When I was just starting to play in rock bands and learning how to be a good live musician, I absolutely loved band practice. Hanging out with the guys and learning how to play together as a band was such a great rush. We’d play and talk about music and pig out on junk food. It was great! Over the years though, band practice has become more and more of a burden. It’s not very convenient and once you play live in front of a live audience, practice just doesn’t compare for getting a rush.
That being said, I’ve realized that band practice doesn’t have to be a drag. In fact we musicians should go out of our way to make sure that band practice stays light and fun. If you don’t, then nobody is going to want to come to practice. Band practice is a bad place to start briging out criticism and arguments. Band practice is also a bad place to discuss business as well. You want to save those things for when you have a band meeting. You want to make sure that band practice stays fun!
There are some things you should be doing at band practice. You should always have some sort of goal such as learning new songs or preparing for an upcoming gig. If you have a goal it will help keep you focused and working on something. If you actually accomplish something at band practice that will keep you motivated to keep having band practice. So it’s a good thing to be prepared to be productive. This will increase the fun factor because you won’t have to slave away as hard learning songs or preparing for your gigs if you come to practice with the songs learned and some idea of what you’re going to do at your gig.
You also need to plan on having some fun at practice. Set aside some time before you start playing to sit around and talk. It’s good for the band to catch up on things and share some funny stories. Just remember to keep it light and don’t waste the whole evening chatting. When you start practicing, focus on what you’re doing. Hopefully everyone came to practice prepared with their parts so you can knock out the work quickly and efficiently. It’s never fun for members to sit around waiting for someone to learn a new song at practice. So make sure you learn your parts before you come to practice. It’s really fun to knock out a new song quickly. There’s still a rush when you play a new song together as a band and it sounds great right when you start rehearsing it. That increases the fun factor.
Finally after you’ve finished working on your new material and prepping for the upcoming gig. Spend some time jamming, play a few songs just for fun. It’s fun to just goof around on some songs you’d probably never play live. One thing my band Shufflin’ Noah does after practice is over is to play some video games together. It’s always relaxing and fun to hang out and just play some games. Maybe your band could play poker and knock back some brews. That stuff is perfect for after practice and it’s going to make everyone want to come to practice again the following week.
So remember, keep practice fun and your band will just keep getting better and better because everyone will want to practice regularly.