Successful Rehearsals

Q: Do You have any advice for how to lead a successful rehearsal?

A: I assume you’re asking specifically about leading an efficient and productive rehearsal.

What I would suggest is to map out your game plan beforehand:

  1. Make a list of the tunes you want to work on
  2. Make a sub-category of specific things in each song that may require attention (or at least what to mention to the guys about each tune (i.e.: “Remember that there’s no repeat on the A section on the head out” type stuff).
  3. Record the rehearsal so you can go back and reference it and really hear what’s working and what’s not without the distraction of playing or trying to lead everyone. Use this to make notes for the next rehearsal as to what to really focus on.
  4. If there are multiple soloists in the band, try and decide beforehand who will solo on what tunes (and on which sections).
  5. Make a song list (or set list) with key signatures, tempos and soloists listed for each tune.
  6. Encourage the drummer to bring a metronome so you can pull up the tempo of each tune before starting (or use the rehearsal to decide on what tempo each song should be and write them down!)
  7. Don’t allow drugs or alcohol during the rehearsal. Nothing can kill time like a party atmosphere during rehearsal. Make it clear that this is work time (don’t be too agro about it, but just keep a professional air about you and lead by example).
  8. Snacks and/or water, coffee, sodas, etc. can go a long way in making everyone happier to be rehearsing and also make them be respectful of your time and energy.

That’s really about it. The rest is up to you and the guys involved. If everyone is serious and focused, it’ll move right along and you’ll get a lot done. If not, you may want to make sure that your priorities are in line with the guys in your band (and if they’re not, maybe consider some different players?).

Hope that helps! Last point, make sure to have fun! It’s possible to lead the rehearsal in a pro and efficient way and still make it fun.

Have a question for Damian Erskine? Send it to [email protected]. Check out Damian’s instructional books, Right Hand Drive and The Improviser’s Path.

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  1. Voytek

    another words – come prepared!