Are you in a band that is struggling to make good use of rehearsal time? Does it seem like you all have good intentions, but then you get together, time flies by, and the session feels completely unsuccessful? Any professional musician can attest to how important rehearsal time is, but because time is precious, you don’t often have the luxury of spending full days at a time jamming like a professional would. So, what’s the solution? Here are seven simple tips that will ensure you have a successful band rehearsal and that you start making the most of the time together.
Create a Schedule in Advance
The first tip is simple and will have a huge positive effect. Start by creating a rehearsal schedule. This means writing it down on a calendar or a planning app, looking weeks even months ahead. If you leave the rehearsal to the last minute, chances are it will get pushed aside by other commitments and responsibilities. Many scheduling apps allow for sharing with other people, which can be perfect for band members. Everyone will have access to the same calendar and all information will be updated in real-time.
Have a Plan for Each Rehearsal
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the schedule as you also want to plan the rehearsal session. What will you be focusing on or working on in each session? Maybe the rehearsal will focus on writing lyrics, practicing chords, practicing a particular part of a song, a full song, making a recording and so forth. Again, it’s all about maximizing and making the best use of your time together.
Make Sure You Have All Necessary Equipment
Nothing is worse than showing up for a rehearsal unprepared and without the necessary material and equipment. Professional musicians often suggest you use a checklist when packing up. This will ensure all the items go with you and nothing essential is forgotten. You can keep the list stored on your smartphone so you’ve always got it with you, and again it’s something that can be shared with other members if you choose.
Allow Time for Set-Up and the Sound Check
Equipment set-up and the soundcheck are important steps of any rehearsal, but this cuts into practice time. You want to factor this into the schedule and ensure that you provide extra time at the start of each session. If you want to rehearse for two hours, then you need to meet 15-30 minutes in advance to get set up.
Ensure There Are No Distractions
One of the biggest culprits for an unproductive rehearsal is distractions. Distractions may not seem like a big deal at the moment, but when you’re on a time crunch and need to be productive, all those little interruptions add up fast.
Distractions can be hunger, taking time to snack and eat, chatting on your smartphone or another mobile device, chatting with band members and getting off-topic, and allowing your focus to stray elsewhere. If all of this sounds familiar, then it’s probably worth having a band meeting about distractions and how best to avoid them. Everyone needs to be on the same page.
Only Band Members Should Attend the Rehearsal
And speaking of distractions, only the band members should be in attendance at the rehearsal. Now is not the time to have friends, family members and significant others hanging out. Even if they don’t mean to be a distraction, chances are they will do just that.
For musicians that want feedback from friends, family, or professional contacts – record your session and share the recording instead. There is no need for them to be at the rehearsal in person.
Rent Professional Rehearsal Space
If you find the distractions are too much when rehearsing at home, or you don’t have the proper equipment and facilities, it’s probably best to look into a professional rehearsal space that you can rent. Walking into a studio helps to create a more professional atmosphere, which can then help the session to be more productive and successful.
All the same tips from above will apply to the rehearsal space so that you make the most of your time. Remember, you’re paying for the space, so you want that money to be put to good use.
Before you book any space, be sure to look at what standard equipment is in the studio space as well as the schedule they offer. You need to pick a time that will work for the whole band which may be outside the typical hours of business. Studios often feature 24/7 rentals for just this reason.
All of these tips will ensure that you make the most of your rehearsal time as a band. There’s no need to ever walk away from a practice session feeling like you didn’t make any progress and that it was a waste of time.