Are You Making These 9 Band Rehearsal Mistakes?
A Guest Post by Crowd Audio
A ragtag group of musicians doesn’t just become a band because it thought it was a good idea to practice together.
A band becomes a band when they click and play together as a well-oiled machine.
For instance, I’ve played in a band with a few different line-ups.
The core group has always been the “band.” New musicians that audition don’t become a part of the band until they click with us musically. Until we can groove together and play off each other.
That doesn’t happen overnight. And sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. Sometimes you need to get rid of that one band member that doesn’t click, because it’s for the greater good of “the band.”
But the most important places you will ever have is your rehearsal space. The rehearsal space is the place where your unlikely group of musicians you found on Craigslist becomes something more than the sum of their musical parts.
But if you just screw around during rehearsals, you’re not gonna become greater than before. Cherish the time you spend with your band mates while you rehearse. Have fun, but make no mistake, there is work to be done.
If you don’t think you’re progressing as fast as you could be, maybe you’re making some of these mistakes?
1. You Have No Plan
Being business minded and obsessed with efficiency can have its advantages. Think about your rehearsals like a business meeting, except that you can wear what you want, you’ll be playing music and there’s probably empty beers cans on the floor.
So maybe nothing like a business meeting, but it still needs to be efficient. Have a plan of action when you go to practice. This is the underlying mistake that most of the following 6 mistakes will build upon. Without a plan, it’s easy to get wrapped up in stories, not working on challenging song sections or even trying to write new ones.
If you have an hour to practice, schedule 5 minutes for chit-chat, 5 minutes for warmup(just play an easy song you all know to get in the groove.) and then devote the rest to actually rehearsing to get better.
Make a plan of what you’re gonna work on before you waste all that time telling stories about last week’s awesome drinking session/concert.
2. You Don’t Want to Do the Work
Work. It’s a word that has a nasty ring to it.
But just because it’s work can’t mean it’s not fun. It’s very liberating to overcome the challenge of a hard song part, nailing that solo or finding that perfect vocal harmony.
Think of it like work, just way cooler and more artistic. That’s what your job is when you’re in your rehearsal space.
3. You Play the Same Songs Over and Over Again
Sure, it’s good to play your set-list over and over to make it as smooth as possible. However, if your setlist sounds as smooth as possible then it’s pointless to keep rehearsing something that doesn’t need work.
Instead, focus on your underdeveloped songs, your song ideas and melodies that you’ve toyed with at home. It’s much more productive to work on a short idea for 30 minutes and end up with a template for a new song than to play the same 6 songs over again.
You won’t end up with anything new, and you’ll have wasted an entire rehearsal because you’re not challenging yourself.
4. You Don’t Challenge Each Other
This is in a similar vein to #3. It’s OK to be honest with each other about your parts. If your guitar part doesn’t really work for you, then say it. Being in a band is (usually) a collaborative effort.
Unless there’s one head songwriter that also writes all the parts then you should communicate what works and what doesn’t. It’s challenging to try to come up with new parts, and it’s annoying if you’ve worked for long on a part that nobody likes. But if taking some more time to work on an even better part contributes to the greater good of the song, then that’s something you should be willing to do.
The opposite is also true. Sometimes musicians think their part is no good because it’s too simple or they don’t like it for some reason. If it sounds perfect to the rest of the band then it’s their job to encourage the musician to keep doing what he’s doing.
Sometimes simple is best for the song.
5. You Don’t Focus On the Problem Parts
When the bridge of your ballad is the only part of the song that needs work, don’t play the song over and over. That’s simply inefficient.
Focus only on the part of the song that needs work. Otherwise you’ll waste a lot of time going through the motions of what you already know instead of focusing on the actual problem.
It’s like a chef who doesn’t know how to make gravy makes the whole roast turkey again because he keeps screwing up the gravy. It’s simply not productive.
Play that part over and over again until you nail. Then play it a few more times to make it groove. Then you can play the song from start to end.
6. You Don’t Record Your Practices
One of the best things for my band practices wasn’t a new instrument or an effects pedal. It wasthis little portable recorder. By recording all our practices, my band and I were ready to gig within a month of ever starting to play together.
We just recorded all of our practices, I sent the recordings to all of the band members when I got home and we all listened and did our homework before next practice. Everyone could work on their own mistakes on their own time so that when it came time to practice we could work on making the songs groove.
Nobody was struggling with their parts and we could focus on playing like a whole.
Absolutely the best band investment I’ve made.
7. You Don’t Do Your Homework
Of course, recording the whole session is pointless if you’re not going to do anything with it.
It’s supposed to help you with your parts that you can do on your own time. It’s a great way to write solos or practice your backing vocals or harmonies.
But all that stuff is pointless if you don’t do anything outside of practice. And let me tell you, it’s annoying for everyone else if you’re the only one screwing up the songs for next week’s gig.
8. You Don’t Plan for the Next Practice
Just like you need a plan for each practice, planning in advance for the next can be very productive.
Problems are more fresh in your mind so if you jot them down before you leave it can jog your memory the next time you come in. You might forget about fresh song ideas that you just came up with so by planning ahead for next week’s practice is important to keep a good workflow going.
9. You Don’t Love Your Music!
This isn’t really a part of the mistakes per say, but if you don’t love the music you’re making you’re wasting your time.
Sometimes you love the music but the band members are in the way. If the drummer isn’t doing it for you and they are your songs, then find another drummer.
It might sound harsh but would you rather have an awkward conversation and an awesome group of musicians or would you rather dread going to practice each week just to put up with bad drumming and uninspiring music?
I don’t know about you but the former sound an awful lot better.
Some of these tips might be relevant to you, some might not work for your particular situation, but I really hope you gained something from reading this article.
If you’ve recorded your music in your rehearsal space and want to take it to the next level, check out Crowd Audio’s mixing services today. Have your music mixed by dozens of engineers and pay for only the mix you like the most.
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