Rehearse It Right: Tips to Save You Time, Money...And Embarrassment

Experienced international tour manager and audio engineer Andy Reynolds has worked with some of the biggest artists in the world, including the White Stripes, All American Rejects, Squarepusher, Roots Manuva, House of Pain and Super Furry Animals in every challenging situation imaginable. Along the way he’s amassed a world of experience, which he has recently gathered together in The Tour Book: How To Get Your Music On The Road (from Course Technology). In the following feature article, Reynolds gives you surefire ways to take your act from rehearsal to performance—just like the pros do.

By Andy Reynolds

So You Think You Know All About Rehearsing?

“Practice makes perfect.” I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase and, especially with the increasing importance of performing live, the relevance could not have escaped you. So of course you need to practice. You therefore book a rehearsal room, turn up, play your tunes over and over until you know them backwards and then hit the stage, right? Well, actually, no. Rehearsing is not just about learning your songs. Rehearsing is a process that should lead to your musical success.

It is a given that you should be able to play your songs or perform your DJ set properly. But there is a difference between practicing your instrument and rehearsing. The analogy I always use is that actors learn (practice) their lines, but they rehearse the show. When the actors are confident with their individual parts they are then brought together by the director or producer to work up the parts as an ensemble piece, with each actor working together to create the show. The same is true for you, as a musician, laptop artist, turntablist or singer—learn your parts and then rehearse the show.

Before you rehearse the show, however, you should examine what you are trying to achieve. Yes, you are practicing and rehearsing, but for what purpose? Well, every show you perform should:

Impress the audience. Make them want to pay to see you perform live in the future.

Make them want to buy any merchandise you may have for sale at the event. Impressing your audience is the most important reason for performing live in the first place.

Impress the promoter. You need the guy to book you again, hopefully for more money or at a bigger venue.

Impress the A&R, publishing, artist management, bloggers, other bands and taste-makers that may be at your show. These are the people who are ultimately going to assist your career.

With this in mind, you can rehearse smarter, and save yourself time, money and embarrassment!

First Steps

Because practicing and rehearsing your show are two distinct activities, you must decide how you are going to approach each one. Is it necessary for you to book a rehearsal space or crowd into a garage when all you need to do is learn your material? Singers, rappers, singer-songwriters, turntablists and laptop artists only need to hear themselves and their instrument/equipment in order to be able to practice their craft. So don’t waste money on a rehearsal space or travel to a band member’s house when you can instead sit in your home studio or bedroom and really get your chops down. Remember, you are practicing your songs, not rehearsing the show at this point. Make the most of your free time and the fact you don’t have to spend any money!

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