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Practice time how much?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bassbully43, Feb 9, 2006.


  1. bassbully43

    bassbully43

    Jul 1, 2005
    Sorry if this has been covered before ..a search didnt get me any answers.The new guitarist my band brought in has been with us about 1 -1/2 months. I thought everything was going well until he started going off on the band for not practicing enough to be ready to play out. He said his old band practiced 5 days a week! Our band practices once a week for 4 hours, we would all like to do more but we are married over 40 with families...this dude has a girlfriend and no kids living with him...and no job ..so he has all the time in the world. We do get in an extra practice now and then and will throw in an extra before we gig. How offen do your bands Practice? We are a cover band and homework is required (practice) but life gets in the way if you know what i mean.I told this dude to practice at home and only play the songs we do and he will be fine. I do every once in a while have a freeze up at practice when a song is called out we have not played together in a while ...is this normal? I know the song but since we havent played it in a while forget the intro or timing for a bar or two...maybe more band practice will help?
     
  2. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    My band practices one night a week, for about four hours as well.

    We all practice our individual parts on our own time and just use the "Band" rehearsal time to put it all together.

    If a cover band requires rehearsals five nights a week, then you guys should either be putting together twenty or so new songs a week, or your band is seriously disorganized...or extremely lacking in talent.

    We just learned five songs at our last practice...and they are all ready to play out. Done deal.

    I just joined this band a little over a month ago and I had to learn about 60 songs in a week and a half. I had to put some serious time in on my own...but the entire band still only rehearsed twice before my first gig with them.

    It sounds to me like your guitarist just wants to live the life of a full time musician...on the rest of the band's family schedule. Not cool IMHO.

    All of us, in my band, are over 40, have kids and there is no way in hell we'd ever get together that often. And there is no reason to either. If we can put together five songs in one night's rehearsal...what's the point of the other four nights?

    If your guitar player needs that much "Band" rehearsal time, perhaps he needs to put in extra practice time on his own time...or he either needs a girlfriend or an extra hobby to occupy his time. Or, maybe you could give him more band work...i.e.- have him do more booking, promotion, networking, checking out new gear, etc. You know, some band functions that maybe the rest of you don't have time for, so he'd feel useful and it would occupy his time with band things without it infringing on your family time. FAMILY comes first...NO exceptions. Any guitar player that tells me the band is more important than my family is asking for trouble.

    Whether you are a cover band or not...Every musician in the band needs to put in the time on their own until they have their parts down cold. Not being ready when the band rehearses is VERY unprofessional (and musicians need to be professional, even if they play in a part time cover band).
     
  3. txbasschik

    txbasschik

    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    I really think that five days a week is excessive, even for an all-original band of people who don't have to have day jobs.

    My band practices on Sunday afternoons, for 3-5 hours at a time. Everyone is expected to do individual practice the rest of the week. My husband's band practices twice a week, sometimes once a week, for 3-4 hours at a time.

    Most folks in my band have day jobs, or are in school, or have kids at home, or a combination of those. We couldn't maintain a 5x/week schedule if you held a gun to our heads.

    That guy needs to go find himself a bunch of young guys with no responsibilities, who can do that. He may be hard-pressed, because most bands I know don't practice that often.

    Cherie
     
  4. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Yes, most anyone would be hard pressed to find a band that practices that much (as a band).

    Even when I played full time and toured the whole country (we are talking lifetimes ago), we still didn't practice every single day.

    Of course we played so much that there either wasn't enough time, or the playing was the practicing (like playing five night in a row, regularly). We literally lived out of the band bus, and we all practiced our own instruments...on our own.

    I just can't see a cover band practicing five nights a week without getting burnt out on it. No amount of practice will guarantee a "perfect" night anyway.

    You gotta keep it fun too. Otherwise it just becomes another job. Time off helps keep perspective on things, and also makes the music a bit more "fresh" and spontaneous.
     
  5. bassbully43

    bassbully43

    Jul 1, 2005
    I agree and also think the time away from the band makes the time we are together better...i am itching to play by the time friday comes around. If we could practice more it would be 1 more time a week...anymore would be burnout and divorce. This lineup is struggling a wee bit on getting out of the basement but we also want to be as sharp as possible and are shooting for the spring. I feel are guitarist is bored sitting around and is complaining about something we have no control over. I like our practices the way we are and we learned 4 songs in the last practice as well as polished up on others.We just got offered to do two openers with a band i know in a real cool club....so we better get ready first one is in April. Thanks for the replies and its good to know others like yourselves are doing it on 1 practice a week. Sun ..whats the tip on learning 60 songs in a week :eek: Good God!
     
  6. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Actually it was a week...and a half. ;)

    A lot of dedication...and the Tascam CD-BT1MKII CD Bass trainer.

    [​IMG]

    With that handy little device I can practice anytime, anywhere and not be bothered, or bother anyone else. It's got a built in bass amp and CD player. I never have to retune my bass for each song as I can change the pitch of the recording with two buttons, without changing tempo, and I can easily and quickly loop sections that I need extra work on (again, just two buttons). Hit a button at the beginning of the section, hit the button again at the end of it and it just keeps looping that part. Once you got that part nailed, hit the button one more time and it just goes back to playing the whole song again.

    I plug my bass and a pair of headphones in and play along with the CD.

    Here's a link to my thread on it...

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=223410

    With that thing, I could learn songs so fast, and best part was I'd get up at 5:00AM and practice quietly for an hour before getting the kids up for school. I gained an extra five hours a week of practice time, because without it, even playing at low volumes through my practice amp would wake up my baby girl. I could have played through headphones, but then I wouldn't hear the CD on my stereo. This thing saved my butt big time!!! And I could practice right in the living room while the family was watching TV, and they couldn't hear me, and I couldn't hear them, yet we were together. :D

    I've even brought it to band rehearsals where we all played along with the CD (as it has a line out to send to a PA or monitor mix), but we learned it in a different key. Just hit a button and dial up (or down) the key we wanted, without changing the tempo...without us having to retune...and we just play along. Of course, for real fast parts, you can slow down the tempo without changing the pitch too.

    I also brought it to the first couple of gigs and quickly ran through the songs in peace and quiet before each set, without anyone knowing what I was doing.

    It is an awesome piece of practice equipment for only $150.
     
  7. txbasschik

    txbasschik

    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    <<<Tascam CD-BT1MKII CD Bass trainer>>>

    OMG!!! I MUST HAVE ONE OF THESE!!! I could practice in the break room. I could practice while my lil gal watches Disney. I could practice while my son and husband kill video-game terrorists. I could practice when I get up at 2 a.m. and can't go back to sleep.

    I know what I am asking ol' Santa for this year. Christmas may come early, too! ;-)

    Cherie :)
     
  8. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    The CD Bass Trainer has completely changed the way (and the amount of time I can dedicate to) practice!!!

    Especially for those of us with kids. Kids are fighting? So what? Let them beat the snot out of each other to sort it out, while you sort out that complex bass part in peace. My 8 month old daughter woke me up at 2 AM one morning and I couldn't get back to sleep. I practiced for 4 hours, with nobody even knowing I was up.

    I even brought it to work one day knowing I had a bunch of computer installs to do and while the installs ran, I practiced in quiet...and nobody gets bothered.

    It has an EQ section and you can boost your bass, or the CD's bass, or cut the bass on either one too. It has an accurate, built-in tuner as well. It has the standard CD player functions with fast forward and rewind, etc.

    About the only thing it doesn't have is a "record" function...but with the line out you could easily send it to a recording device.

    I don't know how I've managed to practice all these years without it. To me, it's a must have.
     
  9. xonebass

    xonebass

    Feb 17, 2005
    Orange, CA
    Back on the original topic, I agree that anything more than 2 or 3 nights a week is excessive - for an original band. Twice a week is sufficient for our band and you can judge the results for yourself at our site (all live).

    For a cover band?

    My uncle's cover band which is totally awesome almost never practices :eek: except at the gig! They each learn the tunes on their own and since they do their homework at home they can come in and play it right without practicing together at all nearly every time. Some harder tunes they get together to work on. In total they have 1 or 2 nights where they get together on a monthly basis and work on tunes (when they aren't gigging).

    This guy sounds like he has too much time on his hands. Tell him to start his own original band (with a different group of guys) or find some other projects to work in. I've known guys who were in three bands and juggling several different projects at a time and they still work part-time!
     
  10. txbasschik

    txbasschik

    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    What a wonderful device! I'm going to save up and get one. With something like this, I can increase my skill level very quickly. My band will dissolve by July of this year. Singer must move back to Cali to care for ailing, elderly parents, so I will be "on the market" again this summer. With this unit, I can make myself much more desirable for area bands. Gotta get one!

    Cherie :)
     
  11. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    It should make you feel more confident that you can learn a lot of songs fast. In case you get a call from a band on short notice, you won't have to feel that your time to learn new ones is so limited.

    And...sorry if I went a bit off topic here...but this unit can be of use to those that feel they need to rehearse more, but can't find the time due to family contraints. It is a big help for band rehearsals when the whole group wants to pick up songs quickly that will be played in a key that's different than the band tuning. So it's still kind of on-topic. :D
     
  12. txbasschik

    txbasschik

    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    Its very on-topic, I think. I recently turned down an opportunity to be in a very good blues band. They wanted to practice more often than I am able to. Plus, they're up in Killeen, and that's a big drive, after I already drove into the city for work. If I'd had one of these, I prolly could have talked the guy into taking me on.

    Cherie
     
  13. The guitarist in question in the original post sounds like a loser. Not married, no job...I assume his girlfriend is supporting him with her job??? Sounds like his goals might be different from the rest of the band.

    Five practices a week is completely unreasonable. Our band practices about once a week on Friday nights, usually, about four hours. That is plenty of time to touch up most of your setlist songs, learn a couple new ones, and get everyone on the same page for the next gig or practice.
     
  14. txbasschik

    txbasschik

    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    Yes, much can be accomplished with individual practice. For originals, I use old-fashioned cassette tapes. I tape our practices, then I can go over the originals accurately in between band practice sessions.

    Yep...no reason that guy can't go start another project, since he's got so much time.

    Cherie
     
  15. Currently my band is practicing 4 days a week for about 2 hours at a time. That is alot in my opinion, but right now it is needed. We're frantically trying to get solid with a brand new drummer (been with us for less than 2 weeks), and we've got 23 or so original songs to prepare by the 2nd of March. So in this instance I think that amount of practice is acceptable. Under normal circumstances where you're working up the occasional new tune or just trying to keep rust from forming on the music. Once or twice a week is fine, but only as long as everybody is practicing on their own daily. I tend to think once practice is no longer fun then you're doing too much of it.
     
  16. bassbully43

    bassbully43

    Jul 1, 2005
    WeLLLLLLLLL...yes you could say that. He spent a good time in prison but has been doing well (out for 3 years). He has no money and a crap amp. Our guitarist repaired it and its somewhat better now but the rest of us have pro gear or close to it. He trys hard and is a pretty cool guy but i dont like someone telling the band they just joined how to run the show. We have a hard time finding a solid ryth-lead guitarist and he did impress us in his try-out. I guess we will see what happens at this weeks practice, see what his attitude is like. The other problem is the 4 of us the band before he came in....are tight ...singer,lead guitar,drummer and me i would like to go to a 3 piece for our music. The guys dont want to they are stuck on having a second guitarist in the band although it has been a trouble spot..the last one a kid but good player walked out and we never heard from him again. Both the kid and the player i spoke of here didnt drive ...i picked them up and took them home...had crap equipment...our guitarist repaired it for them and one walked and the other is close.:spit: I wish we would change our songlist and go 3 G-D-B and singer...us 4 are very dedicated ,work, have cars ,money and desire to play...sorry just venting and i will check out one of those trainers they are to cool.
     
  17. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Wow...that certainly cleared some things up.

    BEFORE you do anything else, you guys need to find some direction to go in, and come up with a plan to get there. It appears that you guys are all over the place with regards to even something as basic as the what the group is and who needs to be in it.

    If I were you, I'd sit down with the core group you want to be together and have a long discussion about the direction you want the band to head in. Since you all work and have families, maybe have a family get together and invite them all over.

    Then TALK!!! If you don't get your direction figured out, all the practice in the world will be of no benefit. Figure out who you are as a band first.
     
  18. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    We haven't gigged out yet, so take this for what it's worth. We practice for about three to four hours once a week. We also individually do our homework.

    We're a mix of originals and covers; we do a lot of blues and old standards, so it's not like we're trying to nail any heavy-lifting jazz stuff or whatever.

    Happened to me for a while on songs we didn't go over frequently enough. Just running through all your songs every so often will help. You don't have to "practice" them, just play 'em through to keep them fresh in your mind. You can also use that as an opportunity to see how set order "feels" or work on transitions between songs, if you care about that sort of stuff.

    The trick I use: I wrote up a "cheat sheet" I lay on top of my rig. It has all our songs in alphabetical order, the keys they're in, and anything special I need to remember about the intro/ending/bassline.

    When someone calls out a song, if I don't immediately recall the details, a quick glance at the sheet will refresh my memory.

    I usually remember, but with as many blues numbers as we do, sometimes it's tough to recall if a particular song is straight I-IV-V 12 bar or if it has a quick turn or only a quick turn on the solos or if we start on the V or... well, you get the idea. :)

    I also find that looking at/reading the details helps set the memory for me.

    Hope this is of some help!

    'rick
     
  19. spectorbass83

    spectorbass83

    Jun 6, 2005
    canada
    my old band practiced twice/week for about 2 hours. the new band is a sinking ship...it seems like 50% of the band is commited and the rest are too busy..I would like to be practicing twice a week but right now this is not the case.
     
  20. bassbully43

    bassbully43

    Jul 1, 2005
    Thanks, I think the core group the 4 of us are grounded. We want to be giging by early spring,getting a good set list together and play out at least 2 times a month possibly more if we can. We are into the music not the money and have just bought a PA in case clubs dont have one. We are very driven and serious....but the old band had a second guitarist before i joined but he left. The rest of the band is stuck that we need a second guitarist and i dont really agree. They think it will limit us and make us a blues band insted of a classic rock band. I disagree but ..yea i need to talk to them about it some more. You guys are great thanks for all the help!