You can waste time rehearsing if you want to, but it’s a mistake. In fact, when it comes to being a working cover band, it’s one of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever make. Most start up bands break up. Not because they can’t play music. Not because someone in the band is a pain in the ass. Most new bands break up because they don’t book any gigs. We join working cover bands because we want to work, not rehearse. That’s why it’s important to start before you’re ready.
I’ve seen this over and over and over again working with start up bands. That’s why my advice is to book your first gig before you’re ready. In fact, if you’re a seasoned pro, I’d say book your first gig before you put the band together! Then get ready for it. It’s NOT the other way around.
Three Reasons to Start Before you’re Ready
Three things happen when you book a gig first and rehearse after you get the gig. Number 1, the band has something to look forward to. There’s a gig or two on the calendar. Everybody knows that the hard work they’re putting in to learning the set is going to pay off quickly. Number 2, everyone is motivated to get their parts down and learn the set. There’s nothing like a paid public performance to light a fire under us. When you book the gig first THEN rehearse, the band will get the material down much faster. Finally, the band stays together instead of breaking up 3 months down the road.
Don’t wait, book that first gig now
How far down the road should you book your first gig? It depends. If you’re a brand new start up band and everyone is a seasoned pro, give yourself 6-8 weeks. If you already have a ton of experience playing live, you know most of the the songs already. It doesn’t take long to learn your parts for new songs. There is no reason to wait longer.
What if the your band mates don’t have a lot of gig experience? If you don’t have a lot of live experience BUT you all have a lot of rehearsal experience, 2-3 months out. Why wait longer?
Make sure band “rehearsal” is not your practice time
Let’s talk about what a pro rehearsal is NOT. Rehearsal is not the place you learn your parts. That’s what personal practice time is for. Each band member MUST learn their parts on their own. Rehearsal is where you put the songs together as a band.
Working bands Work….
We don’t do rehearsals in my band. We decide on new songs and set a date for when we will play them live. Everybody learns their parts and we run through it at sound check. If it goes well, we throw the song into the last set. Then it gets added in to the regular rotation. Most of our musician friends can’t believe that we don’t rehearse. We don’t have to rehearse because everyone is a pro and comes prepared. We don’t rehearse, we gig. That’s how EVERY working band could operate.
Most cover bands spend their time practicing their songs. Very little time is spent on booking gigs. If you want to become a working cover band, flip your priorities. Start booking gigs. Start before you’re ready and then get ready.
Don’t know where to start booking gigs? Check out my free 3 Proven Tips video.
Thinking the band needs to have the perfect set together BEFORE you book a gig is a huge mistake. Don’t make it! Start booking gigs before the band is ready and then get ready!