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How do you feel about band rehearsals?

  • refuse to rehearse

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • hate rehearsing, but will agree under protest

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • will only rehearse if i have nothing else to do

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • rehearsals are for losers

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • enjoy rehearsing but only occasionally

    Votes: 8 16.3%
  • love rehearsing

    Votes: 41 83.7%

  • Total voters
    49
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
...there is a thread running on the tdpri forum about structuring rehearsals and, as i suspected, most musicians hate rehearsing.

without getting judgemental (hey, to each his own), i'm curious to know if that majority is really representative. most of the musicians i have worked with hate rehearsing, which is why a believe that it IS representative.

one very important distinction: cover band vs original. i think most players will agree that rehearsing cover songs to death can be both tedious and counter-productive.

my second question is: how do you structure rehearsals?

-dh
 
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There are only two circumstances that come to mind where I've really hated rehearsing:

1) I no longer enjoy the company of the people I'm making music with and rehearsing means enduring their presence; or

2) Others in the room are not practicing as they should be and rehearsals are wasting my time because the band as a whole is not moving forward. I like to spend my time well and don't take kindly to others wasting it by showing up unprepared (or worse: not showing up at all). At the end of the rehearsal if something has been accomplished (we worked out the timing on a tricky tempo change, the harmonies are finally happening on the vocals, anything really) I'm going to walk away satisfied.
Prolonged exposure to #2 inevitably begets #1. Otherwise any time I spend with my hands on my guitar is good time.

think most players will agree that rehearsing cover songs to death can be both tedious and counter-productive.
Rehearsing anything to death can be counter productive, not just covers. The best way to break a rut in any kind of band is to try something new. Switch instruments. Learn a new cover. Play the random-change game.

how do you structure rehearsals?
For a 3 hour rehearsal with a rock band doing original material it's usually 30 minutes of warm up. Some jam-type thing to get everyone in the same mind space. This is also the time when new ideas get passed around and the foundations for new songs get worked on. Followed by an hour or so working on sections of stuff that were not great at the last rehearsal (record your rehearsals and analyze them afterwards so you know for certain what needs work). A ten minute break. Vocal work after that for 20 minutes, harmonies in particular. What happens in the last hour depends on what's going on: if there's a show to be played soon the last hour is spent running a full set in situ -- no breaks, no bull shit, play it like it's your last show on earth. We rotate the set list from week to week to see how certain change ups work -- some songs play well into each other, you don't always want to end every night with the same song, etc. And the last rehearsal before a show we do the set list as we intend to play it the night of the gig. If there's some time before the next show the last hour is spent working on new songs and occasionally learning a new cover to throw into the set. Rotating who picks the cover helps you discover what your bandmates like and helps expose you to stuff you might not usually play.

For theater and orchestra rehearsals where it's usually 4 hour slots it's warm up for 15 minutes. Usually some big band jazz piece with soloists getting a chance to do a little ad lib. Then it's run the pieces that are well known. Then run the pieces that are new or being worked on with breaks to work out the harder parts that aren't right. Break for 15 minutes. Sectionals after the break. If I'm directing I'll make the rounds during the sectionals to make sure the groups are practicing what I think needs work. If I'm in the rhythm section then it's sectional work as usual. Then it's usually a final run through of the newest piece. Followed by notes.
 

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Rehearsals for me are enjoyable, but I don't believe there's any merit in most cases to having marathon sessions.

A two hour rehearsal can be very productive if people do their homework.

To me the process of developing the songs for stage is interesting and gratifying.

Put it this way, I won't walk on stage with an unrehearsed band unless it's a guest spot or an open mic.
 

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I voted "love rehearsing". I play in a cover band and we rehearse once a week, for 2 hours. We typically learn a new song every 2 weeks. I enjoy the rehearsals but mainly because everyone is good about learning their respective parts for new songs. I have been in previous bands where everyone agrees on a new song and then certain members (always the same members!) dont bother learning the song and want to learn it as we try it. That is annoying.

We are presently trying to come up with some original material with this band which should make the rehearsals even more fun.
 

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I used to love rehearsing with a band, unless there was someone who wanted to make it all structured and work - like.

Get tight and have a blast is all I really ever expect to get out of it. If the blast part isn't happening, I'd have to question why I was doing it though.

It has been quite some time since I've been to a band rehearsal though.
 

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I love rehearsals. I just love to play. I have to admit there are some of the old covers that sometimes can be a little blah to play and then the next time not. Most of the bands I've been in have tried not to have things to structured as that takes the fun out of it. We would always take about half the time for working on original stuff and kicking around ideas, and then at the end we'd usually sit around and make some suggestions for new covers and come back with them the next week or so.
 

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well I just joined my first real band about a week ago. We rehearse twice a week for 2 hours and I really enjoy it. I really enjoy playing just about anything. My background is kind of classic rock but if a country band needed a guitarist I would have absolutely no problem learning country songs. My only complaint about rehearsals is the breaks we take. When we get there, it takes maybe 15-20 mins to set up and to make everything sound fine and then we play for a while and then everyone just stops to take a break for 10-15 mins. We're paying for the room by the hour and it's not like we've just played a gig or something so I don't understand what are we taking a break from. I would have no problem with marathon rehearsals as long as they are in a comfortable environment. There has to be food and stuff and it can't smell as bad as the place we rehearsed last time.
 

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.......... There has to be food and stuff and it can't smell as bad as the place we rehearsed last time.
ah-haha! That is funny! Yeah, it makes for a great get-together when you turn it into a sort-of social event, I avoid too much alcohol in practice and gigs though, just slows me down.

I love to rehearse, playing bass by yourself is a bit boring, I usually crank the tunes we are doing and go at it but rehearsals give me a chance to gear the timing to the band, not the recording and it helps to have someone else to help figure the parts I can't hear properly, I play by ear exclusively and I usually play something for at least an hour/day.

We generally go over things that need to be worked out and there is always time for 'jamming'. It's all worth it, making music is the goal.

Playing guitar is a different scenario, I play for fun, like a truck-driver that has a sports car for fun driving. I rarely play with recordings, I turn on the 'drummer that is always there' and crank the old Traynor using a spare split-second to do the bass on keys. The goal is to squeeze out 'that tone' and play something that lifts me off the ground :rockon2:

Mich
 

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We have practise every week. And we all look forward to it. But lately we're over-practising our songs, and getting on eachothers nerves.
 

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generally love rehearsing. it can suck if there's some sort of drama or the band is on its last legs.

a 3 hr rehearsal typically goes.....run through some songs there are issues with, then work on new material if we have time. rehearsals before shows are always about going through the set a few times and ironing out any kinks.
 

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Like most of you said , rehearsing sucks if someone's not doing their homework . We usually work on new songs more , and try to go through the whole set once . The whole rehearsal is about 2 hours , sometimes a bit more .
 

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We play strictly cover tunes.

Practicing 3 hours once a week is a high point of the week for me, I look forward to it.

We play live about every 6 weeks (we only play in the community pub), so our structure is setting out the list of what we want to play at the next gig, then work through them towards the gig. We've got a lot of songs on the main list (maybe 300) and we usually add one or two new ones. The 'gig' is 3 hours, and we get a lot of the same crowd every time, so we try to change songs every time. This way we don't get bored, they don't get bored, and it's more fun.

If we were playing bar gigs, etc. we'd probably have to work towards a 'best' list and polish it more, that would be a lot more boring I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
...okay, here's how my band structures rehearsals. but first, a warning: i am a contrarian - if the whole world is driving on the left side of the road, i drive on the right. so this should NOT be perceived as a "this is how YOU should rehearse" or a "my way is the best/only way" post.

most of the musicians i have worked with over my lifetime hate rehearsing. personally, i crave it. thus, when i decided to form my own band, the number one priority was to find musicians who are as obsessed with playing/rehearsing as i am.

i succeeded, big time!

my band rehearses for the entire weekend, unless there is a gig. we play onlhy originals, no covers.

we start on friday night at seven and play until after midnight. we re-convene at four pm saturday and play until well after midnight, with a break for dinner (we take turns cooking). everyone stays over, (spouses included) and we sit up half the night watching concert dvds. then we get together for a large breakfast, which i usually prepare, and rehearse from noon until about six pm sunday. at that point i am ready to collapse from exhaustion, as i am both the lead vocalist and guitarist in my trio.

needless to say, we all love to rehearse. i take immense pleasure in knowing that i will never again have to work with a musician who doesn't love rehearsing. our rehearsals are completely unstructured. very rarely do we make a plan or decide in advance what we will play - our rehearsals are almost 100% spontaneous.

our spouses are our audience and they tell us they never get bored, even during the extended jams. we also welcome friends to drop by and enjoy the music and hospitality.

here is where i/we differ from the "norm":

1. rehearsals need to be structured:

most players i have worked with insist that there needs to be structure. they need to know what they are going to be rehearsing, and why. when my band sits down to rehearse, we have no clue whatsoever as to what we are going to play. our recording sessions often go the same way.

2. if a song doesn't come together right away, just move on and come back to it later:

not in my band. we never, ever, give up. at that point when the song gets bogged down, the whole process tedious, and everyone is starting to go for each other's throats, we light up! we dig our heels in and get deep inside the song. an hour or two later, we may end up right back where we started, but we will have a better grasp of the "essence" of the song, and even done a little "bonding" along the way.

3. playing/rehearsing has to be fun, otherwise what's the point?

to me, and to the guys in my band, this is moot. to us, the "fun" part is an absolute given. we don't need to make it fun. we don't need to ask ourselves if we are having fun. it begs the question: if merely playing is not inherently fun for you, why do you even bother? if playing music was not fun, and fulfilling, we'd sell our gear and do something that we DO enjoy.

4. it is possible to "over-rehearse" - the music can become tedious and stale:

obviously, this is true for many players. not for me, nor for my guys. in our view, it is simply not possible to "over-rehearse". years ago i helped a bass player named beany put together a band called "bedrokk". he used to rehearse us for 7-8 hours non-stop. we'd play a given song ( at the time, all were instrumentals that he wrote) maybe twenty times in a row, and after each time beany would look at us, grin, and say "okay, once more!" it made no sense at first, but after a while i realized we were getting deep inside the music, and ourselves.

5. learn the song, and your parts, on your own time, and come to rehearsal fully prepared:

again, nope. i like to keep art, and corporate mentality, as far removed as possible. as well, i love the process of everyone learning to play the song together.

needless to say, most of my musician friends think i'm crazy...

-dh
 
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i like to keep art, and corporate mentality, as far removed as possible.
What does being organized, competent and knowledgeable of what you're expected to perform have to do with it being art or not? It's not a corporate mentality; it's a courtesy to everyone else in the room. When you have to make it work around families and kids and jobs you want people as prepared as possible for those 3-4 hours you had together every week. Otherwise you go nowhere fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
What does being organized, competent and knowledgeable of what you're expected to perform have to do with it being art or not? It's not a corporate mentality; it's a courtesy to everyone else in the room. When you have to make it work around families and kids and jobs you want people as prepared as possible for those 3-4 hours you had together every week. Otherwise you go nowhere fast.

...again, lets be absolutely clear: this is how i see it. this is the way i work. period.

i have no intention, whatsoever, of suggesting, implying or otherwise claiming that what works for me would work for you or anyone else.

-dh
 

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...again, lets be absolutely clear: this is how i see it. this is the way i work. period.

i have no intention, whatsoever, of suggesting, implying or otherwise claiming that what works for me would work for you or anyone else.

-dh
I understand.

There comes a time when you know what you like and what you want.

I'm there as well. People often mistake the statement of such opinions and methods as advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I understand.
There comes a time when you know what you like and what you want.
I'm there as well. People often mistake the statement of such opinions and methods as advice.

...its an important distinction. i realized this when i originally responded to a similar thread on the tdpri and suddenly everyone pounced on me as if i was attacking them, personally. here's an example:

"That's nice Dave, why don't YOU sell your stuff?
I didn't get involved in Music in the first place to sit in a room playing "The Story In You Eyes" to an audience of cinderblocks.
Rehearsals are bull****.
That's MY opinion Dave and if You don't like it - lump it.
Maybe if I played in a "tribute/copy group" I'd have to rehearse however to me that stuff is karoake at a higher level.
The more stuff is rehearsed the more STALE and UNENJOYABLE it becomes."

-dh
 
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People often mistake the statement of such opinions and methods as advice.
David's defining "art" in his statement I quoted as something that cannot occur when there's structure and preparation (what he seems to think is the corporate mentality), not giving advice. No doubt David didn't mean for it sound like that, but that's how it reads, so I'm going expand the discussion around it. That's way more interesting than listening to people talk about their rehearsal tendencies.
 
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...again, lets be absolutely clear: this is how i see it. this is the way i work. period.

i have no intention, whatsoever, of suggesting, implying or otherwise claiming that what works for me would work for you or anyone else.
See my comment to Milkman above: I want to discuss why you think art cannot involve preparation.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
See my comment to Milkman above: I want to discuss why you think art cannot involve preparation.
...the last thing i would ever want to do is set out rules for others to follow.

of course art can involve preparation. i've spent forty-five years preparing for what i'm doing now.

your art can involve anything you want it to, as can mine.

what would art be without individuality?

-dh
 
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