By Bobby Borg

It's true that practice makes perfect, but are you really getting the most out of your rehearsal sessions? Below are helpful tips for the independent artist that can save time and money. In part two, we'll give you some more.

1) Decide on the space.

Your rehearsal options consist primarily of renting a "lockout" (monthly) rehearsal room, of renting by the hour, or of utilizing the personal space you might have in your home (i.e., band's rental house, parent's house, etc.).

Lockout rehearsal rooms provide you with 24-hour access and afford you with the luxury of keeping your gear setup, but you'll need to supply your own PA, mixer, and microphones and be able to afford the monthly rent. You can find smaller affordable lockouts ranging from about $500 to $700 monthly.

Hourly rehearsal rooms provide convenience for those not looking for long-term space or those that don't want to commit to the monthly expense, but you'll have to rehearse on the studio's backline (drums, PA, and mixer) or otherwise drag in (and drag out) your own equipment. Hourly studios can run as cheap as $18 to $24 an hour.

Personal rehearsal space affords you the luxury of keeping your gear setup, of being surrounded by the amenities of home (your kitchen, shower, backyard, etc.), and of keeping a few more bucks in your pocket since you're already paying for you're the space to live, but you'll be more confined to how long and loud you can play due to the noise restrictions and neighbors. Surely you can tack up the carpet remnants you find in dumpsters behind carpet stores in effort to sound-proof your place, but if you want the liberty of rehearsing any time you want, you'll have spend so much more on professional sound-proofing.


Lockout rehearsal rooms provide you with 24-hour access and afford you with the luxury of keeping your gear setup, but you'll need to supply your own PA, mixer, and microphones and be able to afford the monthly rent.

2) Make the call.

To locate rehearsal studios in your area, 1) ask for referrals from fellow artists, 2) log on to Google (www.google.com) and conduct a key word search using something like "your city + rehearsal rooms," or 3) just flip to the back pages of your local music magazine like Music Connection. In Los Angeles you'll discover services like Sound Arena, Downtown Rehearsal, and Musician's Choice. With phone number in hand (use www.yellowpages.com if needed), contact these companies and specifically ask about their services (hourly or lockout?), costs, and security measures, and whether they have air conditioning/heating in their rooms, adequate parking, and utilities in the rental fee.

If you're interested in renting a band house where you can all live and rehearse, check out your local yellow pages to find a realtor that can help you focus on more secluded less residential areas of your town so that you can get away with playing louder and for longer.

3) Put together a schedule.

The best way to keep a consistent practice regime—one that is do-able for all members—is to plan ahead. Examine the personal schedules (work, school, etc.) of all involved to consider the most convenient times and days, and then schedule three to four sessions a week leaving a day or two off in between to avoid burn out. If you schedule a rehearsal on a weekend night, consider ending it early so that members have time to catch other bands' performances, to network, to promote upcoming shows, and to simply have some free time for fun (after all, you are human).

4) Rehearse before the rehearsal.

Nothing is more unproductive than sitting around for an hour while a member figures out the chord changes and stops to a song that could have been figured out at home. It's disrespectful to the fellow band members who came prepared and it's a waste of money if renting the studio. Whatever your objective for your next rehearsal session, DO YOUR HOMEWORK! It can save time, money, and prevent unnecessary tension.

5) Don't show up late.

Time is valuable—especially when you're shelling out your precious money for rehearsal fees—so be sure to show up early for scheduled rehearsals. If you have pedal boards, double bass pedals, or keyboard stands to set up (as you may when renting a studio by the hour), don't spend the first 30 minutes of rehearsal doing so. Set up your gear in pieces outside of the room in the hallway or parking lot, and then move it all into place upon your allocated time. This way you can immediately get started with rehearsal.

6) No noodling around in-between songs.

There's a time to practice rudiments and scales and there's a time to sit still and keep quiet. Says Rick King of Stan Rigway's band (of Wall of Voodoo fame), "There's nothing more distracting, unproductive, and annoying than a member noodling around in-between songs when others are trying to work out parts. Everyone must remain focused on the same agenda at all times."



Bobby Borg teaches at Musicians Institute and UCLA and is the author of the best-selling Musician's Handbook which you can purchase at www.bobbyborg.com.

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