Rehearsals are the life-blood of a band. Whether you’re neophyte players in the garage or a bunch of A-listers in the studio reading down a chart, you want to get the song down so it sounds great as quickly as possible. Here are 4 band rehearsal tips from my How To Make Your Band Sound Great book that any band can use to not only make that song sound better than ever, but also do it in the most expeditious manner possible. It doesn’t matter what the instrumentation is, or what kind of music you play – these tips are universal.
1. When your first learning a song, stop as soon as there’s a train wreck and work it out. Talk it over to see what everyone is playing, then play just that part until you get it. Sometimes the problem may be in the middle or end of a section, so if you’re able to play just that section, great. It’s pretty easy to work out. Most bands just can’t get into it unless you start four bars before or even at the beginning of the section to work it out. Whatever it takes to make things sound great!
Remember, one of the most powerful questions to use in this situation is, “How are you playing that?”
2. Find the hardest part of the song and concentrate on that first. Slow it down to where it’s easy to play, then bring it up to speed when everyone can play it cleanly.
3. Sometimes it’s best to start with the chorus, especially the out-chorus, since it usually repeats. It’s the section of the song that you’ll play the most anyway and probably has a hook so it’s easy to remember. Starting with the chorus can give you confidence about playing a difficult song.
Once the band knows the form and can make it through the song, then come back and work on the things talked about below.
4. It’s The Little Things That Count
As we’ve been saying throughout this book, it’s the little things, the nuances, that take your band to another level. They’re what make you sound great. We’ve talked about these things before, but let’s list them again, because these are the things that you’ve got to have down.
- You know the part inside out
- The turnaround between song sections is defined.
- You know the dynamics of the song
- All rhythms are in the pocket and the song grooves
- Attacks and releases for each part are worked out
- All the sounds are layered so nothing clashes either rhythmically or frequency-wise
- All vocals are in the best range for the singers
- Background vocals are defined and tight
These are the things that you should be concentrating on during band rehearsal, not so much your individual parts. Or, if you must learn your parts at rehearsal, make one rehearsal for the parts and the next for the nuances, but don’t take the song out of the room until you’ve got both down cold!
To read additional excerpts from How To Make Your Band Sound Great and my other books, go to the excerpts section of bobbyowsinski.com.