Ideas on Finding Rehearsal / Practice Space?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Jonithen, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Jonithen


    Dec 3, 2012
    Seacoast NH
    Having taken some time off from my last horror show, I'm ready to give the whole "being in a band" thing another chance.

    There is nothing in my area that appeals. I've been looking since officially taking up residence in my new space roughly six months ago. I see no real sign of that changing, so rather than sit back and complain about the lack of opportunities, I'd try to make something happen.

    Being an apartment dweller, I have no real ability to host here at the home base. I've been trying to network, doing the craigslist thing and jumping into local area facebook groups to see if there was anyone offering practice space, willing to share practice space... I even got to the point where I was seriously considering taking out a commercial lease on some available units and sharing it but there's nothing but crickets, and staring down $12,000.00 minimum for a yearly lease is pretty daunting without having had so much as a nibble from what I was hoping would be a vibrant and creative community. Were there 3-4 other bands or prospective bands in the same situation, that could help shoulder the cost it would be a different story...

    Not actually having a place to put people is making it really difficult to get interested band members, and I can't say I blame anyone for that. I have a guitar player on deck who's really interested in getting together, but neither of us have the space to make it happen.

    I'm trying to hold out from just getting disillusioned with the entire prospect, some days it's harder than others. This is an entirely new undertaking for me so I'm not even really sure how or where to start.

    Do any of you have any thoughts on how to hunt out practice spaces?
  2. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Try talking to firehouses and other places with meeting halls. They might be willing to give some time in return for a free gig or two.
    garp likes this.
  3. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Many years ago, I was in a band that held evening rehearsals for about six months in a vacant commercial space in an industrial park. If my memory serves me correctly, one of the band members was friends with a real estate broker, so we didn't have to worry about executing a formal lease. Because the space was being shown to prospective tenants during the day, we weren't permitted to leave our gear there, and we had to leave the place absolutely spotless. But the landlord was thankful for some income, and because the other tenants were pretty much gone by 6PM on weekdays and completely absent during weekends, our noise didn't bother anyone.

    Don't know about your neck of the woods, but here in Southwestern Connecticut, the commercial real estate vacancy rate is currently hovering around 20%. That's a lot of unused space that's generating zero income. Might be worth chatting up some brokers to see if you can work out a deal. Good luck!
    Jimmy4string, DirtDog and JES like this.
  4. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Do you know anyone with connections to a church, private school, social club, etc. There's quite few possibilities if you are someone they feel they can trust.
  5. We used to practice at a smallish American Legion hall in return for playing a couple of gigs for them each year, did that for several years. The drummer had a connection with someone in the club and it went from there. Interestingly we showed up for practice on Wednesday evening just about the time the Cub Scout meeting was breaking up...
  6. I jsut did a google search for Seacoast New Hampshire and got Music Mill Rehearsal complex and Rutland studios.
    Seems to have good reviews.
  7. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    WA state
    The bigger question is why is space so hard to come by? Why are people so distrusting of having a band in their space? I face the same problems in any area I have lived.
  8. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    There might be a recording studio in your area that is willing to rent you the space for a few hours. Might be expensive, but if you could assemble a complete band and really organize an efficient audition/rehearsal, it might be worth your while in the long run. You could at least get things going. Also indicates your level of commitment...YMMV.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    The musician cliches from the 60s-80s haven't died down yet. Many, particularly older, people think that musicians will smoke (not just cigarettes), drink and get rowdy rather than just working on songs. They assume it will turn into a house party every time you rehearse.

    Most musicians I know are tame to the point of being pretty boring people actually. :D

    @Jonithen find yourself an accountant with a lobby in his office. Accountants are penny counters and will sometimes agree to unusual ways of making money. Approach them about setting up in their lobby to rehearse after hours and/or on weekends for a small rent fee each month...or per rehearsal.

    A band I was in once did this at a hair stylist's business too.

    If you guys are rockers, may be get up with a tattoo shop.

    Any business owner who can make some money while their business is closed might be swayed.

    That being said, too many rehearsals are for suckers. If your players can play, you can meet at your house to discuss a set list. Then you pick 15 songs per rehearsal to tighten up. One more rehearsal to run the whole show without stopping other than to run to the bathroom.

    If it takes more than half a dozen rehearsals to put together a show, your band will struggle.

    Now, if "rehearsal" for you is a social poker night with guitars....that's a different story. But if your only purpose for rehearsing is to prepare for actual gigs, do half a dozen and get out there. If your band isn't ready after half a dozen, there's a problem with the band.

    (I do shows on occasion where some guy calls and says "Hey me and Scott and Jason are playing a show at Stinky's Friday the 18th. You in?" If I agree, they shoot me a set list and we all show up on the 18th. No rehearsals at all. I have even found out the band's Name when I got there sometimes.)
  10. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Noise? Drugs? Mess? Financial responsibility?
    Luke19Boarder likes this.
  11. Jonithen


    Dec 3, 2012
    Seacoast NH
    Thanks everyone. It has been tough, but not quite enough to make me give up the idea. In the meanwhile, I'm hitting the old woodshed as hard as I can.

    The music mill's out. Unless my last band was BS'ing me, the spaces were $400 a month. It's too much for a place that far out (1.5 hour ride) when I don't even have any bandmates yet. Rutland studios is still a maybe but for whatever reason we keep playing phone and email tag and I can't get a number out of them. I don't really want to waste my time or theirs checking out the spot if the monthly bill makes it a non-starter.

    I was hoping that actually being able to put "I have a space to play" would help my recruiting efforts a little bit and appear more serious. Headphones here in the apartment aren't holding me up a whole lot, and if I found some other like minded folks we could get started although I'm not sure how a singer or drummer would be able to work in stealth mode here at the apartment (electric kit?).

    I haven't really worked out a timeline - I've been trying to get something started for over 6 months now and all I really have to show for it is a maybe interested guitarist so working out the number of rehearsals until performances is a little further down the road at least from where I'm thinking. My loose plan was to get some cool people together, figure out where interests align with the general direction I'd like to go, get a consensus on a song list, and start kicking faces.

    So I guess the purpose of the practice space is ultimately three fold - to have a place for the band to meet up, to work on material together, and to do the show prep. I wasn't really thinking about it in terms of being a private club to hang out and get away from the wife or whatever, I don't want to be a slave driver but I am hoping to get mature people that can have a good time together but still get things done without it going off the rails. I'm just trying to figure out how to get there without having to funnel too much cash into it before I have a better idea of whether it would work out. I wasn't expecting to get it for free.

    I guess I'm more surprised that there weren't at least a few local bands that would have been excited to share space and save some cash.

    When I catch up on sleep I'll put some of the suggestions into practice and see if I can get anywhere. I really do appreciate the replies.
  12. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    WA state
    That's the prime reason I avoid the rehearsal places. Paying their fees only results in the owners making a killing and your band having no money it needs to do the band stuff.
    LukeSlywalker likes this.
  13. A previous band I was in used to rent a climate controlled storage unit. We were just a trio so a 12x12 worked fine. Might be worth looking in to for your area
  14. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    WA state
    I just love being judged by the people renting out space before they even meet me then I guess.
  15. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    And JamHub.
  16. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Welcome to life. ;).

    But seriously, the noise in guaranteed. The rest? Reasonable assumptions.
  17. Jonithen


    Dec 3, 2012
    Seacoast NH
    If that works the way I'm hoping it will, I'm sold.
  18. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Yeah, for the kind of money you consider shelling out for renting rehearsal space, I'd get a digital mixer, a multi-channel headphone amp (instead of JamHub), and e-drums.
  19. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    VFW? Knights of Columbus?
  20. GBBSbassist

    GBBSbassist I actually play more guitar... Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2010
    Anyone who has ever rented a property for any reason can tell you that it's never as cut and dry as it should be. Realistically, it should be a "Don't mess up the place. Pay me X Dollars per month!" and done. Sadly it's not.

    I think that's why you'd be hard pressed to find any building owner or business renting out to a band unless the full building is designed for that.

    I live in the Chicago suburbs, so for me, there's no shortage of secure monthly or even hourly rehearsal spaces a short drive for me. If you don't live near a larger city, it might be tougher to find.

    I agree with the person who said, e-drums, digital mixer and headphone amp.
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