Articles Do The Tighten Up - Rehearsal Etiquette

Do The Tighten Up - Rehearsal Etiquette

posted: 03/09/09 @ 05:43:pm

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Do The Tighten Up – Rehearsal Etiquette


Etiquette—for some, the word evokes images of sipping tea, pinky in the air, making polite conversation with a visiting clergyman in the parlor while listening to Mozart; but when you get into rehearsal mode, a little etiquette can make the difference between keeping everything running smoothly, and having to find a new drummer every other week.

Typically, bands spend hours and hours rehearsing, and much of that time is wasted. Not the “hang time”, I’m talking about the accumulated hours spent waiting for the lead singer to show up, listening to the guitar player wank through his latest Dimmu Borgir riff, watching the drummer unpack his kit from the last show, sitting around while the bass player searches for a 9-volt battery. Imagine how much better your music would sound if you put all that time into playing.

This is not a rule book, just plain old common sense. If everyone gets with the program, you’ll accomplish a lot more, and avoid a lot of negativity.


1)   Be on time – Yeah, I know, you’re a busy person, it’s tough to stay on schedule. You know how bent you get waiting for the drummer? Now you know what they’re thinking about you when you’re late. Be ready to go at the scheduled rehearsal time—which means get there early.

2)   Have your shit together – If you have to bring in gear, make sure you’ve got what you need. Would you show up to a gig without a cable or extra strings? If your gear is already there, make sure it’s set up, and working properly—sound check to get your tone and levels, and tune up.

3)   Be prepared – Don’t you hate sitting around waiting for someone to get their part together? Don’t let that be you—practice at home and show up with your parts ready to go.

4)   No noodling – So, you’re trying to talk to the bass player about a transition from the verse to the chorus, and the guitar player takes that as an opportunity to work on “Eruption.” WTF? Sure, you get pissed off, but how many times have you used a break in the action to work out your licks? When someone is trying to talk about the music, quit fucking noodling and let them talk!

5)   Cell phones off – These days, people think it’s perfectly okay to take a call anywhere—at work, school, on a date, at your therapy appointment—at least try to make your band practice a priority. Put it on vibrate, if it’s really an emergency (which doesn’t include your girlfriend reminding you to pick up Micky D’s on the way home) deal with it, pick up your calls on a break. And, no texting!


While most of these suggestions seem ridiculously obvious, it’s surprising how many people never consider them. A little rehearsal etiquette will keep band attitudes on the good foot, help you accomplish more and develop a pro mindset.