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Rehearsing without entire band

lhrocker

Member
Messages
116
Not sure if this is the right forum, but it had to do with playing. Please move if necessary.

So do you normally cancel rehearsals if one of the band members can't make it? It seems that when someone can't make rehearsals, especially the singer, no one wants to rehearse? I think that there is no reason to miss a rehearsal if one member can't make it. It's toughest with the drummer, but if you have a drum machine or a midi backing track, you can get by.

It seems that the singer can say she can't make it and we should rehearse without her, and I agree, but rest of the band doesn't think it's a good idea. Or if one of the guitarists can't make it, or bassist, then the rehearsal is off.

I think it's a good idea to rehearse regardless as it can prepare you for gig disasters and you don't depend so much on hearing each other such as vocal monitors die, amps stop working, electronic drums, when used, cut out.

Am I being too serious about this as this bothers me? What does your band do?
 

Floyd Eye

Senior Member
Messages
13,838
I guess to me it would depend on how well you guys already know the material. If there is a lot of stuff you are working on I would want to rehearse anyway. If it's the same stuff you guys have been doing for months or years maybe not.
 

mattball826

Senior Member
Messages
20,798
BEST IDEA-

Record your band's songs live rehearsal all on separate tracks. Even if there is mic bleed no big deal.

Mix your songs so each player has the band mix without that player's instrument and vocals (if applicable).

This method works great. Great for just practice at home or anywhere. Never miss a rehearsal that way.

I recorded our entire live shows on the XR18. Mixed them down for the guys. They love it. I was even able to compensate for the drummer tempo when he gets amped up.
 

Phletch

Senior Member
Messages
9,896
I guess it depends on how often your band rehearses and how often one or more member(s) don't show. You might need to sit down together and reevaluate the rehearsal schedule and/or the overall necessity to rehearse as an entire band. If you all feel that it's important for everybody to be there and it's one or two people who tend to miss more than others, reevaluate their commitment.
 

NashSG

Member
Messages
3,719
It probably depends on if you want to make music or not. The couple cover bands I messed around with treated practice like Kryptonite anyway.

I'd rather make music than not myself and being someone who really only gets to play once a week outside the house, I don't like missing the opportunity as life is short. If the drummer can't play in my band, if my guitarist is into playing, we go ahead and work on stuff. Sometimes we jam with a drum machine, sometimes we work on some tunes to work on vocals and some times we go back through the jam tapes and try to turn stuff into a demo.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,498
It depends on the band. Typically, no, if someone can't make it, there's plenty we can work on without that person. Sometimes you discover that folks don't know how the tunes go without the cues provided by vocals, or whatever, and that's good to know. Or, that someone's time is bad without the drummer. Or, that everyone's time is better without the missing person. All of these are useful things to discover. Whether you do anything with that knowledge is a different matter, but it can start the ball rolling.
 

slybird

Member
Messages
6,463
I have rehearsal every Sunday at the same time regardless who or how many band members show up. We (I) do this for fun. It's a 2-4 hour escape from home and a chance to make some noise. It is always more fun to play music with a full band, but a missing person will not stop me.

If someone in the band is making practice less enjoyable for everyone else by continually not showing up I will replace them or rearrange the material so we can do without that instrument.

If the rest of the band continually doesn't want to get together because one person couldn't show up then I say F it. In that case I'll dissolve the entire band and start hunting for new members.
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,481
I've been involved with rehearsals structured like orchestra sectionals. Rhythm section rehearsal. Backing vocal rehearsal. Stringed instruments / keys rehearsal. Intros, endings, & tempo rehearsal. These days I mostly do what's known as the no rehearsal.

Sometimes you discover that folks don't know how the tunes go without the cues provided by vocals, or whatever, and that's good to know.

Excellent point. Came in to say that practicing sans lead vocal is great because it's a gauge on whether or not folks know, or better yet, feel the song form, which has much to do with dynamics, pacing and conviction of performance.
 

gixxerrock

Member
Messages
3,952
There can be a lot of value practicing with members missing. Sometimes a full band at volume masks all kinds of problems. Fix the problems and everything will sound better.

Simplifies mix so parts can be heard more clearly, it gives good perspective on the arrangement and how, parts fit together.

Forces members to up their game, rhythmically, melodically, knowing the song and giving the song energy.
 

katuna

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,868
I'm willing to do whatever. I have practiced alone with the drummer, alone with the bass player and even alone with the singer (though that really means we're writing, not rehearsing). I enjoy practicing and want to do it as much as possible. Our bass player does fine with very little rehearsing, so I don't worry if he misses.
 

don carney

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,372
We often practice missing a band member. In that case we work on different parts of songs although we always play a few songs all the way through for fun. Sometimes we work on just vocals-no instruments. Sometimes we work on difficult changes - working out bass, lead, and rhythm parts. I keep notes after a gig of what went well and what went not so well and use that as part of the practice discussion. Some like to practice and some do not. Flexibility has kept the band together for 7 years.
 

lhrocker

Member
Messages
116
Thanx for all the info. I think if we put aside time for rehearsal, then we should rehearse regardless of who's there. We probably need a band meeting to sort this out.
 

Will Box

Member
Messages
123
Of course we dont cancel band practice when someone cant show. We go to the pub, drink a couple of beers and send silly text messages to the missing person. This band has been together for 25 years, I am the new guy with only 16 years service.
Relax, playing in a band is should be fun. If it aint, then dont do it.
 

ElectroDux

Member
Messages
744
We have done a lot of rehearsing without a full band. The second lead singer (yes we have two) and the bass player are the main ones that miss practice and we often do without them. We have done drummerless practices either acoustically (which is great way to work our harmonies and parts without effects to hide behind) or with the drum tracks from the studio isolated. I am happy to rehearse with any sort of line up there is always something to work on.
 

Yer Blues

Member
Messages
8,959
Last rehearsal with the main cover band I play with was probably 3-4 months ago. The singer, who also plays acoustic, couldn't make it so the drummer, bassist (who also sings), and myself (guitar) got together to go over the five songs we agreed to learn. We nailed the five songs, but ended up only keeping 3 on the setlist (two of which the bassist sings). We were also able to tighten up some rough spots musically. It was worthwhile, but not as worthwhile as if the singer was there though.

The singer and bassist also have an acoustic duo that gigs a couple times a month. They play a lot of the same stuff and this has helped them work out the vocal harmonies. I will sit in with them sometime for a set or two... I think it helps the band as playing together never hurts, but it's kind of weird because while we are playing some of the same songs we're playing different parts since it's all acoustic.
 

jamme61

The Toxic State
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,571
Horrible memory no bass player at band practice. At the time we thought no big deal, we can still go over everything - it sucked - hate to admit it missed the big guy lol
 

stratotastic

Senior Member
Messages
7,239
When we first started out we would get together regardless of who could make it. That sort of tapered off once our catalog was big enough. Now we just get together if we need to go over new stuff or are significantly changing something up, but if it doesn't happen, oh well...
 

Fatboy666

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,753
Usually if most can be there we will rehearse. We'll go over harmonies or arrangements or that one chord I keep playing wrong that drives the bass player crazy :) More often than not we'll learn some new songs and tell the missing band members so they can learn them for next time.
 

ripgtr

Member
Messages
10,559
I was in one band for 9 years, we rehearsed every Thursday morning at 11 am, if we were in town. We were full time though.
It was rare but occasionally one of the guys couldn't make it. There was always stuff to work on, harmony parts, or start working on a new sond (all 5 sang lead, so there was always a backlog of new stuff to learn). There is Always something to work on.
But this wasn't get together to play rehearsal. Drummer used a electronic set, we ran bass guitars and keys through his studio monitors, we were quiet enough to be able to sing without mics most of the time.
Other bands, it was so rare for someone to miss, I don't remember, but yea, we would work on something.
 






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