Where do you draw the line?
Jetrow is following the dress rehearsal protocol-essential to stage productions with a pit orchestra or any other musical performance involving a large number of players doing exact,written arrangements.At the small-band level,where most of us work,arrangements are a good deal looser,usually aren't written out,and in general tend to evolve onstage.I believe very strongly that the entire purpose of a band is to play its material live for a paying audience and that one hour onstage is worth fifteen or twenty in the basement.Since rehearsal is the equivalent of R&D and is almost never paid,its purpose is to sketch out new material just enough to avoid an onstage trainwreck,and let it come together in front of people,which makes for a better arrangement,(per JPG&R) and on the venue operator's dime(which is better for players' pocketbooks).This bit about rehearsing the setlist in the basement is symptomatic of a band who's not gigging enough, and who very much needs to have a serious chat with whoever's responsible for getting work.
I've been approached by hobby bands who make a point of saying they have jobs and families,make a BIG point of saying "no hired guns", and who insist on setlist rehearsal once,often twice weekly,for at most one or two gigs a month.While I've usually just said "my gig reqirements are much greater than what (name of band) wants to book at present",I've been tempted to say "I can't rehearse any evening or weekend day,but I'll be happy to rehearse with the full band Monday through Friday from11:00 AM to 4:00 PM ".
All I'm concerned about in rehearsals are...
• the basic bones of the material (including a thorough understanding of any tricky/unison/difficult parts,intros, and outros)
• establishing a default structure for the song (with the tacit understanding that it may evolve at the gig)
• vocal harmonies (I should get so lucky)
• a sense of tempo and dynamic maps (again understanding they're subject to live evolution).
"Band practice" may be a group writing/jamstorming session - with many stops to suggest and work out ideas. It's not an endless blues jam. It's not a time for me to practice hot licks or work on my tone. (Or for the other guys.)
I've noticed that I frequently sound bad and play worse at rehearsal, and the PA can sound like dog without bothering me a bit.
It comes together live. If it doesn't, it's not a band.
two things, at my customary level of bluntness:
unless folks are getting paid at a level commensurate to the degree of seriousness you're laying on them, you can't get away with treating them like you're James Brown. this is 2012, not 1962. seriously: is there anyone here who would find it acceptable to be fined at rehearsal for a cover band where you're going to be making at best a couple hundy a gig??
if you practice all the time and still don't sound good, give up and get another band.
personally, look for another band or form one. These guys aren't for you. If you remember what BTO said, "chances are you'll go far, if you get in with the right group of fellows".
It is pretty much impossible to address issues like this in this sort of environment. In this setup you should really be doing a dress rehearsal or informal gig. As soon as you have an audience you are in performance mode.
To have a productive rehearsal you need to show up with a clearly defined idea of what you want to achieve from the rehearsal and what needs to be worked on. Goofing off really needs to be limited to warm up or cool down periods. A professional attitude by the majority usually brings the rest in line. Training guitarists out of noodling is like house breaking a puppy. They need to be shown that it is polluting the environment of others. Needless to say noodling in front of an audience is unforgivable and is generally a reflection of a lack of discipline in the musician's overall approach to music.
I'm not in a band but I used to play drums at my mate's band rehearsals if the main man was away.
One thing missing here (and maybe it's because I wasn't the main drummer) is that when there's a break in rehearsal it's usually because two or more in the band are discussing/working out an arrangement/interplay/chord sequence etc. so, IMHO, it's incumbent upon other members to listen. By not listening important things your colleagues are discussing may be missed and then another break may be needed to remind you.
Other than that, I'm with Dave_K, Proteus et al.
PS Please excuse a comment from a (bad) drummer!
I remember being in only one band that had a regular audience at our rehearsals. It was late 60's, we were all in high school, and we used to practice in a garage/stable. (Yes, horse stable. It was aromatic at times.) I recall we always had good rehearsals, worked out arrangments, new songs, including some originals, and always had a great time. Our audience would always request their favorites, sometimes dance. Our rehearsals were a party, and now, wonderful memories.
Jeff O(Gunter glieben glauben globen)
First, what kind of jackweeds do you guys let join your bands (I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt, assuming you 'mos didn't join a band without rehearsing with them first).
Second, quitcher frickin' bellyachin' !
Third, get a rehearsal space. No audience. Prollem solved.
you got a prollem? I don't got no prollem
Thanks for the advise. Lots of good points here.
yeah, please explain...why an audience of 15 for rehearsals?
Why an audience of any at rehearsals? Talk about distracting! That's probably the real problem, and the noodling is just the icing on the cake.
Sometimes Jeff starts babbling between songs when I'm trying to talk out a part, and since I'm standing near the PA head, I just turn off his mic. After that he's still loud, just without the help of a PA.
Yes, I now realize i have some issues that need to be addressed. It's time to have a set down with the band and work it out. My situation is a little unique, in that, The band practices at a nudist club, which I live at. Some members of the band I feel are in it to only play here at the club, others are wanting to take it on the road and play out other places. Time to have a chat. Maybe time to find a new band.
"The band practices at a nudist club, which I live at. "
Hold it right there a minute. Could you tell us a little more about this "audience" that attends your rehearsal sessions?
Personally, I feel like when people outside the band are at a rehearsal, it ceases to be a rehearsal and becomes a performance.
Now, I DO NOT want anything screwed up comin' outta me or anybody else during a performance. Rehearsal is where that's prevented. It's where the screwups are SUPPOSED to happen if they have to happen at all, y'know? (other than preliminary woodshedding of songs and chops alone at home, of course.)
So with an audience present, the freedom to safely screw up disappears for me personally. Screwing up in front of people is doing those people a disservice. Don't want no part of that.
It's the difference between getting dressed and getting dressed in front of a crowd.
As far as noodling: if somebody(s) has to work out stuff in the song (provided it's not on the example of that song that was given out for the purpose of learning it prior to the rehearsal. That qualifies as homework), then I don't have a problem with guys not involved in the process quietly messin' around on their axes.
Now, I don't personally do that because with drums, it'd be loud and intrusive enough to be counterproductive. But a guitar or bass or whatever with the volume down? Not an issue for me. But I practice my instrument alone at home, not at rehearsals, and certainly not on the gig.
But once everybody's stuff's worked out (hopefully beforehand), it's time to get down to business. Play it, figure out how to make sure you don't suck while you're playing it, then move on to the next one. Boom boom boom then rehearsal's over and we can get back to the real world.
ETA- I couldn't concentrate rehearsing at a nudist club. I mean after all, the smell would keep makin' me wanna go fishin'.
What's a nudist club? Is that the same as a strip joint?
I can always count on you guy's for a good laugh
When I'm trying to tame the feedback from the PA don't start practicing some shit that's not even on the set list. That's all I'm asking for. And naked people can be a bit of a distraction. Life is too short to not play at a nudist club............
This whole thread has inspired my change of avatar.
I'm a one man band, and thank god I'm not schizophrenic.
It sounds like you guys need to sit down without an instrument and lay down some rules for practice before practice.
If a "one-off" bothered me I would respectfully give it a:"hold off a sec, I need silence to get (whatever the issue) figued out....just give me 2 or 3 min." Communication was key. I have to say, the only thing that interrupted the flow of rehearsals times when I would get lost during a solo. Most times I could get through it but when it threw off the tempo, it messed up the others. I'd turn-around and give a look to the others as if to say: "my bad, I'll get my ass going in the right direction."
I thinked it helped that I always told the other that even though I'm lead vocals and lead guitar, it's easier for me to accomodate the flow of the others instead of the others having to acclimate for me. Not every song but ones where there was obvious sticking points. My being flexible proved the most effective resolution to promote the flow of the session.
Jeff O(Gunter glieben glauben globen)
For the record, I never babble...
Unless I'm ranting.
I'm a one man band, and thank god I'm not schizophrenic.
There was a meeting for schizophrenics at my local Church hall, I had half a mind to go along
You just need to be in a group of like minded souls. I can tolerate a bit of noodling at rehearsals - sometimes it's a creative jolt. On stage I abhor it and try not to play with anyone that can't restrain themselves. In my last "pro" gig, we had a $50 fine for it. Telegraphing the next song sets my teeth on edge, and noodling is just unprofessional and really off-putting to, and disrespectrful of, your audience.
Jeff O, you most certainly prattle and also babble.