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Band Practice and Rehearsal Tips

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  1. Take notes. Use a white board to diagram a song to make it easier for the band to visualize how a particular song goes together. Was that verse - verse - chorus (V-V-C) or V-C-C? Write down your effect and amp settings so you can recreate the tone for each song. Write down unusual chord changes or key signatures. Use a spiral notebook, PDA, or maybe even your cell phone to take notes to help you remember later.

  2. Have a guitar stand for every guitar. Especially if you use a set-neck or neck-through instrument. No more resting guitars against amplifiers, sofas, or inside open cases. These are accidents waiting to happen. Don't believe me? Just look at all those guitars with broken headstocks that owners try to unload at guitar shows and music stores.

  3. Align practice and performance expectations (and schedules) with bandmates, managers, spouses, etc. Be up front with everyone involved. Is practice once, twice, or three times a week? How long is each session? Do gigs count as a practice? Are friends invited? Other musicians? Smoking, drugs or alcohol allowed? How much time is expected to be spent on actual playing (allowing for setup/breakdown/breaks)? Is the practice space available for off-hours use by individual members? Does equipment have to be broken down or removed from the site after each use? How many times a week/month do you expect to gig? Get everyone on the same page now and you'll avoid hassles and hurt feelings later.

  4. Don't let things fester. Speak your mind early so time and energy isn't wasted later on... and so everyone remembers what happened. Dislike a particular song suggested by a band member? Let everyone know so that the band doesn't take time to learn the song, only to be told at a future practice that you've always hated it. It's hard to be at your best when you know in your heart that you hate something. If you hate every song on your set list, you have two options: write enough good, original original material to replace it, or leave the band.

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