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  1. #1

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    So the gig is less than a week away and so far we've had members cancel two rehearsals of four scheduled. The band has gigged for many years but rarely lately. The singer's vocal range has diminished to the point we now tune down a whole step to accommodate him. I've had to redo my guitar with heavier gauge strings to help make this work. The way I look at it is you are committed or you are not. I'm ready to bail as I don't see cancelling rehearsals (one for a work "emergency") the other (I'm tired from playing other gigs) as a commitment. It's a three set gig and at this point we don't have one set list. Some times it's time to call it what it is. Any thoughts? The wife says I'm over reacting.

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaco
    Any thoughts? The wife says I'm over reacting.
    I don't think you are. Work emergency can happen but if somebody tells you he / she is tired because of playing other gigs it sounds like he / she is not overly interested....

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    four rehearsals for one gig?
    You should have heard the last rehearsal...

  5. #4

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    I was in a quintet for seven years. We gigged once or twice a month, usually, and rehearsed once a week. In the last year of the band, rehearsals went down to sporadic at best and the band frankly sucked on gigs. The horn players could not play in tune or in time with each other and these were people who'd been playing together for years. Two of us ended up quitting the band after a particularly heinous gig and it did end up damaging relationships between some of the band members.

    I think part of what had happened was that we had maxed out the commitment and/or musicianship of certain individuals in the band and things were not getting any better. The members who were better musicians were becoming quite frustrated. They saw no point in rehearsing if the band wasn't going to get any better; the problem was it then became much, much worse. Good jazz professionals can find a way to work together effectively without much by way of rehearsals; amateur musicians like those of us in my former band cannot (even after seven years, several of us could not play any of the tunes we'd been playing since day one without a chart. The horn players didn't know the chords to any of the songs. I couldn't have played the melody to half of the tunes from memory. The two actually good musicians in the band were the drummer and the bassist, not the guitarist or the horns. The drummer and the bassist both had degrees in music and education).

    Bands- as a creative function- run their course, it's as simple as that. That even happens at the top levels of the art. So my band becomes a cautionary tale as have many bands before and many bands will in the future.

  6. #5

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    The question to answer is. "is it worth it?" the answer to that will tell you what to do.

    I was once part of a group that would preform as solos about 20 minutes each. Usually 4 acts. There was a couple of performers that were so bad that if they were on before me the audience would head for the door leaving a empty room. After a couple of those I told them to take me off of the list. It was not worth it.
    Last edited by BBGuitar; 12-08-2019 at 06:34 PM.

  7. #6
    I guess I should give more background. It's a 70's kind of rock gig. Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Sting, etc. I'm a Berklee grad the other guys not formally trained, but good musicians through the school of hard gigging. We've been together 40 years. The drummer was best man at my wedding. My friendship with these guys is more important than the gig. Yeah we're old but, I thinks it takes a little more work and commitment to make up for that. I'm going to do it and hope for the best.
    Last edited by jaco; 12-08-2019 at 06:53 PM. Reason: too much info

  8. #7

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    Glad you are going to stick with them!

    It will be a common problem that people learn the music to varying degrees and show up at rehearsals with a range of preparation if some players think of rehearsals as integration, fine tuning, and polishing in preparation for performance and so show up prepared from independent home practice sessions but others think of rehearsal as practice itself and allocate some or all of the learning of the music to the rehearsals.

    Every band needs to decide what is expected in rehearsals; some bands will require full preparation, some will anticipate some learning and practicing of the music... it just needs to be clear to everyone.

    Many bands choose one of themselves to take the role of rehearsal manager (not necessarily the band leader who is likely to be the busy booking and negotiating point of contact). The rehearsal manager plays the role of musical quality control - he informs everyone what songs from the pool of which people are learning will be rehearsed and decides when a song is ready to be performed and added to the sets. It is not unusual that this person is the drummer because they are "melodically and harmonically removed" and perhaps more in a position to hear the music as an integrated whole.

    At a pro level, you always have a QC someone like this running heard over things and nobody gets bent out of shape. With amateurs that are longtime friends, spontaneous criticism may lead to hurt feelings... a rehearsal quality control manager helps focus on the music rather than calling out individuals.

    If you bring up this idea among your band mates, they may decide that the right person for that QC role is you.

  9. #8

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    Playing music seems to be it's own reward these days vs making any money, so as we get older, everyone's life seems to find it's priorities.

    Sorry Bobby, Grandpa is too busy working and then rehearsing and practicing for his low/no paying hobby gig to see you this week.

  10. #9

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    Solution: have a book, not a band, and hire the best available players to play the book. This will not work with non-readers, of course. Having said that, I've run several "bands" over the years that never rehearsed, including one I now MD for a good singer. The only "rehearsing" done is the two of us getting together to figure out keys and structures. I then set about making very simple charts for rhythm section, maybe a few lines for the bassist or a keyboard player and accents for the drummer, and then I write horn parts for 2-4 horns. I can sequence the parts using Finale and Logic and send the tunes out to those who might be interested, generally the singer and drummer. Before a gig, I call an early soundcheck, run down the knotty areas, explain concepts, and off we go, most often sounding like a well-rehearsed band that's gigged for years, when in fact maybe half the players never worked with us before.

    I do have the benefit of living an an area with access to a fair number of seasoned pros, so that makes it much easier, but if I were in the OP's shoes, I would record gigs so that the players could review their parts aurally and practice on their own time. That might result in only needing one rehearsal. Of course, if interest has flagged and practicing has become an afterthought, the only real solution is dissolving the group. I certainly would not work with a player who was too tired from the last gig to fulfill his/her obligations, though.

  11. #10

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    You can come up with some very creative things at rehearsals. Last night one of the big bands I play with tried to play a very difficult chart based on 'Salt Peanuts' called "Palt Seanuts".
    It had a solo trumpet line in the beginning that was impossible to sight read at a fast tempo. The trumpet player who had to play the solo, renamed the chart "Small Penis".