear what the singer has written. There is no point in running through songs if you can't hear anyone else to critique what they are doing and make the arrangements stronger.
5. HANG OUT.
You're all friends and you want to hang out. YOU SHOULD. Find time to get together and just be friends. That way when you get to band practice you can focus on being productive and don't spend the first half hour catching up.
6. SET REASONABLE GOALS AND STICK TO THEM.
Set a date for when you want your EP written. Manage your time well and get it done. If you don't have a deadline then you won't get anything accomplished.
7. PRACTICE ALONE
You're going to need to spend a ton of time outside of rehearsal practicing your instrument and writing your parts. It is said that you have to log at least 10,000 hours to master a trade. Do you think you're going to be able to reach that goal with band practice alone? Probably not. Take some time alone to practice scales and music theory. Whatever genre of music you're into, you need to know what a G chord is. Not only will music theory help you effectively communicate your idea's with your band, it will also help with songwriting and arrangements.
Comment below and us your secret for a productive rehearsal.
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