So you’re in a busy group. Once you’re in the busy gig season, rehearsals are hard to schedule as everyone else in the band has a million things going on in their own lives. So when you finally do get everyone together for rehearsal you should use that time as wisely as possible.
Here’s a couple of tricks that I learned from running rehearsals in my group. And I’ve learned these the hard way, hopefully you can learn from my mistakes.
1. Respect people’s time.
I learned from my friend Colin Dean, who runs a large working group with a rotating cast of musicians, that you have to respect everyone’s time. When you schedule a rehearsal it is important to set start and end times. People are less likely to show up late if there’s a specific end time set.
2. Set list
It might sound weird at first, but even rehearsals should have a set list. I usually bring a loose list of 5-8 tunes that need shedding, and share that list with everyone. Without that list rehearsals can quickly devolve into catching up, hanging out, and directionless jamming!
Also try to note sections of songs that need work ahead of time. I’ve taken to making mental notes at gigs every time there’s a rough spot in the tune so we can work it out at rehearsal.
I always have a rough outline of agenda items that need to be discussed as a group. They are typically small things, but talking them through in person saves us from a thousand text messages. Even small stuff like ‘Location ideas for our upcoming photo shoot’, ‘Can everyone share the upcoming gig on their social media’, and ‘This venue won’t give us free beer, should we still play the gig?’. These are so much easier to hash out in person than over messages.
And make sure you take notes on what was decided as a group for reference later.
These quick tips have really helped keep my group on track. And I’ve noticed that if I come to rehearsal unprepared – without a setlist or agenda – that the entire evening was a wash. May they help keep your band dialed in as well.