Good musicians not only can read music, but they also can play by ear, which means if they hear a tune they can more or less copy it note for note. This does not mean like-minded musicians in a room can all play as one, together in harmony. Playing instruments freely in a group together is called jam session and it is a regular impromptu affair that bands and musicians do. But how do you get together and play without rehearsing first? Many musicians find it hard to rehearse as they have full time jobs, so in this blog we lay down some tips to make your rehearsal really worthwhile.
Choose a Leader
Every jam session or rehearsal needs a leader, who lays down the dynamic for the group. In most cases this is the most talented and experienced musician. It is a good idea that this leader faces the other members of the band when they play together to rehearse or jam. That way the other members of the group can see the chord positions and the tempo he is playing and try to follow suit, embellishing their parts over the top.
Formulate a Layout
If your group regularly plays together such as a band, another good idea is to formulate a rehearsal layout. This will be regular positions of members, time to warm up and tune instruments, work on tricky parts of the music first, practice intros and outros of each song, and finally run your set. If you get used to this template every time you practice, then your jam session should go smoothly and will be highly productive.
Work on What Is Important
A great deal of rehearsals and jam sessions can be a pure waste of time as all the musicians are just doing their own thing and playing what they like. A rehearsal is quite different to a jam session as the group assembled are trying to achieve something. Set a goal what you want to achieve, such as learn a new song for instance. And work together to try and achieve that goal. If your group is having problems with a particular song, or a part of one, then allocate enough time to put it right.
Aim for Perfection
Do not be satisfied with being average, if you are going to learn a particular piece then nail it. It is easy to be satisfied with something that is not perfect, perhaps you find a chord change too hard, or a riff too difficult to play. You know yourself deep inside that you have not conquered that problem, don’t gloss over this, go back and get it right.
If all band members have an anything will do attitude, then not many fans will be coming to see your band very often. If you are completely confident that you have learned and nailed a song, then you will be relaxed and will play even better live.
These tips may sound a little rigid for musicians, but be assured the best bands and musicians got to the top of their profession by ensuring they knew their music inside out. They were comfortable that hours of practice had instilled the qualities needed to perfect their trade.