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How often should a band practice?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by MCT, May 28, 2005.


  1. MCT

    MCT

    Apr 11, 2005
    I'm really having problems with how often my band practices. We get one or two 40 min. practices during the week. I really don't think that's enough. We also play regularly so I was wondering how often does your band practice, and/or how often should one practice?
     
  2. Usually every Thursday, for 3 hours a pop. We've shut down for the exam period though so we can all concentrate on revision.
     
  3. Getting started you need to put in more time, but if you're already playing out, 2-3 hours a week is more than enough.

    Pass out tunes on cd this week to learn by next week, you can knock out 4-5 songs a week easy.

    If you try to learn songs on the fly at practice, you won't get much done. The answer isn't to waste more time band practicing together, its get more efficient at the time you are already spending at practice. Do your homework at home, not at practice.

    Randy
     
  4. We practice every saturday....sometimes 6, 7 hours....sometimes 2, 3...But I think its a neccessaty for band to meet at least once a week though...
     
  5. At very least once a week, usually 2 times a week, for 5 hours or more. We usually take a good 20 minute break halfway, though. Not much chatting between practicing songs, either. We get a lot of work done!
     
  6. I think a band can get away with practicing once a week, if it's for at least 2 or 3 hours during that time. Everyone needs to do practicing at home on their own. You need to have a plan too...don't go to practice asking each other "OK...what song should we do now? Do you know this one?" etc. Practice with the band should be time to nail songs down...maybe work on originals if you need to...but if it's just covers, everyone should be able to get their parts down on their own time.

    Personally I would love if our band could practice more than once a week, but given we all have full time jobs, families and such, it would be impossible.
     
  7. che990

    che990

    Feb 19, 2005
    Suffolk,England
    The band i'm currently in doesn't really have a set day or time schedulde, we jus work around what's best for us which ussually means a nine or eight hour practise over two days we jus camp out in the garage/rehearsal room seems to work a charm we recorded some good stuff in there :)
     
  8. Jeb

    Jeb

    Jul 22, 2001
    USA
    Soooo true. When all members adhere to that philosophy, rehearsals are almost always very productive and you can get alot of work done in a flash. If all members would be disciplined enough to spend at least an hours worth of preparation for every hour spent at band practice, well I guess you'd all 'find the sound' pretty quick.

    The difference is amateur vs. professional as far as quality.
     
  9. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    It's been in my experience that there's usually an inverse relationship between the amount of gigs a band is playing and how often they get together for practice. Gigs are where a band gets its tightest. My current band gigs just about every week, and I think the last rehearsal we had was sometime in February (it also doesn't help that all four of us live in different counties, so geography can be a problem sometimes). It's not uncommon for us to agree upon a song to learn, go home and learn our individual parts/vocal harmonies, and then throw it together up on stage the next week. There are a few songs we want to learn though that are going to require us to tighten them up in a rehearsal before attempting them at a gig.

    Obviously learning/writing original music is going to require a different practice approach than covers.
     
  10. kilgoja

    kilgoja

    May 26, 2005
    Alabama
    it really depends on how much time you have and how many gigs you have....if you're playing 3 gigs a week you don't really have a lot of time to practice but if it's once a week you do.....2-3 times a week is good for about 1-2 hours each time....anymore and you start to burn out because band members don't have any time for anything else...especially if some of them have girl/boy friends or if they are married...or have kids and stuff....if once a week is all you can manage then do that...it really depends on everyones availability
     
  11. We go every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from about 4-7. Sometimes we'll practice for a few hours one day on the weekend (although weekend practices are more laid back and we BBQ and jam for the most part, not really working on our material).
     
  12. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    Once a month MAX. We gig regularly and that seems to be enough.
     
  13. protoz

    protoz

    Nov 30, 2000
    Iowa
    At least once a week for 2-4 hours typically then we all hang out afterwards. We practice more before gigs just so we can touch up on something if we need to or make last second tweaks.
     
  14. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    We never rehearse. Never have. We live far apart from each other. The guitarist and drummer play in other bands that take them all over Switzerland, so availability is always an issue. Add to that, the guitarist has 27 students, the drummer 11 students and I travel frequently with my day job.

    But beyond all of that, we don't think it's necessary. We're a cover band. You either know the material or you don't. Plus, rehearsing is no guarantee of not having any train wrecks.

    Playing it cold forces you stay on top of what's happening as you're playing. We've done a dozen or so gigs and can sometimes go 3-4 months without seeing each other. I will add that these guys have been playing together for 10 years. They're from the states and toured Europe for seven years playing 7 nights a week. They have their chops down.

    The english music culture in the Geneva area is pretty much the same. There's a network of 10 or so guys that have all been playing 20+ years each. All good players. We all freelance. Throw togther bands for gigs is common place. I have three such gigs in June, freelancing, and three more in July. Different musicians. No rehearsing. It's all standards. I think if we were doing more unique stuff, we would make the effort, but availability is always an issue.

    Prior to moving here, my experience had been to commit to a steady practice schedule, tearing apart songs, learning parts, etc. Then writing out setlists. Here, we don't even do setlists, prefering to gauge the crowd and pick the right tunes on the fly. It makes for an interesting gig when you are not used to it, trust me. But what I've learned is that you need know the material well.

    The big upside to all of it is that I get to do just the fun stuff: gig.
     
  15. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    The one band I have played in that played all original music, no covers, rehearsed three hours five or six days a week for months. It just took that much effort to develop enough songs to play a gig and we kept changing the songs and arrangements, lyrics, personnel and experimenting with new ideas.

    When I look back on that long spell of preparing, I have to say I really enjoyed it tremendously because it was such a creative experience. Plus I was very fortunate to be in a group that had that much time to spare and was so dedicated that they werew illing to spend the time getting our music right.
     
  16. That would be nice, but how many bands realistically have that much time to dedicate to practice (you indicated about 15-20 hours a week)? I assume you were in school at the time?
     
  17. GSPLBASSDC

    GSPLBASSDC

    Jan 25, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    We practice every Saturday @ 3:30 and go for about 2 - 3 hours.

    New music is always first, and then we correct any problems from the gig the night before and tune up for Saturday night's gig...works well for us 'cause everything is fresh in our minds.
     
  18. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Might be overkill, but I'm a fan of 2-3 times a week, 2-3 hours a practice. I generally like to get in 6 hours of practice a week, give or take (more if possible), depending on gigs.

    Of course, to be fair, of those 2-3 times a week, the first half of practice was playing all the tunes in the set (doing originals, you can get away with that). Tightens up the band real quick and keeps them tight when you get to the point that it's all rote muscle memory, and then you keep playing, even then.

    Now, if I was going to do a cover gig, I'd expect the band to know what was up, and get together once a week to run through the rarer tunes in the set. The ones you don't play at every gig, all day, everyday. Those ones should be a snap; practice the ones that might throw the band for a loop if they didn't dust them off once in a while.

    But, that's me.
     
  19. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    How about some more background information? What kind of music are you playing, how experienced are you, etc? 40 minutes, twice a week, sounds like quite a limited amount of practise but if you're all at the same school and it's free use of the music room during the lunch break I can see that it would have its attractions.

    One of the most important questions is not how much you practise but whether it's enough for your needs. If your gigs go fairly smoothly and you get through enough new material to keep you fresh, then what you're doing is probably good. If you feel you're underperforming, more time together might help (as would focusing on the problems and figuring out how to overcome them). If everyone else in the group is happy, perhaps you should look at joining a second band or spending more time on your personal practise regime.

    Wulf
     
  20. Juniorkimbrough

    Juniorkimbrough

    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Couldn't agree with you more!

    Our band's first practice in over a month was last night due to guitar player getting married and waiting to get a new PA in.....and it was terrible, IMO we didn't get jack **** accomplished.

    For the past two weeks I've been practicing at home with recordings we've done at our rehearsal room, just brushing up on tunes and such. Well for the 3 hours we were at practice we played about 5 songs.....we did take an hour or so to setup the new PA and get all the levels set. But some folks in our band feel the need to always break out into some song they know but noone else does and everyone else just sits there and kinda looks at each other......and then they laugh and talk about how much they love that song. It's irritating to say the least, especially when we haven't practiced in over a month and we've got a freakin' gig in 3 days..... :scowl: