I got into an ongoing disagreement with my musical partner of 20 years last night and I wanted to share my observation (and rant) on what I feel has always been a problem in almost every band I have ever been in.
We were supposed to be putting together two new songs last night. We had previous discussions on what songs we wanted to add to our repertoire, what key would work best and talked about a basic arrangement. I then went home and got an MP3 of the songs and emailed them along with the lyrics to my partner. That was done about two weeks ago. When we got together last night to rehearse, it became painfully obvious that my partner (who sings and plays drums) had not learned the songs at all. Maybe I was just in a pissed off mood to start with but I explained that I was very unhappy and felt I had wasted my night getting together to rehearse when I was the only one ready to rehearse. My partner said “That’s why it’s called practice. If we knew the songs, we wouldn’t be here doing this.” I packed up without further argument and explained that I didn’t want to discuss this any further. If this was an isolated incident it might be tolerated but this has been the same scenario for many years.
Am I crazy? Does your band “practice” to learn the songs together or “rehearse” to tighten up the songs that the entire band has already taken time to learn? Am I making too much out of this? It always seems like there is at least one in every band that has this attitude. How do you deal with it?
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I've always been of the philosophy that band members should do their homework and acquaint them selves with the material. The logistics of scheduling practice or rehearsal or whatever you want to call it is tough enough without things coming to a screeching halt when a musician doesn't even know their part.
Yeah I'm with you on this Rick, if I had a bandmate do/say that I would probably leave the band/kick the person out. Imo, it's a horrible way to approach band practice.
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BAND practice. not individual practice. Individual practice is at home, band practice is at the jam space
He is wasting your time it's fine if there's certain parts someone is unsure of and would like to smooth it out with the band but the bulk of the song should be learned. Maybe for some bands that works but for me I don't feel I should learn the song front to back then come in and babysit everyone and hold their hands through it.

Getting together for practice can be tough and it almost always involves sacrificing a night. If your band members don't respect your time and energy that is a problem, especially if it's been going on for a long time. I'd probably be a bit upset as well.
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You are right. I've always distinguished between practice which is what you do on your own and rehearsal where you need the rest of the band. Practice for a new song involves maybe listening to the song, working out the part for your instrument, learning arrangements, lyrics etc.

At rehearsal you need to all bring what you have and put it together and see if it will work. If you bring nothing then you won't know if it will work. You are basically saying the rest of you who have learned their parts will now have to sit around whilst I learn my bit.

Mind you, 20 years is a long time. So he may be irritating and lazy but musical partners aren't always easy to find. He might be worth hanging on to for a bit longer.

Good luck
A very common problem. Getting agreement to learn the material on your own. Getting agreement to leave a little room in every song to take on the vibe and character of the band. Getting agreement to rehearse new material together and work on the finer points to make it tight. These are the negotiating points and battle lines that make or break any band.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
For me personally, knowing the songs before prac is mandatory. So I don't think you are in the wrong, but perhaps you can make it clearer this is how you'd like things to run.

Band practice is to get the band tight, arrangement of the songs and to check out whether the parts you wrote at home work. So prac shouldn't be the first time you encounter a song.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Last edited by AlanHB at Mar 24, 2016,