Practice, Rehearsal and Performance Are Three Different Things, Pt. II


This is where the practice pays off and the fun begins. Here a group of musicians meet and actually play their music together. The chosen songs are played and ideally, everyone tries to make what they do as individuals contribute to an overall group sound.

Listening to one another – not only to the musical parts each person plays, but to the creative ideas and constructive suggestions they contribute – is the key to having a productive rehearsal. Rehearsals are usually best conducted at low volumes (even for death metal bands) so that players can talk to one another without having to shout over blaring amps or crashing cymbals. High volumes contribute to fatigue and irritability, and really aren’t necessary at rehearsal. You know what you sound like loud – save it for the stage.

At rehearsal players figure out how to present a song to the best of their collective abilities. They work on a song either in its entirety, or in smaller sections, to decide upon how it should be arranged. A player may need to go over their solo section a few times to hear how their ideas fit with what everyone else is doing, perhaps make a few changes. Time might be spent on honing the harmony vocals for the chorus of the song. Groups working on original compositions will often “jam” on their rough ideas for hours, following their inspirations and hoping to strike gold. At rehearsal an entire song is usually played many times all the way through. Often groups will record their rehearsals for later evaluation.

Decisions are also made upon the order in which songs are to be performed live before an audience, with careful consideration given to such aspects as keys, tempos and mood. If the group of musicians is putting on a full-scale concert production, “dress rehearsals” may also be held, at which all sound and lighting cues are worked out with their technicians in a simulation of the actual planned concert. After all this the music is (hopefully) ready for public performance.

Let that be a lesson to you. ;)

© 2014 Matthew Woodward