As a musician, band practice becomes a frequent activity in your weekly program. In the beginning, it is normal to feel unsure and perhaps a bit insecure. As a beginner- or a non-experienced musician, we mostly learn accepted band rehearsal behavior from our music teachers or bandmates.
Here are 9 tips to take notice of that will help you make a great first impression:
Help to set up until everyone is ready
It normally works well to carry all the equipment into the room before anyone starts to set up the system. As a bassist, I only had to walk twice for my amp and guitar. I made it my job to also carry some of the sound speakers in too. The worst thing one can do is only to carry your own things and let others do all the heavy lifting.
Be considerate about saving space
Most band rooms are a tight fit. Depending on how many band members you are, be considerate of where you place your guitar case or drum covers. A golden tip is to plan who takes which space before packing out and setting up. Take notice of where the plugs are or where a table is for setting up the mixer.
Remember to balance the sound levels
Do whatever you can to keep your sound low. Only turn yourself a bit up when the band asks you to do so. Controlling the sound levels is a challenge for all, and having a considerate member makes the job easier. Think about turning your amp to only face you. Discuss this with the band until you found a level that suits everyone.
Arrive prepared and save time
This does not only refer to practicing your instrument but consider doing your vocal warm-up in the car on the way there. This saves some time and you will arrive feeling confident.
Be on time
This sounds like a cliche, but let’s look at it from another point of view: Not being on time means you don’t get to help with the setup and you might be the reason for the break being shortened or cut out to achieve the practice goals.
Give credit where due
When someone plays well or pulls out an impressive riff, tell them. Give your band members recognition and positive feedback on the performances. We are way too fast to be critical and we sometimes forget how much it means to someone to hear that they are doing it right. This attitude carries over to a positive interaction on stage where this particular band member will turn to you during this piece, remembering your appreciation.
Make eye contact and smile during practice
This shows everyone that you are open and having fun. The worst feeling is not knowing what your band members are thinking, and handing out a bit of openness and happiness relieves this feeling.
Use a split-up practice when you need it
If you feel that you only need to practice a certain part with another member, try to meet before or after practice or during the week. It helps to save time and it’s also good for band morale. A fantastic reason to see each other as well 🙂
Stay focused during practice
Any type of distractions should be put aside. Of course, it is possible for people to receive emergency calls during the worst possible time and we should be considerate to each other about this. Try to arrange a break after 45 mins so everyone can attend to what needs to be attended to. We normally say a smoke break is 7 minutes, so a 15-minute break is more than enough for everyone to do what is needed.
To wrap it up, I would also motivate you to use earplugs on a general basis. This is just a bonus tip. Your hearing needs to be protected. Experiment with using them in both ears or just in one. I experienced that my backing vocals improved when I wore them in comparison to not wearing them.
Have a great practice! You’ve got this 🙂