Top 5 band practice tips
Band practice is a creative process where each band member needs to be heard and amplified clearly. You need be able to communicate with everybody, no matter what size space you have to work in. Even if you only have an hour to practice, you can really use this time effectively and get some good work done. The best bands out there, are the ones that have put the effort in and really worked on their music, in order to get it slick and sounding together.
Practice is quality, not quantity
When you are practicing, it is not about slogging through each piece of music from beginning to end. Practice time is precious, especially if you are renting rehearsal space. Instead, play the bits of the music that need the work. Often the introductions, endings and codas need the most work in order to get the parts synchronized together. Rather than starting each song at the beginning, and working your way through, head straight to the problem passages. Break the music down into sections of a few bars if necessary, and repeat them several times until you have got this right. It is always worth practicing separately the transitions into bridges and solos too. Use these practice tips to get all the parts working together in harmony.
Make sure you can all be heard
One of the biggest challenges for bands is getting the levels right so that you can all be heard. If you are working with an acoustic drum kit, you will have to arrange amplification around this, as the noise levels cannot be changed. It is a shame to restrict drummers to playing with brushes, which happens a lot. It is worth investing in a quality audio interface to help with recording, and also to adjust the audio levels of your music if it isn’t quite balanced in your rehearsal space. If your band has electric guitars, make sure that the treble isn’t too high in the mix, otherwise it can be really overwhelming.
Make sure you can be seen
The drum kit generally takes up the biggest amount of space, so arrange your band around the drums. When you are practicing, make sure that you can all make eye contact with each other - don’t arrange your instruments so that you are playing to the imaginary front. A band practice isn’t about pretending that you are playing to a live audience. It is about getting to know each other's style of playing and getting to know your instruments. Make sure that you have a clear way of communicating between each others tempo, dynamics and any changes in the music.
Band practice is not a time to learn the song
Don't waste time and frustrate other band members by trying to learn your songs during the rehearsal. Learning songs should be done at home. Concentrate on ironing out the musical issues between band members at band practices. This is a much better use of your bands time (and money in most cases as bands usually pay for rehearsal rooms).
Make it regular
Try and arrange your band practice regularly and you will see changes in the quality of your playing and performance quickly. It will help you to all understand each other’s parts and how you all fit together. You will soon be sounding completely in harmony.