Steel Notes Magazine December 2016 - Page 44

Steel Notes Magazine December 2016 Bandleader It’s More Work Than I Thought – A Place to Practice by Daniel Diefenderfer -- Bandleader for Dutch’s Basement Blues Band What I really mean is a place to rehearse. Technically practice is what each band member should be doing on their own to learn their part in the ensemble. That can be done anywhere from sitting on the porch to sitting on the…you get the idea. Rehearsal is when the band gets together to learn how to play their parts together as an ensemble. This is when the show is created, developed, and learned. Each player comes away from a rehearsal with what they should practice individually. Notice I did not say polished or tightened that actually evolves from playing out. Ok enough semantics what you need is a space that the whole band can play in on a regular basis. This can easily be the hardest piece of the puzzle and one of the most important. If one member of the band has a home studio that may be the practice space you need. A space in someone’s home is certainly the best solution even if it isn’t a studio because it is free and at least one person doesn’t have to haul gear. Since you are the bandleader you should seriously consider it being your house if you have one. Clean out all that stuff you’ve been storing in the basement or garage forever and you will find that you have more space than a lot of venues offer your band to perform in. Other options include renting a space; many studios will rent you practice space or just find a space for rent. This is the least desirable option because of the overhead involved. Your band hasn’t even begun earning money yet and may not for a while. Try to avoid this expense there will be plenty of others you will need to deal with without worrying about meeting the rent. You can beg a space by finding someone who has space but doesn’t use it during certain times or doesn’t mind a band coming in and making loud music in the space they use for something else like storage or a compatible business. Try to find a warehouse, garage, green house etc. owner who is a music lover. Social engineer a bar owner, coffee shop manager, theater operator or the like into letting you rehearse in their place or back room during slow times. Use your imagination and social skills and you should be able to acquire a space to rehearse your act. 44 Steel Notes Magazine It still needs to satisfy certain criteria: Is it conveniently located for the other members of the band to get there? If you make people travel too far, fight traffic, jump through hoops to park, or enter perilous areas they are not going to be eager to show up regularly. Is it available on a regular basis? Weekly at best, practicing once a week is optimal. That means the band members must make themselves available too. Long term availability must also be considered. You don’t want to have the rug pulled out from under you just as things get going. Does it accommodate your sound level? I’m trying to avoid the word noise but a band practicing with drums and instruments at performance levels makes a lot of it. And retakes and mistakes get irritating to non-band people. That includes significant others, neighbors, pets, and any humans in earshot. Can you store stuff there? Keeping the PA, Drums, and Amps etc. set up or at least stored on the premises saves valuable setup time for rehearsing. Convenience also makes it more likely the band members will reliably show up. Don’t forget to arrange something to record your sessions, this is essential to recall past rehearsal points and to let you hear what your band really sounds like. Amenities: least important but the more comfortable a place is the better. Room temperature, Bio breaks, refreshments, pleasant surroundings. The coolness factor has its benefits. More work than you thought huh? A lot goes into having a place to rehearse but it is one of the most important things that will enable you to put a band together, develop a professional show, and keep the band together and performing over time. Next time: Gear