#1
It's rare for me to actually make a thread in these forums, but hey, when a new issue arises I may as well put it up here for people to read.

So I'm a big promoter of practices - gotta get the set right before you're on stage. No worries. I have a set system for them too, and if there's nothing to practice or it's aimless, I end it all good.

However a new issue has arisen regarding practices and this is "when is practice too much practice". Well before you get in your band's faces about practicing, I'll inform you it's after you've started gigging.

Currently I'm fortunate enough to have most of my bands gigging enough not to practice, except when learning a new song, or if we haven't caught up for a couple of weeks just to keep our chops up.

However one band in particular still has weekly practices. Whilst this is fair for a newer band starting out, this is a band that has been together for 2 years, and gigging regularly (perhaps twice a month). And what's happening? People are getting tired of practice, and members are quitting. It's an interesting development to watch.

So with this in mind, what rule was broken in regards to practice? I had to think about it myself. The members which have quit have all cited "I don't feel it", which is not a reason in itself. I know for a fact they were enjoying it at some point, but it certainly wasn't at practices.

So what is causing this? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the practices, whilst they did have a strict structure and time length, did not have a point. People didn't need to practice that song again that we had already played 20+ times on stage, and felt that the practices were a waste of time. This lead to thinking "hey I don't need to set over this night", and then they left.

So I think it's good to keep in mind that practices need a point, that there's an actual reason that you're practicing rather than just for the hell of it. If the songs are down, they're down.

So for example, if your band is just starting out, why are you practicing? Well you're practicing to get the songs down. Once the songs are down, what's the point? Nothing. So you need to start booking gigs, and writing new material. Then the point is that you're getting the whole set down for the gig, and you're learning new songs. So what if you have lots of gigs going, and no new songs to learn? What's the point? There is none. So don't.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#2
It's funny you should make this thread, because this is just happening to my band. We spent a lot of our time as a band without regular practices. When we finally were able to commit to a weekly schedule, we had all of our shit down, and lately they're just reiterations of shit we don't need to go over. Paranoia and the feeling that we "should" practice has probably been the driving force lately, but now that you say this, I can tell them that unless we have a show, there's really no need to do it.

Thank you, you couldn't have been more perfectly relevant.
#3
Perhaps you should research more on this matter and make an article?
#4
Quote by blake1221
I can tell them that unless we have a show, there's really no need to do it.

Thank you, you couldn't have been more perfectly relevant.


Hey you're welcome dude.

If the songs are down, the role of practices either is to:

1. Refresh the band if they haven't played for 3-4 weeks.

2. Learn new songs.

Of course you could be riding the line between being in a band and not being in a band if you have no practices AND no gigs, but I'm getting the feeling that at least weekly practices are not necessary if the songs are down. You could opt for 1 hr every two weeks to go through the set.

Quote by Orryn
Perhaps you should research more on this matter and make an article?


Haha. Maybe. I don't want to put something out there that has heaps of kids now looking for an excuse not to practice. It's more an option for bands that already have the songs down as opposed to those who "think" they have the songs down if you know what I mean.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#5
Quote by AlanHB
Hey you're welcome dude.

If the songs are down, the role of practices either is to:

1. Refresh the band if they haven't played for 3-4 weeks.

2. Learn new songs.

Of course you could be riding the line between being in a band and not being in a band if you have no practices AND no gigs, but I'm getting the feeling that at least weekly practices are not necessary if the songs are down. You could opt for 1 hr every two weeks to go through the set.


Haha. Maybe. I don't want to put something out there that has heaps of kids now looking for an excuse not to practice. It's more an option for bands that already have the songs down as opposed to those who "think" they have the songs down if you know what I mean.


Hey, we need people who practice little to make us always-practice-people stand out and be more amazing.
#6
Quote by Orryn
Hey, we need people who practice little to make us always-practice-people stand out and be more amazing.


Hey you may be onto something there dude! Perhaps I'll write an article full of advice but logically argued, like "if someone tells you you need to get tighter, they obviously know nothing about music", and "you don't need a bassist, just turn the low end on your amp up!".
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#7
Quote by AlanHB
Hey you may be onto something there dude! Perhaps I'll write an article full of advice but logically argued, like "if someone tells you you need to get tighter, they obviously know nothing about music", and "you don't need a bassist, just turn the low end on your amp up!".



Good idea, it's like our own conspiracy!
#8
I agree with this thought process! My band had its first gig a week ago, and we have another gig in late february, but we've been lax on practice lately since we know that we have our songs down. We're writing 2 more songs and that's been the focus of our practices so far, then it will just be to run the set once or twice before the show, but it won't be as strict as us practicing 3 times a week just to get our first gig's songs down.
Quote by willT08
Quote by HowSoonisNow
How was Confucius death metal?
You've clearly never read any Confuscius.

As I wait on the edge of the earth,
I can see the walls being torn down again
Only to be rebuilt in another name,
On a different day
#9
Quote by AlanHB
\"you don't need a bassist, just turn the low end on your amp up!".


i knew it. I'll just keep playing the root and the fifth, and i'll whistle the rest of my solos~! thank you!
#10
When playing with your band you don't need to "practice". You can just play some songs for fun and jam. That's what I mostly do with my band. We have our own songs, haven't gigged yet but we are going to gig soon. But most of the time we just play some of our songs and start jamming, maybe play some covers that somebody (or everybody) in our band knows and others just start playing with him.

But yeah, this has happened with my school band projects. We have only like three songs that we are going to perform at school. We play them again and again and we are getting bored. Then somebody says that he doesn't want to play with us anymore. Then we start a new project and the same thing happens. But these school bands are nothing too serious. They are just one gig projects. Maybe we should start jamming with them too, not just practice the three songs that we are going to perform some day.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
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Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
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Yamaha P115
#11
Forget about practicing your songs.

Practice PERFORMING!!! And everything that goes along with it:

What you SAY on stage
How you MOVE
Where you WALK
Who you talk to AFTER the performance
WHEN you change songs/start songs/start the show
Where equipment is placed
What kind of decorations/effects are going on
What stuff you're selling
who is doing the selling for you
How you LOOK
How you ACT on stage


etc. etc. etc

THAT is what you practice with your band. Practicing the songs is what you do at home...

When I go to a show, I usually see one of two things:

1. a few guys standing around with their guitars playing music, maybe some nice effects or smoke is going on around them

2. a team of professional musicians each completely uniquely situated on stage, perfectly moving in synchronization with the music, but perhaps not all making the same motions, doing some kind of crazy stuff, with MAD effects going on, making the crowd go INSANE...

Here's the thing... you DONT have to be a 'pro' to make your shows be as great as the second example. All you have to do is THINK!

When someone goes to a show, they want to see you PERFORM!!! If they wanted to listen to your music, they'd just buy your record and listen to that. They don't care about the music. They care about YOU.

Maybe you can include this in your article.
Last edited by maltmn at Jan 31, 2012,
#12
^^^Well all those things are important too, I just thought that goes with the whole practicing thing. Maybe I've just been playing too long and taken it for granted. Looks like you guys are suggesting a "guide to practicing".

I'll disagree with your line "Practicing the songs is what you do at home..". I'd say LEARNING the songs is what you do at home, and you practice them together. Once it's down you can get frills on top.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#13
Probably needs to be stated, if it's not already implied, that there is a HUGE difference between practicing and rehearsals.

I'll use the RATM tribute I'm in for an example. When we started out and were picking out a set list of songs, we would practice twice and sometimes 3 times a week, to get the songs down and polish them, and then we'd add one more song every week until we had 3 hours of material. After doing this for some 3 months, we know the songs, we've played them in practice and gigs countless times. At that point we had perfected the songs as best we could.

This is where the rehearsal comes in. We then would book a gig, group message on facebook or something and each member would pick a song until we had the necessary length of a set for the gig booked. We'd then rehearse 2 days before or the night before. We'd work out song placement to strengthen the set, as well as grouping certain songs of the same tunings together, songs that ended allowing me the guitar player to tune for the next song while the rest of the band finished that current song, etc. We'd discuss what we were going to do performance wise at certain parts. Then we'd run through the set acting as if it were the gig. Practicing the stage presence, what we were going to say, etc. Then we would spot fix any particular parts that were issues that night. Then if we would run through it one more time, time allotting.

The thing is, everyone plays their instruments outside of band practice. If I messed up learning a new song, I'd go home and over the next few days perfect it. And at the same time, I still play a lot of the songs we have in our song bank. I love jamming out Rage all the time. So even songs we didn't play in a while in practice I still knew. And that is the same with the rest of the band.

Think about the big touring bands...do they practice their sets? No, but they generally have a rehearsal as or after their sound check.
#14
^^^ Looks like you've got it down dude. You learn the songs at home, get them together at practice. I guess a lot of beginner bands may overlook the whole setlist thing, or don't bother playing the songs as if they're playing the gig (ie. back-to-back, timing it) and end up in an awkward position when it actually comes time to play.

So if I'm understanding this correctly, most people here refer to "practice" as actually getting the songs together, and once the set is "practiced enough" (otherwise known as the songs are down), they "rehearse" which is playing the songs as if they were at a gig. Is this correct?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#15
Quote by AlanHB
So if I'm understanding this correctly, most people here refer to "practice" as actually getting the songs together, and once the set is "practiced enough" (otherwise known as the songs are down), they "rehearse" which is playing the songs as if they were at a gig. Is this correct?


thats the general idea..

think of a play with actors: they learn the parts at home, and then put it together during "practice"... but there's a whole other element - performance.

reciting is NOT the same as performing. when a band just "recites" their songs onstage at a show it really pisses me off lol this happens 98% of the time I watch people play onstage.

i want to see a PERFORMANCE. stuff actually HAPPENING that I get to SEE, not just hear. If I wanted to hear something, I'd download the music. but instead, I'm WATCHING them. like a TV show. like a movie. like a performance.

does that make sense?
#16
Quote by maltmn
does that make sense?


Yep that makes sense. For me it generally falls under "practice" but I see how the two are different.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#17
Interesting. I think there is a lot of relevance to this.

However, I do think if all the members of the band are still enjoying the practices then it's a great thing to continue doing so. Because there is having the song "down" and there is having it DOWN, if you dig? I mean you can tell a band that has played a few thousand times together, because there is a certain tightness, chemistry even, that I believe only comes from practising/playing an insane amount with each other....

But yeah, in most case people are going to get bored. Especially if you don't jam, and everything is structured. My band just run through the set, adjust little things for each gig, and then jam for a few hours. We all love it.

I think the ultimate development would come from playing a gig or two together every night, but then commitment comes in to play again...
#18
I think how much you "practice" or "rehearse" really depends on what your show is and what level of professionalism you are going for.

Let's look at the members of a symphony orchestra, they generally get one rehearsal before the show day. But the individual members practice daily or they wouldn't stay employed for long.

If you are a weekend warrior band playing once or twice a month how much rehearsal do you really need? Your stage show is limited, little or no FX or pyro, as an originals band your set is 50 minutes tops (usually less), etc.

My experience as the sound guy for touring shows is that stage productions were in constant rehearsals (Opera, Ballet, Circus, Musicals, Plays, etc). Bands? Not so much. They might want to try out a new gag ahead of the show or run through something that train wrecked at a previous show, but after initial rehearsals prior to the tour, they really didn't do that much during the actual tour besides their regular personal practice routines.

I believe for musicians that your personal daily practice is way more important than constant band rehearsals once you have the show down. But it really depends on what your show is, four to six people on stage playing a basic blues set or a "metal" act consisting mainly of headbanging might even suffer some of the spontaneity that the audience expects with too much rehearsal. Whereas something that is choreographed like Madonna, Justin Timberlake, etc. is going to have a ton more practice and ongoing rehearsals to pull off on stage three times a week.
If I miss one day of practice, I notice it.
If I miss two days, the critics notice it.
If I miss three days, the audience notices it.

Ignacy (Jan) Paderewski, 1860-1941
Concert Pianist

I can't believe I used the word "whereas" on a guitar forum post, I now have to hang my head in shame.
Last edited by Quintex at Feb 1, 2012,
#19
^^^ These examples can be likened to covers bands, where everyone can play with youtube at home, and when the band gets together, one runthrough is usually enough. In acoustic duos, often you don't even need to run through the song (as long as the key is fine). Or if anyone here has joined an established cover band, you're expected to do the 40 song cram in 2 weeks then pull them all off at the next practice (or in some cases, go straight to a gig). That practice at home is the most important part.

Although it could be argued that if you don't practice at home, well maybe you don't like guitar that much.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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