Nowadays, it’s essential to save as much time as possible – and when you’re in an up-and-coming band, you especially need all the time you can get. From promotion to business operations, tour planning to practicing, there are barely enough hours in the day. Not to mention that a lot of musicians balance a nine-to-five job with a music career. You need to be efficient as possible to accomplish it all. In this article, we'll roll out some rehearsal tips to get you in and out of your practice space in three hours or less.
First things first – it’s all about preparation.
Establish roles and responsibilities
Every band needs a leader and bandmates who understand their own dynamic within the group. After defining the goals of your rehearsal, it should be the leader’s job to develop the structure and delegate roles and tasks to make sure the rehearsal is running as efficiently as possible.
Based on your particular band setup, your roles may need to be tweaked a bit, but this list is a good starting point for any group:
- Schedule Organizer: This person organizes schedules. Doodle, Google, and Apple Calendars are all great ways to manage and share different timetables.
- Sheet Music Distributor: Usually the songwriter, this person sends everyone the sheet music and lyrics to learn their parts, whether for an original song or a cover.
- Sound Engineer: Sound is everything, so having a designated person responsible for checking levels is a huge aspect in ensuring you practice how you play. (As a side note, use a recording device for the practice. You'll be able to know how to improve your sound, and even have a rough demo.)
- Roadie: Everyone can offer to help with moving equipment, which will earn automatic appreciation from all bandmates.
Now that roles and preparation are out of the way, you can map out your practice. Here's a typical schedule that you can use to prepare for an upcoming show. Feel free to adapt it if you need to budget time to work out new material or write songs.
- Load in (15 minutes): Taking care of your gear is obviously important, but, as an up-and-coming band, you want to be as efficient and fast as possible setting up. You’ll usually get a very limited time to set up for shows with other bands, so why not practice loading in quickly?
- Warm up (30 minutes): There are many exercises you can use to warm up as a band. Dust off the cobwebs and try some improvisation.
- Work on transitions (30 minutes): Some of the trickiest parts of songs are transitions to different sections, chorus to bridge, bridge to verse, etc. Take some time to work them out.
- Break (15 minutes): Relax, but try to stay focused by discussing songs, parts, and show ideas.
- Intros and outros to each song (30 minutes): These are your first and last impressions. If you mess up, people won’t give you a chance, or they’ll be left with a bad taste in their mouths. Best to make sure everyone starts and ends the songs on-point.
- Run your set (45 minutes): Now is the time to put it all together. Combine all those transitions, intros, and outros to create your ideal set. Learn this front-to-back – it'll help in all aspects of your performance.
- Load out (15 minutes): Keep it quick!
As you can see, the key here is preparation. If you’re prepared for your practice, you’ll practice well. If you practice well, you’ll play well. If you play well, then who knows what the next big opportunity might be for you... but being prepared is half the battle.
What strategies or tactics work best during your band rehearsals? Let us know in the comments!
As a lifelong Bostonian, Andrew Hall has been an advocate for the local music scene by participating, managing, and consulting with bands since 2006. A founding team member of a service-based music management company Deer in Headlights Music Group, Andrew has taken his experience in community building and tech and applied that knowledge learned cross dimensionally.