When people are excited about music and ready to start a band, they’re often primarily concerned with finding the right people, finding the right sound, and planning to play shows or gigs. One thing that new bands often don’t consider right away, as they’re dreaming of stardom, or the art they want to create, is where their band is going to practice. Usually, new bands end up playing in garages.
Bands practicing in garages is so common that there’s an entire genre based on the sound. That there are countless garage bands might lead you to believe that the garage is the ideal space for practicing music. After all, there’s usually plenty of space, it’s out of the way, and the noise and repetition of a band practicing their music is thought to be least intrusive in a garage. In some cases, and with some modifications, garages are a suitable place to practice with your band. However, garages are not always the perfect practice space for your band.
What Makes a Perfect Practice Space for a Band?
If you’re starting a typical rock band, with at least one guitar, bass guitar, and set of drums, the first thing you need in your band’s practice space is… space! A full drum kit can take up a lot of room, as can the guitars’ amps. Because practice is so crucial, perhaps the most important element of a successful band, space is also important so that every player in the band can practice comfortably.
While you may not always be able to control the size of the stage you’re playing on, the space you spend most of your time as a band should be optimal for everyone’s comfort. Everyone, except maybe the drummer, should be free to move around. Everyone should be able to hear what they’re playing. They should also be able to hear what everyone else is doing. Your practice space should be large enough for each member of the band to spread out and hear what the music actually sounds like, as opposed to standing in the center of the sound.
How to Set Up a Perfect Practice Space
Many new bands practice in the infamous inward-facing circle, with every member of the band facing each other. Doing this can dramatically impact each member of the band’s ability to hear what they’re playing. They’ll tend to rely on visual cues and not the sound. When setting up your practice space, you should try to replicate the same setup you’d have if you were playing live. Drummers are typically positioned in the center back so every other member of the band can hear them and follow along with the beat.
It’s important to position the bass player so the drummer can hear the bass. It’s difficult for drummers to hear the other instruments no matter where you place the drums, so prioritize the bass player. This way, the drummer will know if the band is off tempo. Place the bass amp close to the drummer on one side, facing the imaginary audience. Because bass frequencies spread out, the rest of the band should be able to hear it even though it’s close to the drummer. Place your vocalist where they can evenly hear all of the different instruments. If your band has more, non-typical instruments such as a keyboard, you can set things up a little differently. Project the keyboard’s sound towards the band and not the audience, since during live performances the keyboard will projected through the PA.
The Importance of Practice
It’s incredibly important to arrange your practice space so that your band practices can be most helpful. Where the instruments are placed can make all the differences. Additionally, the space in which you’re practicing is vitally important. As we mentioned previously, garages are typical places for bands to practice but they’re not always practical. Garages are rarely soundproofed, so the sound you’re producing while practicing may be significantly dampened. If you can, look into soundproofing your practice space. This will preserve the sound of your music and help each member of the band practice more effectively. If you’re unable, you should look into renting a rehearsal space. Most major cities have spaces that bands can rent so they can practice in an environment that’s perfectly set up.
After finding the right space, the next most important thing a band can do is to practice with the right instruments. At Music & Arts, you’ll find the best selection of musical instruments, accessories, and equipment around. Set your band up for success and shop for new instruments at Music & Arts!