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How often do you need to rehearse?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by great bleudini, May 28, 2012.

  1. great bleudini

    great bleudini

    Sep 19, 2011
    Tucson, AZ
    How often does your band need to rehearse to get a set down? I have joined forces with a singer - guitar player. He has a couple sets of originals. I like his style of playing and the songs are great too. We play with a drummer, but he is more of a fill in than a permanent member. I have recordings of the songs that I play along with to prepare for rehearsal. The BL is of the opinion we need to play as often as we can. I have a family and full time job so my time is precious to me. I think I can nail my parts on my own time and once a week should be enough for the band to put it together. Especially now since we are still formative and have no gigs lined up. (maybe an open mic in a week or so) I kind of think the BL likes to get out and hang with the boys, which is fun but I can't do three nights a week. What say you?
  2. throughthefire


    Oct 1, 2010
    Once a week, if we have new songs to learn...
  3. In your situation, once a week should suffice. If everyone comes in prepared, it's just a matter of fine tuning.

    Beware bandmates who insist on over-rehearsing and pouring unusual amounts of time into rehearsing. There is usually some ulterior motive at play.
  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    There's no single answer to this, as it depends on many factors.

    How experienced are the musicians?
    Are you writing material?
    Do people do their "homework"?
    How complicated are the songs?
    How often do the other band members WANT to, or feel they NEED to practice?

    Lots of other stuff too.

    In reality, if everyone is experienced and you're playing the songs as recorded you can do a show with no rehearsals at all. 1 rehearsal is always a good idea to make sure everyone is on the same page, 2 rehearsals is preferred by most, but there's no rules and it's going to be different for every band.

    Unless we're writing, or working on really tough stuff with backing vocals, lots of changes, etc. I like going with the minimum to no rehearsals. Most important thing however is whether or not people are putting time in by themselves to make sure they've got everything down. Some musicians like to work their parts out in the studio. That's fine if everyone agrees, but I won't work with those people any more. I think it wastes everyone elses time, and paying for the studio, money.
  5. LuckyPants


    Mar 7, 2008
    Really? Like what?
  6. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    We did one rehearsal with a new guitarist and drummer before heading out on this tour. I'll let you know how it goes, tomorrow night's the first show.
  7. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Original band here. We never rehearse our sets. Our rehearsals are only about writing new material and practicing our newest of the new songs.
  8. bluewine

    bluewine Inactive

    Sep 4, 2008
    Only when we have new material.
  9. bluewine

    bluewine Inactive

    Sep 4, 2008
    They like playing rock star, but only in the basement and have no interest in real gigging.
  10. In my experience, band leaders who insist on spending inordinate amounts of time rehearsing can sometimes be hard-to-please perfectionists with a neurotic and unrealistic fear of failure, or they consider rehearsing a social function, lack other social endeavors, and expect the same from their band members.
  11. Yes, I've experienced this.
  12. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    How often do I need to rehearse? Maybe once or twice for a cover gig, but I'd rather do none. I can get alot from talking to someone on the phone about arrangements, tempos, keys, etc., and what I don't get, I can get from either on-stage communication, my ear, knowledge, or charts. But as far as the band, it depends on the players and material.

    I don't believe in focusing on the number or frequency of rehearsals as I do on the goals and tasks accomplished by rehearsal. You can get as much or more accomplished by an efficient 2 hour rehearsal once a month than 3 4 hour rehearsals a week if there is focus and identifiable tasks to be accomplished. IME, rehearsals without direction tend to have time wasted. That's why I think it's important to have a direction for your rehearsal, such as tightening up these 5 songs for the video shot next weekend, come up with some ideas for the bridge of the song we're working on, or working on these parts of these songs that were flubbed at the last gig.

    I believe every band needs to have stated goals for rehearsal so that you set up expectations that will hopefully guide behavior. If rehearsal is just an excuse to get together and jam, that's a valid goal. No need for someone to learn songs like there's a gig next week, when that's not even a goal. No need to sacrifice family or work time when the goal is just to let loose and have fun. But if the goals are to sound good, write songs, prepare for gigs, band meetings, preparing promo material, etc. then you need to have some actions to be done at rehearsal to make it happen, otherwise those goals are just dreams.

    I also think it's very important for the band to be on the same page in regards to rehearsal or else there's going to be issues and lots of frustration involved. If someone uses rehearsal as a time to learn the song, and someone expects the material to be learned before-hand, frustration will occur. If someone views rehearsal as a "night out" and another views it as a work session, frustration will occur. If someone needs more rehearsal to learn the material than others, frustration will occur. If someone goofs around, is chronically late, or cancels alot, frustration will occur. The key for making rehearsals work is to be on the same page about it.
  13. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Since, I admittedly don't like to rehearse often, I like to make each one as efficient as possible. Here's my tips for an efficient rehearsal.
    - Have at least one person organize rehearsal, and lead it.
    - Organize the rehearsal at least a week ahead of time. Answer the 5 Ws. What is being worked on? Who is going the be there? When is it going to be? Where is it held? Why are we working on this.
    - Give out recordings, charts, links, etc of the material you will be working on ahead of time, preferably with enough time that the folks in band can learn them considering their talent level.
    - Don't be afraid to communicate prior to rehearsal about the material so that you can be better prepared upon arrival.
    - Get the resources to learn and practice on their own, whether it's books, recordings, drum loops, charts, sequenced arrangements, BPM counts, lyrics, whatever that will let you learn the material without the whole band being there.
    - Don't make it a habit of listening to the recording at rehearsal. It's one of my pet peeves because it often means that someone didn't even listen to the recording prior, which doesn't take that much effort. I can understand playing through a passage to verify what it is if the band is stuck, but doing it all the time is a waste of time.
    - Use a white board or easel or chalk board, or whatever to write notes for people to see. You can use it to write chord progressions, song lists, agendas, etc. It helps people visualize, remember, and focus.
    - Everyone takes notes. I don't care if you will only throw away the piece of paper on the way home, the act of writing it alone will help place it into your memory.
    - Don't major in the minors. Don't have a 45 minute discussion about whether a Bb or F would sound better in that passage, just pick one and move on. If it takes longer than 10 minutes to hammer out, then shelve it for the next one and give people time to think and work on it.
    - Before everyone goes home, make a plan for the next rehearsal and then have the one organizing rehearsals e-mail the agenda for next week along with the recordings, charts, etc.
    - Open rehearsal with a song that's easy for the band to pull off. It gets people warmed up, loose, confident, and ready for more challenging material. End rehearsal with one of the band's favorite songs. End on a good note, and remind why people are doing this and look forward to the next one.
  14. troy mcclure

    troy mcclure Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    Central Florida
    My current cover band have rehearsed 10 times and we have played about 60 gigs in the last 7 months. We get together 1x a month to add 5 songs and work on problem spots and
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I play in an agency band with a bandleader who wants to rehearse far more often than any of the rest of the musicians think necessary. This is a band full of veteran players who regularly play in similar situations with no rehearsal.

    The last rehearsal was about as pointless as I've seen. I had a scheduling conflict so I couldn't make the last gig. So this rehearsal was called so we could go over the songs the substitute bassist had issues with.

    I'm not making this up. We didn't play a note, we discussed the "problem songs", which we had no problems playing when I'm there. We could've done a conference call or group email.

    IME excess rehearsals are for people who don't do their homework and/or lack confidence, either in themself or the people they're working with. If everyone holds up their end, they're largely unnecessary IME. "If".
  16. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    Firstly and foremostly, rehearsal habits must yield positive dividends. Unfortunately, you can't assess this until you have taken a band from rehearsals to the stage.

    Some players rehearse brilliantly and intensely only to go blank on stage. It's one of the most discouraging things you can ever experience as a band member, the equivalent of an athlete not being able to win the big one. Players like this won't get over the hump with any amount of rehearsal.

    In the end it all depends on the needs and abilities of the players, how elaborate the music and the show are, and finally what you're trying to net from the rehearsal.

    Choose your bandmates well. Make sure you can cast your lot with gamers, not wannabes.
  17. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    So, once a week is more than enough with new material to learn with a family and full-time career that isn't music. :)
  18. It depends partly on the experience level of those involved, and partly on what the goals are. A working cover band, IMHO, shouldn't need to practice more than once every 1-2 weeks once the band is up and running. Maybe even less if the band is gigging regularly. Practices at that point should revolve around adding new material and nailing down any "issues" in existing songs.

    I used to be in a band that was supposed to be a working cover band. We were practicing twice a week...Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons. At first I was OK with this, as we were just coming together and nailing down the songs, but after a while it got pretty old. I do not consider myself to be a grizzled gigging veteran, but I didn't need to be rehearsing the same songs ad nauseum, week after week. Inevitably when a band has to practice this much, it's because one or two people aren't doing their homework. That was the case with that band, as the two lead singers were neophytes who didn't grasp the concept of practicing on their own.
  19. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Like others have said, it probably amounts to the only socializing some people get so they want to milk it for all its worth. For example, in my last (cover) band, the drummer would not play a newly added song until we practiced it for several months. We were gigging consistently but we did not add a new song in almost a year because we couldnt get everyone on board with enough rehearsals.

    At first I was scratching my head but then it made sense...we practiced at the drummers house, he was divorced and kind of a hired gun electrician that didnt work 9-5, 5 days a week, and by the end of a practice, he was sauced up pretty good on wine. So of course he like to practice. Not adding new material because we "didnt get enough practice" led to the demise of the band.
  20. A couple of times a year... if:

    - Everyone practices the songs on their own, almost daily
    - You gig at least 2-3 times a month

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