Articles Do The Tighten Up - How To Rehearse Your Band

Do The Tighten Up - How To Rehearse Your Band

posted: 03/09/09 @ 05:40:pm

Originally Published on 


Okay, after months of scouring Craigslist, music store bulletin boards, and the musician’s classified section in the local weekly alternative rag, you’ve finally assembled the personnel for your band. The pieces are in place; all that’s left is to start rehearsing so you can forge a concept into actual music. It’s an exciting place to be—filled with great expectations, the electric rush of sensing you’re on the verge of making a dream come to life, and the promise of sold out shows, adoring fans, and a whole messa dollahs. Now, if your band can only survive the rehearsal process…


It’s sad but true; many bands never make it through the hell fire of rehearsing. Egos, attitudes, personality conflicts, irresponsibility, incompetence, poor communication, schedules, day jobs, drugs, booze, significant others—the challenges seem endless. Getting a band through the early rehearsal stage is like raising a child—you know how most of us got fucked up before the age of 5? Our folks didn’t want to screw us up for life, they just didn’t know how not to. With a band, the initial rehearsal phase can set up a group dynamic that either kick-starts the creative process, or builds up resentments and bad vibes that never go away. The continued success of any band lies in their ability to maintain an effective rehearsal process. How do you want your rehearsal to run—like an inspirational gathering of friends with a shared purpose; or the outtakes from Some Kind Of Monster?

I’m not suggesting there is a single “right” way to rehearse; every band has it’s own structure and unique composition of people, each with their individual capabilities and personality traits. There are also different goals; are you rehearsing for your first showcase, a recording session, an audition for the Disney channel, or a reunion tour? While circumstances will vary, here are a few general ideas to start you thinking about more effective rehearsing:


1)   Stay focused – Time is precious. You can bullshit about your day job afterwards.

2)   Have a goal – What are you trying to accomplish? Think long-term, but also today.

3)   Be prepared - What are you going to play? Sure, jamming is an important part of getting it together, but unless your band is strictly improvisational, it helps to have some tunes ready to work on.

4)    Play nice – Yeah, lead guitarists are egotistical dicks, rhythm guitarists are frustrated lead guitarists, singers are prancing, uptight assholes, keyboard players are anal retentive theory geeks that can’t keep themselves from correcting everyone, bass players are brain-dead, drooling stoners that need to be reminded to breathe, and drummers are Neanderthal bone-heads that might have become hockey players if they could only skate backwards. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s all find a way to get along shall we? Otherwise, consider this band another failed attempt at stardom.


Over the next few columns, I’ll be discussing topics like rehearsal etiquette, communication, setting up your space, individual preparedness, time management, rehearsal styles, and building a killer set in more specific terms. Stick around.