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Group rehearsals - what's most efficient ?

Les B 01 Jun 99 - 01:32 AM
campfire 01 Jun 99 - 10:26 AM
Paul G. 01 Jun 99 - 10:58 AM
puzzled 01 Jun 99 - 08:47 PM
SeanM 02 Jun 99 - 05:25 PM
LEJ 02 Jun 99 - 06:27 PM
Paul G. 02 Jun 99 - 06:56 PM
SueH 03 Jun 99 - 07:47 AM
Les B 03 Jun 99 - 01:05 PM
Colonel KC 03 Jun 99 - 09:58 PM
DonMeixner 03 Jun 99 - 11:05 PM
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Subject: Group rehearsals - what's most efficient ?
From: Les B
Date: 01 Jun 99 - 01:32 AM

Hopefully I'm not repeating something that's been posted in the past. Anyway, how do those of you who play in small groups organize your rehearsals ?? Our little group (five people - fiddle, banjo, two guitars and stand-up bass - all do vocals) has been floundering lately between trying to learn new material and keep up the chops on songs we've learned. What works with you ?

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Subject: RE: Group rehearsals - what's most efficient ?
From: campfire
Date: 01 Jun 99 - 10:26 AM

Hey, Les, if you can get all five people to show up for a rehearsal, you're doing SOMETHING right!!!

The only groups I've played with have been "just for fun", so maybe this isn't applicable, but we would start an evening with "comfortable stuff", then, if someone had something new to work on we'd do that for awhile - I can't remember ever starting more than 2 brand new pieces on any given night, but then, like I said, we played just for fun. If nobody brought something new, we probably had a piece or few we'd started before but hadn't really worked out.

It seems we'd work our way from "new" through "we need a little work on this" to "could we do this a little different" back to the old favorites by the end. Maybe we were all a little lazy...but we had fun!


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Subject: RE: Group rehearsals - what's most efficient ?
From: Paul G.
Date: 01 Jun 99 - 10:58 AM

I play in a band with up to 6 folks, non of whom with the exception of my wife and myself live in the same town. Our membership actually spans 200 miles along Florida's east coast, so it's absolutely necessary for us to be as efficient as possible with the little rehersal time we actualy have. What worls well, at least for us, is exchanging tapes. Two of us in the group write the group's original material. New songs are distributed to all on cassette and each person is on their own to develop their part. We then woodshed the details when we are able to get together. We are also constantly updating our presentation of our old standby's, which are also exchanged on tape. We are also fortunate that our basic styles and musical instincts are very similar and we've been able to avoid petty artistic squabbles. One of our unspoken rules is that the person who either writes or introduces a tune to the group owns the arrangement and direction rights to the song, even though we all get to put our individual ideas to the test. This whole process works very well for us even though we may only formally regerse once every 4 to 6 weeks.

Good Luck! Paul G.

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Subject: RE: Group rehearsals - what's most efficient ?
From: puzzled
Date: 01 Jun 99 - 08:47 PM

i have a trio. We are serious about developing our performance skills and increasing our repetoire. Since i am the only on who sings most songs are chosen by me. any of us can bring in an instrumnental to learn. A tape exchange is the way we introduce new songs to each other.
We rehearse at least once a week. We start by playing a tune that we already know as review and to get warmed up. If there are any older (to us) tunes that we haven't played in a while but are going to do on an upcoming gig we do those next.
This is followed by tunes that we are trying to polish or tunes that one of us has had a new arrangement idea on. This is the longest part of our rehearsal. Talking is kept to a minimum. We break the songs down into short sections and work with a metronone, criticise, make suggestions, improvise, experiment, etc.
We end our rehearsals (usually 2 to 2 1/2 hours) by playing for the first or second time together new songs we are going to learn. or jamming on new compositions. or exploring new twists to songs we all know but have never played together.
We are very lucky in that we get along very well. We never argue even when we have different opinions. We have always let audience satisfaction be our foremost concern. And have occassionally played tunes to see how the audience will respond. Letting their response settle differences.
the hardest part for us is the lack of time to chat. We are serious about the music and seldom have a chance to see each other in a social setting that allows us to visit. Even business conversation takes place mostly by email so as not to distract from the rehearsal. We always like it if we can travel to gigs together (seldom) because then we can talk going and returning.

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Subject: RE: Group rehearsals - what's most efficient ?
From: SeanM
Date: 02 Jun 99 - 05:25 PM

I'm part of a five to seven person group who are also separated by about 600 miles geographically. We tend to dedicate entire weekends to rehearsals, with a split between new material and old, with the amount depending on how much we're using for any upcoming gig. Recently, we've been working on 3 new songs, and several of our older ones REALLY need the work, so we've kind of 'back-burnered' our tighter numbers, only really working them in about once every 2-3 rehearsals.

I'd opine that the emphasis should depend on what needs work. Sometimes a new song works incredibly well in a short time, and sometimes they take months. It's a case by case.


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Subject: RE: Group rehearsals - what's most efficient ?
From: LEJ
Date: 02 Jun 99 - 06:27 PM

Paul G, I can only imagine being as organized as your band. My five-piece group gets together once a week, and often there will only be four of us there. Currently, we are having some arguments about how structured we should be: we are primarily a Blues band that specializes in extended guitar and harp jams, and we really enjoy the spontaneity and improvisation of that style. It is, however, quite easy to let this improvisation turn into aimless wandering when playing in front of an audience.

We also have a wide age disparity in our band, from 28 to 53 years old (the two guitar players), so tastes and stylings tend to be quite diverse: Pretty Woman was done by Roy Orbison and Van Halen, and we do both versions simultaneously.

We spend about 1/3 of our practice working on new stuff, about 1/3 tightening up old stuff, and about 1/3 talking about band business, practicing harmonies, etc. I think Paul's tape idea is a great one for original material, and I'm going to suggest it to the group.


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Subject: RE: Group rehearsals - what's most efficient ?
From: Paul G.
Date: 02 Jun 99 - 06:56 PM

LEJ-- I just went back to review my previous post in order to figure out how you arrived at my being "organized". I noticed that I used the word "regerse" in the last sentence. That's a Floridian combination word for regurgitate (sp?) and reherse. How's that for organization! Actually the tape deal works really well for us. Al and I are currently co-writing a tune by tape (swapping verses). Now if I could just get that bi-polar version of "Pretty Woman" out of may head...


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Subject: RE: Group rehearsals - what's most efficient ?
From: SueH
Date: 03 Jun 99 - 07:47 AM

How do you manage when there is such a distance between you all? We find it hard enough living in a 20 mile radius! The biggest difficulty comes with working around other commitments, although we try for a practice once a week. Sometimes this takes place at our local session, where fortunately no-one seems to mind. How practices are comprised tends to depend on whether or not there's a gig looming! If not, it's practice on existing songs & tunes, suggestions for anything new, etc. New stuff means taking away a tape plus sheet music if available, trying it out & then seeing how it goes at the next practice. After that, working out arrangements for the various instruments, etc., & making 'fine adjustments'. The back to the practice bit! Quite a lot of time can be taken up discussing arrangements or deciding on sets for a new gig, depending on where & what it is.


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Subject: RE: Group rehearsals - what's most efficient ?
From: Les B
Date: 03 Jun 99 - 01:05 PM

Some good ideas here ! Those of us in our group who have computer/printers are now printing up lyric sheets with chords whenever possible. This saves some wheel spinning. The idea of taping the music seems like it could be a big time saver for working out instrumental breaks and vocal harmonies. It just remembering to haul out the old "tune sucker" and get a tape in it !

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Subject: RE: Group rehearsals - what's most efficient ?
From: Colonel KC
Date: 03 Jun 99 - 09:58 PM

I've taken to keeping my bands songlist on a database which includes my opinion as to how well we know it. At the reharsal, if there is a disagreement about the song's condition, we play it until it gets better. Unless we're putting sets together for a gig, we work on the ones that need to get better, rotating whose choice for the next song, until we get tired of the regimen and we start fooling around with new songs. If we like them I add them to the bottom of the list and let them work their way up.

I'm curious about you all with 600 mile rides to rehearsal. I do 110 miles round trip, which is as much as I can handle on a Monday Night!

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Subject: RE: Group rehearsals - what's most efficient ?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 03 Jun 99 - 11:05 PM


Your outfit sounds like mine. We are an Irish band thats been around for 30 years. We are all withn 25 miles of each other and we devote one nite a week to rehearseal. Devote is the big word. We work 7 -9:30 every monday. One person is the practice master. He calls the tunes when we play as well. Of the five of us three have specific jobs. I am the historian and generally the arranger of tunes. The bass player, Jim, is the tune caller and practice master and Bill, is the front man and band spokesman and he also runs the book. When a new song is introduced the guy bringing in the tune also brings in the lyrics and a basic arrangement which I tweak or leave alone. Jim decides how much work it needs and when to call it in to the ply list. We all try to remember specific songs that were less than stellar in our last gig and we work on them in practice. We also tend to break up in thirds like you(LEJ) do.


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