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POLL: Rehearsal

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I voted for 1 rehearsal/week for both questions.


However, there is a caveat to that -- sometimes when a group is just getting rolling, if they have gigs scheduled sooner rather than later, more than 1 rehearsal per week might be necessary to get off the ground and develop some musical relationships between the players.





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I'll give my thoughts.


Original Projects


Original (non-touring) bands cannot (in my opinion) gig as often as a cover band. In general, original acts need to attract a crowd and develop a following, and it's easy to burn your loyal followers out if you're gigging weekly. I try to gig once a month with these types of projects.


That said, we're usually talking 1 hour sets or less. I cannot find a reason, if everyone knows the songs, to rehearse more than once a week.


Writing songs is another matter. But, don't call a writing session rehearsal.


Cover Projects


I've played in some cover bands. Material and arrangements were constantly changing. We were also dealing with multiple sets and a large setlist. I can see the need to rehearse more than an original project.


HOWEVER, this isn't a time to learn a song. Learn the song at home and bring this knowledge to the plate.


I am just curious of everyone's thoughts on this topic.

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My band gets together 3 times a week for 2 hours at a time. I'd rather it be 3 times for at least 3 hours, or 2 times for more than that. But, everyone has lives and such. Not MEEE!!!. We mix rehearsal with practice. About every 2 months, someone ends up asking if we can set new goals as things can get unfocused and we start running through the motions. Be it running songs we needed to at one point but don't any more, or beating a song into the ground that's trying to be written. It's hard to jam out songs that you wanna go over, and then have enough time to write in 2 hours. When a show is coming up it's simple. Run the set a few times, and go home.

Mike Bear




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I think a factor on this should be whether or not this is a full time band, or a part time thing. We all have "real" jobs and families, and so it's hard to rehearse more than once a week; add a gig to that, and trying to squeeze in studio time, and someone (family, employer, sane half of your brain, etc) gets upset if you try to add an extra rehearsal. And we do 85% original music, too; play out 1-3 times a month. We have combination "rehearsals & practices", if you must differentialte the two. Tougher to distinguish between the two in an originals band; as you may practice at home and think of something different to try with the rest of the band which may involve a re-arrangement or such; then your rehearsal becomes a practice to see if the new parts work. If we didn't have to support our families (or the music WAS supporting our families and not just an expensive hobby) we would definitely practice/rehearse more frequently. Of course, then we'd (hopefully) be at the point where we were playing live more and wouldn't need as much rehearsal unless we were trying something new or dredging up something really old.

"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

NEW band Old band


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I'm not playing originals right now, but I had to enter a vote in "Rehearsals?". Maybe you could edit it to read "Rehearsals?/N.A."?


Too many individual circumstances for the cover band question. The band I'm filling in for will have 3 players (bass/keys/drums) who aren't regular members tonight, but all have been full time members at some point. We have rehearsed twice a month. This band has been together (in some form) for 20-some years.


My band is not working while we revamp our set list. I'm new, but the nucleus has been around for 18 years. They don't seem to want to work very hard. In the year I've been with them, we've had 1 practice (last April - covered 19 songs) and we have a set list of 50 songs.


Which is why we're not working and I'm taking fill-in gigs.....


My response was for "Once a week" - tho' that could be wishful thinking!




Confirmed RoscoeHead

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In a cover-only band, I'm of the opinion that there should be exactly one rehearsal per week. Hit the new songs on the list once or twice, hit an old song or two if it hasn't been played live lately. Address any live problems that have arisen with the regular songs. In a paying cover band gig, I would expect every band member to have their part down 90% perfectly before we ever thought about playing the song together.


In an original band, I would say that it depends on what mode the band is in. If writing or preparing for the studio, I think it all depends on the type of project and the capabilities of the musicians. But I think that more than 3 practices a week would burn you out pretty quickly. If you're doing shows regularly, I would recommend 1 or 2 practices a week to keep your edge and to continue creating and rehearsing new material.


My band has been in writing/studio mode for the past 8+ months and we have had 2 3-hour rehearsals a week for that whole time. Often, one of the practices will run as long as 4 or 5 hours. Often, two or three members of the band will get together every other week or so to hammer out the details of their parts. When we go into show-mode this summer to sell the CD, we might cut back to only one rehearsal a week to brush up on our live stuff and add to our catalogue of covers on a regular basis.

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Most of my bands have three hour rehearsals. All of them are just once a week, regardless of the original/cover thing. If you're not working on a lot of new material, one of these rehearsals a week is plenty; as long as people are doing their homework (practicing).
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I voted 1 and 1. But I believe you need to step up at home and practice a lot.

You need to take notes and play along with rehearsal recordings, original recordings (if covers), as well as working on new stuff, and fundamentals to make you a better player.

You have to put the effort in at home too!

"Start listening to music!".

-Jeremy C

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Indeed, the last few comments made me think of another situation of a half and half band of covers and originals.


A few of the band members kept suggesting that we needed to rehearse more often to get better at playing the songs. Not trying to pull rank or experience or be a jerk, I told them as nicely as I could that I could show up as many times a week as they wanted, and I'd still be playing my parts the same because I regularly spent about an hour a week of personal time going over our set. I suggested that if each of the 5 members of the band spent 1 hour of individual practice per week, that would add up to much more than if the 5 members of the band spent 5 hours a week together.


Unfortunately, I don't think many of them took my suggestion. We never did start holding extra rehearsals, and that band has now pretty much broken up as of this morning. Shame, but life goes on.

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The bottom button was for zero, right?


For many years I was in a cover band that had one rehearsal a week to learn one or two new songs. In a year we would completely have changed our set list.


Nowadays the cover band I play in has not had a rehearsal in many years. If we are going to play a new song (which often happens), we each get a copy of the song, then all of us write our own charts for it.


At the gig, we compare charts before the gig and then play the song.


Original bands need a lot of rehearsal at the beginning and then, if you are playing out, the rehearsal time drops way off.


And if the songs are written ahead of time, the rehearsal time drops considerably. If the rehearsals are used to create the songs, a lot of time is needed.


And of course if a band is gigging a few times a week, the need for rehearsal should be minimal.


I learn songs quickly, do my homework and generally get pretty bored at rehearsals and have been lucky enough to have been able to avoid them for years.

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I hope one day to be competent enough and work with those competent enough that we wouldn't need to rehearse (for covers and even well-charted originals). That would leave so much more time for actual gigging, personal practice, or non-music activities. Mmm...
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I didn't vote, but when all the votes are in I'll complain anyway :D


I think it depends most on the quality of musicians and what they like more than anything else. A band may practice at home or be lazy on not really be full of "self starters", and I don't consider that a knock on the musician or the band. If they need it and benefit from 4 times a week then that is the right amount. Most bands I've been in would kill each other if we met four times a week.


For me twice a week while the music is being learned and once a week once gigs start happening. It seems that bands made up of 100% professionals don't ever rehearse. But to be honest that doesn't mean all of those sound all that good.

check out some comedy I've done:


My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

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For a gigging cover band, we're doing once a week for three hours. It seems to be enough. We all do this for fun (we don't need the money) and genuinely like each other, so it's a buttload of fun just to get together. As long as everyone does their homework ahead of time for new songs, life is good.
Bassplayers aren't paid to play fast, they're paid to listen fast.
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I voted for 1 and 1.


But these are 1 hour sets.


Whenever I practice with any band, its usually more than 1 hour.

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My situation is clearly different.


We do the work at home, as has been said. While suggestions and changes are made during rehearsal, we play covers pretty much straight.


We don't have a publicity machine at work, so our gigs are few and far between (though we're working on changing that). That makes our rehearsals the time when we make music. We're a bunch of old guys who enjoy making music. It's great to play for people, but we also enjoy playing for ourselves. Life schedules limit us to one rehearsal a month. We feel great whenever we can play.


We are actually playing our first bar gig this Friday in Somers NY. I'm getting excited, and hope it leads to 4-5 gigs a year.


One other thing - we recently had some personnel changes. The new guys are caught up, so we'll be backing down from 5 hour to 4 hour rehearsals. Hey - if it's only once a month, you might as well make the most out of it !!




Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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i don't think you can ever rehearse too much.

we rehearse 3 times a week, and sometimes more during the week before a gig.

and rehearsing so much has done nothing but make us tighter, and everyone loves a tight band. well maybe not everyone.

if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bullshit
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I agree, tight is good.


However, is rehearsal necessary to get tight? I can be tight with a drummer that I have never played with before if we both have our acts together.


This requires practice, though.


I think that many rehearsals will suck the life out of a performance.


Right now, I'm blessed with a good drummer who listens to the bass. I, in turn, listen to his kit. I could see issues if the drummer was not such a good chap. I'm not sure rehearsal would be the remedy for this problem, though.

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If everyone in the band is good, the need for rehearsals is minimal.


Mrs. Grundy rehearases once a week. If we don't have any gigs coming up, we take time off.


I play with one singer-songwriter where the rhythm section is so together that we can spend as much as three months away from each other and we sound tight as hell from the first tune of the first rehearsal (if we decide to rehearse).


I've played in bands that have never rehearsed. The band would learn a tune on the spot while the bandleader played it on guitar. The guys were all pros, so we sounded tight.


Rehearsals three times a week? That would make the music sound really stale to me. I would be sick of the material by that point...

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  • 7 months later...

I've dug up this oldie, but goodie out of frustration.

I've been looking for a new band for the past 2 months, and a couple situations that sounded pretty good were dead set on rehearsing 2 to 3 times a week.

After hearing how tight Tom Capasso's band was on a once a month schedule, and how tight my last band was with trying to practice once a week, but realistically 3 times a month, I think this is overkill.

Maybe I should lie about my availability to get in the door.

Oh, yeah that's right, I don't lie.

Ah shucks!


"Start listening to music!".

-Jeremy C

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I hate rehearsals. Song writing sessions I'm fine with. Recording sessions I'm fine with. But practicing playing together - too much and all the life gets sucked out of the music. Anyway, isn't that what soundchecks are for? ;)


Which is why I don't join bands, I start them and they run to my schedule!



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My band plays a mix of original and cover material from the blues/funk/R&B genres. We have been together for three years.


When we first got together and were building our core repertoire, we would rehearse several times per week. Now we only rehearse when we are adding new material, or when a guest player will be sitting in with us.


We have gone as long as six weeks without rehearsing, but that would typically be when we are playing gigs every weekend.

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The cover band I play in rehearses once a week and gig pretty much every weekend....we are always adding new songs....changing old songs ..working on vocals ..theres always something to do and the rehearsals are productive


The trio I now work with is a sight reading job -we still rehearse once a week ..its all good.



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I had to vote "rehearsal?"


My cover band practiced twice before we started playing. We learn new songs at home and just play them cold Friday night.*yikes* We do surprisingly well. We talk about what to tweak during the week and on set breaks. This probably makes us seem terrible or like a bunch of slackers. We really aren't,though. It would be cool to do it once a month or so to fine tune. It usually just comes together naturally,though.

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So depends. The cover band I'm currently starting with will rehearse around 10-12 times to learn a 2 hour set (say 24 songs). After that we will rehearse very rarely, to learn new material. From previous experience I'd guess 3/4 times a year. We may not even do that, though, since new material can be learnt from the record and run through at a soundcheck. I've played in bands who've gone more than 18 months between rehearsals.
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So it looks like this poll is kind of redundant, because there are so many factors and extenuating circumstances invovled in answering that question ...


-Bands which have been together a long time typically need less rehearsal time.


-Bands which gig more often need less rehearsal time.


-Bands with players who are used to preparing charts and woodshedding a lot at home need fewer rehearsals.


-Bands playing more covers than originals need less rehearsal time.


But there are other factors, too...


-If a band is going into the studio to record, additional rehearsals might be needed.


-If a band is showcasing a guest player or vocalist, an extra rehearsal might be needed.


-If a band is adding a 'block' of new material to shake up the repertoire, extra rehearsal time may be needed.


And on and on it goes, depending on circumstances, where the band is in it's evolution, how long the players have be together, and how often they gig.


My band rehearsed two weeks ago, because one of our guitarists is adding a bunch of Hammond organ parts to our live show, playing them on a Roland VK-7. Before that we had not rehearsed in six weeks, or maybe longer, because we play often and add tunes by preparing the charts at home, comparing charts before the performance, and we often run the new material at soundcheck.


So as many suggest...


The most efficient approach comes from having all the players do their homework and get serious about woodshedding at home on a regular basis.




Our bandleader has this nasty habit of trying to keep us on our toes by introducing new songs 'in the middle of a performance', simply by calling out the changes and counting off. Pretty scarey stuff, but that's when you find out just how good a musician you really are, in my opinion. It's quite an exciting rush. He does this at least once per show. I'm always amazed how well that goes. Sometimes those songs have more intensity than songs from our master rep.

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I didn't vote, since my situation, playing in the church band is different from a gigging or originals band.

We normally have 1 rehearsal per week that lasts 2-3 hours. Everyone is expected to have been practicing their parts at home, so its just a matter of working out minor details and such. We added an extra weekly rehearsal for a couple of months just to break in and try out potential new players, but now thats done, and we're back to once a week.

When I was doing 6 nighters and traveling, we only rehearsed to add new material. We'd woodshed on our individual parts and then work together to get it tight.

I've always felt that if everyone is prepared beforehand, long, numerous reharsals are unnesessary.

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All situations are different, right?


And in many cases, lots of us are in several different situations at the same time.


In the bluegrass band, we used to have an evening rehearsal just before a gig. Now that the principals and I have played together for several years, we just get together and do our gig. They often add musicians and tunes at the last minute. Sometimes a new player will work it out with a rehearsal just between singer, banjo and, say, fiddle. One vote for: rehearse at the beginning, and then rarely rehearse.


In the praise band, we are technically paid for one rehearsal per month. We haven't had a rehearsal in two or three years. New charts are just in our folder to read. If there is some need to go over it, our keyboard/worship leader will schedule a 10 minute look-through before the service. Sometimes all she will do is play it as filler material, and we'll compare it to the charts.


We've had our catastrophe's however. Often, this will happen when there's an error in the chart. If that is the case, after the service is over, it's pencils out and run through once.

Onw vote for never rehearse.


In virtually all of the free-lance work I do, the rule is one rehearsal for the show. It doesn't matter if it's a single show, three day or six week run. During that time the main goal is to mark the music. One vote for 1 rehearsal.


In the jazz band I play in, our performance is generally our rehearsal. Go figure.


In the orchestra I play in, we generally have 5 2.5 hour rehearsals for a single concert. Orchestra music is complex, and requires teaching from the conductor. In the professional symphonic world, the players only rehearse once, but in the community orchestra, many of us aren't able to do that. I use this time not only to rehearse my own material, but to observe his conducting, rehearsing and musicality.


By and large, if you go hear 'professional music' on stage, be it theater, orchestra or show, there has been one rehearsal for the run of that show.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.


Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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