how much to practice

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by T-BIRD bassist, Jul 7, 2004.

  1. T-BIRD bassist

    T-BIRD bassist

    Jun 24, 2004
    i was just wonder how much should a band practice with out getting on eachothers nerves?

    how often does your band practice?
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    2.71539 days per week.
    Exactly, no more, no less.

    And really, if there is a point where somebody is getting on your nerves, why the **** you around them to begin with?

    PRACTICE (or REHEARSAL as I like to differentiate) - all dpends on how easy it is for you folks to learn stuff. If you are doing stuff off of other people's records, exactly like they are on the records (no transposing for the singer who can't get up that high) and everybody has good enough ears to transcribe their parts, all you need to do is hit each song to find out if there are any train wrecks.

    If you are doing all originals (or all original arrangements of other folks tunes) that are charted out, you'll need to play through the charts to make sure evrything's cool, all the markings, repeats, sections etc. make sense and there are no train wrecks.

    If you are doing all originals (or the other thing) and nobody reads and you all have to get your parts from the guitar player or the drummer's girlfriend and play them over and over until you each have not only memorised your part but can play it without getting confused when everybody else plays their parts, you're goingto have to do that a LOT before you don't have to worry about train wrecks.

    There are bands that rehearse from once a month to once a week. there are others that rehearse every frikken night. Can you guess which one might be which?

    Also it depends on the gigs. Are you preparing for a 6 week tour of Japan or do you have an open mic set at the local coffee house or dive bar in 6 months? That will tend to have some bearing on a rehearsal schedule.

    I play a regular Tuesday night session. When we've got a recording or something come up, we'll concentrate maybe two of those Tuesday's on working on specific things instead of just playing.

    For the record that's at jeffsilverbush (click on VISIT ED FUQUA'S HOEMPAGE ) we had one rehearsal and two gigs before we went in the studio. Those guys can play,though.
  3. vbass


    May 7, 2004
    Bay Area, CA
    It all depends on your band. If you're getting annoyed with the people in it after only a few practices, good luck keeping it going! My drummer is an arse and we still manage to practice at least 2x a week for a good 3 hours each night. We're doing all originals, btw. If you're in a cover band or just a band with few originals then you'll probably be better off because everyone can learn their parts away from each other, thus limiting the 'annoying' time.
  4. slackdaddy


    Mar 1, 2004
    Athens, GA
    Endorsing Artist: David Eden Amplifiers / Rob Wave Custom basses
    I have been in a band for the last 2 1/2 years and we have only practiced once. I got a call yesterday about a second practice but that wound up not happening. It is a different kind of situation though.
  5. slackdaddy


    Mar 1, 2004
    Athens, GA
    Endorsing Artist: David Eden Amplifiers / Rob Wave Custom basses
    By the way, I do feel that there is a difference between "practicing" and "rehearsing".
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    There's a lot of wisdom in what slack says.

    My 2 main bands have rehearsals - that means, we all have "homework..........learn the songs dead-on, know what your instrument/amp settings need to be to play the songs, and think about your stage presence before we get back together for the next "rehearsal." Rehearsal time is too valuable.

    In short, for us -

    - "practicing" is something you do to get the songs down
    - "rehearsing" is something you do to make individual contributions coalesce together into something that sounds like like a single-minded musical force

    Sure, at rehearsals, there are always instances where we argue about such things as - "I think that should be a sharp there" and another person says they disagree. But you want to be dealing with fine points......not basics in the song construction.

    In short, to my way of thinking, to speak abstractly, "practicing" is like deciding "should it be red "???......and "rehearsing" is like deciding which hue of red should it be ???
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I think everything everyone said is great, and true. I shall now attempt to add my $.02.

    I've come to believe that musicians must at one time or another pay their dues by practicing relentlessly. I've had bands that practiced 3X a week, and we each also spent a lot of time working on our own. My finding are that once people do this for years and years, the amount they HAVE to practice (in a new band or the same) becomes a heck of a lot less. My band (The Nerve!) currently practices only when we have new material to get down, or when we're going into the studio to record. I often play with other groups and it's usually the same thing. We do our homework, learn our respective parts - and then the rehearsal time is really minimal. One or 2 rehearsals, and we're out playing. I think the dues we paid earlier in our careers paid off in that we learned how to play tightly and expressively with other musicians without having to beat our music (or each other) to death. I realized this by playing with lots of different drummers in the nerve. One guy wanted to rehearse several times a week and would complain how much we NEEDED it. We didn't need it. He did. When we finally replaced him with someone who HAD paid their reheearsal dues with a past band, we were instantly a much more tight and together band. Did that make any sense? It's still early in the morning for me.

    If you're new at this, which I imagine you are or you wouldn't be asking - rehearse as much as you possibly can. Be sure you have things to work on though, and make sure the rehearsals are productive. Some bands play the same three songs repeatedly without anything changing or getting better. I believe that will cause you all to get on each others nerves. Take songs a piece at a time if necessary to get them right. When it starts getting really frustrating, tense, boring - move on to something else. Jam. Try to write something new. Anything. Keep it fun. I believe it's also important to get together and have acoustic rehearsals, without the drummer. Lots of stuff can be worked out in a quieter atmosphere with just a couple of guitars. You don't have to pay for studio time either.
  8. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    We practice once a week max.
  9. cosmodrome

    cosmodrome Registered User

    Apr 30, 2004
    ****town, Netherlands
    2 times a week. 2 to 3 hours. mostly songs that need attention and new songs, sometimes the whole set. just when u think it all sounds nice you'll find something else to practise (presentation, accentuation, breaks etc). we don't hang out much socially so we don't get tired of eachother quick and it's always a lot of fun.
  10. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Great advice on here so far. Here's my two Lincolns.

    It really depends on the situation, as Ed Fuqua has stated. Another factor to consider is how efficient you are with your practices. Sometimes a single rehearsal a month can be more productive than rehearsing twice a week. If you spend alot of time at rehearsal horsing around, noodling on your instruments, yapping and rambling about non-band related stuff, it will take away from maximizing your time. I'm not saying that rehearsal can't be a time for hanging out with your bandmates. On the other hand, if you just wanted to hang out, you could hang out anywhere. Have your hang out time be after you're done rehearsing, so you can be sure you get the main goal for meeting accomplished.

    Learn your parts for a song before rehearsal. If you're doing all originals, this becomes trickier. Especially, if you are in a band that writes together. Songwriting sessions should be times of creative wandering, but rehearsals should be much more disciplined. Write out the changes, or have someone do it for you before rehearsal. Send out or get recordings, even if it's just a riff or vocals over strummed chords. Communicate any song notes such as feel, tempo, etc. prior to rehearsal if possible.
    If you are in a cover band, there's no reason you can't learn it from a recording/chart/whatever before you rehearse. Even if it is an original arrangement, learning the changes beforehand will save a lot of time. Learn the melody line as well to help you understand the changes and structure of the song. Once you do this, adapting to an original arrangement of a cover will be much simpler.

    Know what you are going to do at rehearsal. You'd be amazed at how much dead air, and how much time is wasted on just figuring out what to play. Get a list of songs to work on, as well as any notes for feels, tempo changes, etc. prior to rehearsal. At the end of rehearsal, you should know what you need to work on for the next rehearsal. Have a goal for what you want to accomplish, and the more detailed the better.

    I've been in bands that took 2/week practice for months to get 30 songs down, and bands that get 20 done in one rehearsal. Aside from musical abilities, a thoughtfully organized rehearsal maximizes the limited time you have available. The more you rehearse the better, but you'll only get better at what you rehearse. If you rehearse noodling around, wasting time, arguing, or whatever that's what you'll perfect.
  11. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    There's a lot of great advice from both Jive and Joe. Practice shouldn't be so disiplined that it's like walking into the military, but it should have direction and everyone should know what is to be expected.

    During the week, we usually e-mail/call each other to discuss songs/ideas for practice. That way, everyone knows exactly what to do for practice. We also try to take care of any band politics, such as booking, through e-mail. (we usually e-mail everyone the message, so noone is left out) Sometimes issues must be taken care of in real time, so we discuss those at practice.

    Unless you are getting material together to begin gigging, there is no reason why a cover band should practice more than once a week. And unless you are doing Dream Theater covers, there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to put together a whole set in 2 practices.
  12. SuperSluggard


    Jan 2, 2004
    During the summer, about 18 hours a week.
  13. basser47


    Jul 10, 2004
    I just wanted to say that practicing everyday yourself is perfect and no more than 2 times a week with the band. As far as getting on peoples nerves only ask once if they want to jam together and then if they say no stop asking for a while. If the band wants to practice then go practice....If one member wants to practice then find a friend
  14. basser47


    Jul 10, 2004
    Check your private messages man! Lol :bassist: