As people start gathering at each other’s houses and venues begin booking bands again, no doubt you’re going to want your band to shake off the dust, play off that rust, and begin practicing again. Maybe you wanna start jamming with your old buddies for the first time in years or the for first time ever.
It’s a good idea to take into consideration a couple of these suggestions to ensure that you can make the most of everyone’s time, especially as we find ourselves having less and less time to spare.
Here are some band practice tips and strategies for before and during rehearsal.
BEFORE YOU GET THE BAND BACK TOGETHER
1. Do a line check of your equipment/Make sure everyone else does, too
It’s easy and fun to just gather in the basement or garage, plug on in, and start jamming loosely or freely, but in my experience, every time I let my equipment sit in storage for a period of time, there’s always something that may need to be fixed or replaced. You can’t get very far if your bassist’s amp is buzzing and the batteries in your distortion pedal are dead.
Plug all your electronics in and play them before going to practice. Even acoustic guitars can have batteries that can die and kill your signal.
2. Get a guitar set-up/Change strings/Drum heads
Before planning the date of the practice, schedule a set-up with your local luthier, or do it yourself if you have the skill set and tools. No one wants to show up to practice with a guitar that is in tune at the 3rd fret and absolutely wrecked at the 12th fret.
One time at practice a guitarist came and broke a string on the first song. He had to play the rest of the practice missing notes of chords and solos. So make sure you change your strings before any practice/concert.
For drummers out there, checking your tone rings and making sure your drums resonate cleanly is a great pre-rehearsal habit, in addition to changing drum heads and re-tuning them properly.
3. Send the band songs in advance
If you’re rehashing old material, send a group text and ask the musicians to go over the recordings.
If you don’t have recordings or the songs are new, make an iPhone or Garageband demo with the chords and lyrics in an email attachment or google drive.
TIPS FOR DURING PRACTICE
1. One person leads the rehearsal
When it comes to running a smooth, productive, rehearsal, it’s good for there to be an idea of who is running the practice. Concerns of bandleader, or who is the star, have nothing to do with who runs the practice- some bands benefit from letting the drummer organize and keep things moving between songs if he/she/they count the song off everytime. And of course many bands let the lead singer fill this role.
Picking who this person is before getting into the weeds of working on parts can save a lot of wasted time, energy, and squash potential arguments.
2. Don’t get loaded
Although it’s fine and dandy to drink a beer during practice, if that’s your thing, no rehearsal was ever made any better by drinking or ingesting too much of your favorite vice. In fact, it has led to practices dissolving into chaos, band’s getting into bad arguments, or WORSE: a band being overconfident and sounding like crap. I’ve heard/seen it all.
So, have fun, but don’t get wasted. That’s a bad look.
3. Earplugs – Not Just for Your Health!
I know, it sounds nerdy and not very punk rock, but earplugs are super important when playing loud music with a full band in small spaces, such as garages or basements. Now, many companies offer affordable, comfortable earplugs made specifically for musicians. You can even get a mold made of your ear and have ones fitted just for your unique ear canals.
But the benefit doesn’t end with the health of your eardrums, eardrums during practice actually make it sound better. By filtering out a lot of the harsh frequencies, it is actually easier to focus on what each instrument is playing during practice. This makes it easier to pick up on mistakes and improve the band, which is the entire point of rehearsal at the end of the day.
A FINAL WORD ON REHEARSAL
Right now, thousands of bands are getting back together to sharpen their skills and get back the natural “gel” that makes live music so captivating, fun, and inspiring. These tips will help you get the most out of your first practice back and set your band on a path to smart, productive rehearsing.
At Planetary Group, we know how to take your music and get it noticed. When you are ready for the world to hear your work – call the expert music promoters at Planetary Group to help take your music to the next level. Give us a ring in LA office at (323) 952-5050!