The Rehearsal - Pt. 1
It’s why we’re all here isn’t it…we all love playing music and if we’re going to be any good at it then rehearsing is everything. The Hive Rooms was built by musicians for musicians, so we know the pitfalls and problems that can arise when it comes to organising and running a rehearsal. We try and make it as easy and stress free as possible for our bands, but once the studio doors are closed and you’re in the room with your band (and if it’s a new band, with a bunch of people you may not have even met before) what happens next? Here are some pointers if you’re fairly new to the party.
You’ve got to know what you’re going to rehearse beforehand. If you’re a covers band, this can be just a case of deciding during the previous rehearsal (or, handy tip, get a Whatsapp or email group together to discuss band matters between times); maybe you want to add a few new songs into the set, or work on parts of songs you already play that aren’t up to scratch. In this case, it’s important to work out and practice your parts before the rehearsal - we’ve all been in situations where you’re all plugged in and ready to go and the guitarist is busy figuring out the chords to the middle section of Midnight At The Oasis (or, you know, whatever the song is). No, Mr. Guitarist! Do that at home! Band rehearsals are for the band to rehearse, not for someone to quickly do their homework.
This is where the group messaging idea can be useful; if you haven’t had the time during the week, or you’re finding one of your parts too tricky and need more time on it before the band can work on it, let everyone know before the rehearsal - that way you won’t waste everyone’s time; maybe another song can be agreed on in the meantime.
If covers aren’t your thing and you’re writing your own stuff, everyone in the band can still do some homework between rehearsals. Maybe if a certain riff, chord sequence or lyric isn’t working, someone (or everyone!) can have a stab at trying out different ideas at home. The key thing is to try and work on what you have even when you’re not at a rehearsal, and making sure your individual parts are up to scratch so that when you do get together with your band you can concentrate on blending it all together, you know, as a band.
Nuts & Bolts
So there you are, in your rehearsal studio. Everyone’s arrived on time (of course!), the amps are on, the drummer’s figured out which way to face and the singer’s nicely warmed up (because all singers always warm up, right?). What next?
If you’ve been together a while then you’ll have a bunch of songs that you all know which already sound good. Playing one or two of those songs straight through gets everyone going nicely - everyone knows their parts, it all sounds pretty slick and there’s no pressure. Job done. That’s also quite a good way to end a rehearsal - always finish on a high! If you’re a brand new band with no repertoire, find a song that everyone knows to break the ice - the simpler the better; there’s nothing wrong with bashing out Wild Thing for ten minutes if it means it gets everyone gelling.
What next? Maybe at your last gig something iffy happened during one of your songs - the keys player lost the plot for a moment and started hammering out a Bach fugue instead of the piano part at the end of Layla for instance. Go over that section; there’s no need to play the whole song, maybe just the section before it as a lead in, just to make sure everyone (i.e. the keyboard player) knows what they’re doing so that it doesn’t happen at the next gig as well. No one wants the reputation as the band that spontaneously breaks into a Baroque breakdown for no reason. It’s important as well to not be afraid to repeat problematic sections until they’re spot on. It might be a bit tedious to go round and round the same 8 bars for 3 hours (ok, maybe that’s probably a bit too long) but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
So now it’s time to try out one of the new songs. If everyone’s done their prep then there’s every chance that you can bust through the whole thing in one go, but if it feels like it’s going off the rails before you’ve even got to the second verse, don’t be afraid to call a halt and identify where it started going wrong. Did the singer come in too early/late? Was the guitarist playing in a different key to everyone else? Was the bassist awake? Work it through in that way and before you know it, you should have a decent sounding song coming together.
To be continued...