Loading... Please wait...


Without planning an effective band rehearsal, you can end up with drummers endlessly tweaking things then tuning their kit; guitarists turning up to 11 and noodling away on some exotic scale 5/4 time signature riff; singers rolling up late and then taking calls from their “fans”.

1. Structure
The most important thing for having a good rehearsal is to actually have a plan of what you want to do. Sounds bleeding obvious but it’s funny how rarely it’s done. There are three obvious phases for a band in rehearsal: building a setlist, refining a setlist, or songwriting. When we are in the setlist building mode, we bring no more than 4 new songs to rehearsal. Trying to work on more is just too hard if you want to really nail them.
If you are in set list refining mode you should try and play through the songs in order, one at a time. If there’s a major screw-up early on you might start again, but generally you should make a note of ones that weren’t quite right and go back to them at the end.
Song writing mode is a very different beast and best done as a standalone session – trying to come up with something new around working on existing material is tough. At a pinch you could devote the first half of the rehearsal to song writing, then take a break and come back to existing stuff in the second half.
The idea of taking a break is also important. Sure, rehearsal space isn’t always cheap so you want to try and maximise your time, but a genuine 10minute break in the middle of a two or three hour session will keep you fresh and focussed.
And above all, turn up on time and be ready to go!

2. What’s important?
When you are getting the rehearsal structure together, make sure you think about what you “should” work on rather than what you “want” to work on. Ideally, you should have your existing material really nailed before you start introducing new stuff; so make sure you are all comfortable with a song before you move on. If you find yourselves having problems with a song for a few weeks, then allocate more time to nail that song the next week.

3. Who’s the boss?
While ideally a band is the perfect collaboration between like-minded individuals, it’s rarely that way in real life. Someone has to lead the rehearsal process. There’s a couple of ways to approach this: either designate someone to run the entire rehearsal, or designate different leaders for each song. When someone is in control you’ll be much more effective and debates around what you want a song to sound like can be moderated.

4. Have you done your homework?
The most important thing when working on covers or existing material is knowing each song! You know when something is challenging you, so don’t waste the rest of the band’s time using the rehearsal to work on something you could have done at home. If it’s a new song, download the tab or chords and practise it. It’s also a very good idea if each new song is allocated to a member of the band and it is their responsibility to circulate tab/chords/lyrics and eve YouTube clips to refer to. That’ll keep you all singing off the same page so to speak rather than have each member practising in a different key.

5. Warm up and set levels
Yep, this is starting to sound like footy training – and in many ways it is. There are a couple of ways to get warmed up: muck around over a basic 12 bar blues pattern, or, perhaps more effective, is to pick a warm up song that isn’t part of your set list. At least that way the singer can loosen their pipes as well. This is the time to check levels and make sure your rehearsal can flow uninterrupted. And by setting levels, that means keeping the sound below ear-bleeding levels. Rehearsal rooms are small and loud noise won’t dissipate too well so resist the temptation to crank it up and your ears will thank you.

6. Record it
Whenever possible you should record your rehearsals – it doesn’t matter what the quality is as you aren’t going to be using the recordings for anything other than your own reference. Listening back to a rehearsal recording can really help identify issues the band has with songs. We’ve recently been setting up a GoPro camera to record our stuff – the sound is surprisingly good and there’s the bonus of being able to actually work on your stagecraft!

7. Get it right!
Don’t be satisfied when a song is just “okay”. You need to really work a song until it becomes second nature. It’s very easy to be satisfied with a song before you really should be – everyone is keen to move on to the next thing after you’ve played the same song half a dozen time, but if it’s not right, play it again. If you are really disciplined about this you should only move on to a new song when you’ve played the current one to the standard you want twice in a row. This is all about staying focused, and while we’re on that, don’t invite friends to rehearsals: they aren’t “performances”, they are for you to practice and do so without distractions. That said, a couple of times we have booked a large rehearsal space with the specific intention of inviting a few people along (mainly our kids, or friends who wouldn’t be able to go to the gig itself).

8. New material keeps you fresh
Some of the best rehearsal fun happens when you are trying out songs for the first time – especially if the band members have done their homework and learnt the nuts and bolts of the song ahead of time. About the only time to not have new material in your rehearsal plan is when you are in the final stages of nailing a set list before a gig. Otherwise, always have something new to try. A good way to do this is take it in turns to bring a new song to rehearsal and the relevant band member takes responsibility as the musical director in setting out how they want the song to sound. I’ve also seen advice that if you don’t have anything new, a good alternative is to take an existing song and try and play it in a different style.

9. Stage craft needs practice too
As you get close to a performance, you should ideally have a rehearsal that reflects the live performance as closely as possible, even down to the between song banter. Get comfortable with the flow of the songs and get used to some song transitions that may require a bit more time (like a guitar change). Obviously this is where filming the rehearsal can be really beneficial.

10. So, how did you go?
It’s really important to have a genuine postmortem at the end of a session and to also start the planning process for the next one. If you don’t do it then, important things will be missed when you meet again. Ideally someone should take notes on where you are at with each song, highlighting any areas to work on next time. It’s just like taking notes in a meeting or class. If you develop the discipline to do this rehearsals will be significantly more effective each time.

Remember your Band is a business and should be treated as such if you indeed to be there for the long haul. There are so many books and resources available to help you on the business side of being in a band. Browse through our Business selection and take the steps to create a plan for your band.

Written by Andrew Gray and reposted from www.musicstartshere.org

7 powerful reasons why you should be using music games in your classroom

Here are 7 powerful reasons why you should be using music games with your children in your classroom or studio.By Janice TuckAs teachers we know that music incorporates so many amazing benefits to our children such a s encouraging creative thinking, developing math and reading skills and boosting self -confidence. But try telling this to [...]

Read More »

12 Tips for Writing & Selling Great Jingles

Jingle writing – AKA commercial ad music – can be lucrative and challenging. Here are 12 tips to help put your music in commercials by writing great jingles.Everyone has experienced it before — you see an advertisement on TV and three weeks later, you’re still humming the same catchy melody that playfully urges you to buy [...]

Read More »

Step by step and one hand at a time approach to Conga Comparsa.

by Aldo MazzaFrom basic grooves and rhythmic structures, to ensemble orchestrations of traditional Cuban percussion, the book sheds new light on Cuban music. Packaged with a DVD-ROM containing 75 play-along audio tracks and 30 video clips, this book equips you with the necessary tools to start playing Cuban rhythms.The Conga Comparsa is a traditional rhythm born [...]

Read More »

Are you considering music lessons for the kids this fall?

Fall registration for music classes is upon us. If you are looking for classes for your young ones, or wondering when you should start them in formal lessons, here are 5 things to ask yourself and consider first.1.ReadinessDo they show any interest in music? Children who enjoy music or singing are more likely to have an [...]

Read More »

IMSTA FESTA comes to Toronto OCT 14th, 2017

Join IMSTA (Intl. Music Software Trade Assoc.) and SAE Institute as they host IMSTA FESTA, a celebration of music technology packed with Panels, Workshops & Master Classes, Song Critiques, Exhibitors, Demonstrations and more. Hosting industry experts in an environment where music-makers can network, interact and learn with each other face-to-face, this annual one-day event is [...]

Read More »

10 Ridiculous Songwriting Tips That Actually Work

Sometimes you come across a blogger---that...well, knows what to say and how to say it. We find such a guy in Scott Parsons. Scott's a full-time music enthusiast with a special fondness for pads and editor at LANDR.  We simply needed to share what he's got to say. Here's his blog entry from mid 2016 from [...]

Read More »

The Perfect Mix?

The Perfect Mix? By Roey IzhakiIt doesn’t take much experience before the novice mixer can begin to recognize problems in a mix. For instance, we quickly learn to identify vocals that are too quiet or a deficient frequency response. We will soon see that, once a mix is problem-free, there are still many things we can [...]

Read More »

So, you want to learn to play the Drums

Learning to play the drums is not something you can do in a single day or a single lesson. Drumming is an art form, in many ways, and it takes time to develop. Beginner drummers can get frustrated easily, but stick with it and you’ll be playing the drums (and playing them well!) sooner than [...]

Read More »


The best songwriting books are the ones you actually take the time to read and apply what you learn.It takes a curious mind to be a songwriter. Songwriters dig deep because it's rewarding work.That's why it's common for songwriters to be avid readers and always be educating themselves. Some cranky people will tell you "you've either got it or [...]

Read More »