If youve just joined your first band or are thinking of starting a band up then there is certainly a lot to consider. What kind of music will you play? What instruments do you want in the band? Who do you want to play in your band? These are some of the most important things youll need to think of and decide for sure.
Im going to assume youve worked all these things out, so I thought with this article I would point out some of the things you can do during band practise to help the process go much more smoothly and make you a better musician when playing with other people.
It is certainly a skill to play music with other people. Some people are great at it and others like to have complete creative control over their musical output. Inevitably when playing in a band the music will end up as a collective effort, as opposed to a single composer. Neither approach is wrong or right, theyre just different ways of going about achieving the same goal.
When playing in a band youll need to be considerate of the other members.
To be successful in a band is much the same as being a success in any other small social situation, the golden rule is to treat others as you wish to be treated yourself. If youre easy to get on with and dont mind the odd compromise then your band will start putting out great music much more easily.
Here are my top tips for playing in a band.
Turn up on time. I would perhaps go as far to say this is the most important thing you can do.
Ive played with some great musicians in the past that couldnt get to practises on time. There is nothing worse than paying to hire a practise room and to have someone turn up half an hour late.
Remember that if youre late youre keeping three or four other people waiting for you.
No-one minds the odd one-off if youre stuck in traffic but consistent lateness will hurt the bands progress. Even if youre the best musician ever people wont want to play with you if youre always late.
Keep your practises focused. Im sure everyone is very impressed at your latest Van Halen lick but band practise isnt the time to show it off.
Ive been in countless bands where people play whatever is in their heads while were trying to talk about the song. It slows everything down and distracts you from your real goal, which is to write and perform your own tunes.
It may sound a bit authoritarian but by only playing what youre working on youll find it much more productive, and in the end, more enjoyable.
Bring everything you need, including spares. Ive been guilty of this in the past, having broken guitar strings during practise and not had any spare on me.
Before you leave for practise just double check you have everything. Nothing worse than having to go back home for spare picks or drum sticks.
If you can, record your practise. In the band Im playing in at the moment we record what weve worked on at the end of each practise. It gives us a week to listen over to the songs and come up with any new ideas for where it should go. It also helps you remember everything youve done as sometimes remembering structures to new songs can be tricky.
I really recommend recording it if you can, as it means that each band member can turn up to practise with the material fresh in their mind so you can get stuck right in. Even if it is only a cheap mic in the middle of the room it is still worth doing.
Be willing to try ideas. If someone suggest an idea for a song then try it.
The worst thing that can happen is that you come full circle and end up back where you started, but at least that way you know that youre playing the song as best as you can. There is nothing to be lost by giving an idea a quick try, even if you dont end up using the idea it can lead to a different direction that you wouldnt have thought of before.
All in all playing in a band is a really fun and rewarding experience. Hopefully Ive highlighted some things that can help you get the most out of your experience.
Remember to have fun with it and good luck writing some great music.
About the Author (text)Patrick is an expert researcher and writer in biographies, e-commerce, travel and airport hotels. Currently he is doing research in Travel Experiences (http://www.holidayextras.co.uk/gatwick-airport-parking.html)