How To Have Productive Rehearsals

I am sure that anyone who started a band and feels unsatisfied with the results after
rehearsals will find something useful in this article, since I wrote it from
experience of having two, and even three bands at the same time, and many rehearsals. For
some time there were always inevitable ups and downs with rehearsing, but with time I
managed to ensure that the rehearsals I had were always as productive as they
possibly could be.

Before the rehearsal

You should learn to play on your own time all the parts or songs you have planned for
rehearsals, and along with a metronome. Be self-critical, to avoid making mistakes that
you won't be able to fix on the spot later on. Prepare all your ideas and write them
out or record them, and even send them to your band peers, so they could be prepared for what you're about to work on. If you have some solo spots, make sure that you
don't look for notes, or options, of how to play them at the rehearsal. That really should
be done at home. Make a loop of chord progressions you have to solo on and hit it.
The only exception to this should be a complexly constructed solo that involves the entire
band, though, that can be worked on alone as well. If you have in mind to write new
songs at rehearsal, get enough sleep and try to warm up beforehand, if you have time.
Don't be late for rehearsals, especially if you pay for rehearsal time, have respect
for the time of everyone else in the band, and they will respect yours. Also try to make
sure you take care of all important phone calls and potential distractions before
the rehearsals, as well as other basic stuff such as changing strings and such. And of course, don't go to rehearsals drunk or under some other influence.

During the rehearsal

The worst thing that could happen at a rehearsal is when someone arrives in a really bad
mood. It reflects on everyone else, and the music itself. If everything irritates
you, find real reasons for that, and calm down. Don't snap at your band peers,
because they might not be the source of your bad mood. Negative energy issues can be
a real band-breakers.

Set up your sound. I suggest you study the physical nature of the sound of your
instrument, and learn how to make a great sound for rehearsals. Make sure you don't play too loudly. If you can't hear yourself well, and you hear that you're in balance with the drums, lower the other instruments, or adjust your frequency conigurations. Sometimes more noise occurs due to bad equilizer settings than from loud playing. Make sure you're aware of how to get a good sound, or have someone set it up for you. Have this problem fixed in the beginning because otherwise it will drive you to deafness and uncreativity.

When you're working on your new stuff, be open to everyone's opinion, even if
your're about to play the song you wrote yourself. Have everyone put a part of
themselves in the song and listen to everyone's idea, because they just might
provide a bit to the song that you might have missed or hadn't thought of before
yourself. When some band members have to work on the part they play together and
that doesn't involve you, don't make noise with your instrument, you'll distract
them a lot, and it can get on a nerve easily. Rather think about other ideas you can
provide for the song.

Always. ALWAYS stop whatever you're doing if you get some really great idea, and
write it out or record it immediately, because no matter how good it might be, there
is an enormously big chance that you will forget it. Don't allow yourself that. I
lost few of ideas that way, and I totally regret it. It is also advisable to record
your whole rehearsal in some way, especially if you're making new songs on the spot.
You might find lots of potential material on those recordings.

When you have fully practiced a song with your band, and it is technically ready,
don't keep playing it while standing still and not moving at all, or even worse, not moving
and only looking at your guitar. Jump, move, dance, give your peers a deadly eyelook,
play with your guitar behind your back, play with your guitar on the floor, play
with your teeth, with your tongue, whatever. You should get to the point where you actually don't even think about what you play. When you are playing live, there is a certain problem that surfaces if you don't heed what I just wrote, and it's more common if you play energetic music. The problem is that when you play live, you turn the crowd on, and when you turn the crowd on, they turn you on even more, and you wanna do all the things you should've done
and practiced at rehearsals, but you won't be able to do them, or you will do them,
but make tons of mistakes.

Turn of your lights and set up a small light show for your rehearsals. Get into it like you're on stage, in front of thousands of people! You'll find this very interesting and amusing, and it will spare you from all the bad things you might experience on stage. Even choreograph your live shows if necessary, and go into detail. See what might happen on stage, and try to work it
out at rehearsals, before unwanted consequences surface.

I also advise you to squeeze all you can from your rehearsal time. Don't go in
senseless jams (unless you know for sure they'll benefit your band), don't have
a cigar every five minutes, don't get stuck in some non-music related chats for too
long, don't take long breaks (though they are useful sometimes, when you go way
over the top and it really doesn't make sense to push yourself too much, because
nothing creative will happen) and most importantly, don't wander off with your
thoughts. Be there 120%, or at least 100%, and you'll notice the difference.

After the rehearsal

If you have the time, go for a drink with your peers and talk about everything
you've done at rehearsals. Review all your ideas, and talk about what you could do
next. Give yourselves some directions for the upcoming rehearsals. Fix all the other
problems you have between yourselves right at this time, and not during future rehearsals. And have a good time, establishing great personal relationships. If you enjoy being with
your band outside the band, you will enjoy it even more when you're in the band - and
everyone who'll hear or see your band will notice. It will play a big factor in your

Josip Pesut is a guitarist, composer, songwriter and arranger from Zagreb, Croatia.

Besides diverse musical influences, especially guitar virtuosos and video game music, there were vast symbolic impacts on his urge and ways to self-express, found in his very life. Artists who have influenced Pesut include Nobuo Uematsu, Chuck Schuldiner, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani.

Josip enjoys working relationships with many musicians, locally and worldwide. The ability to pour his inspiration into all genres of music has driven him to share musical ideas with a wide sphere of pop, rock and metal musicians.

Josip Pesut