Tag Archives: rehearsal

Practice vs. Rehearsal II (Again)

Note to self: Autosave. (I hate crashes!)

I will start with pointing everyone to a website by Ms. Jamey Andreas that covers the art of practicing guitar to a degree that you might not have dreamed possible: www.guitarprinciples.com.

Here are some thoughts I have about practice that I will label as rules. I only do this because we usually consider statements labeled as rules to be more important than those labeled as opinion. I think everything is an opinion, of course, that is just my opinion.

For the web-hip: IMHO.

Practice Rule #1: Practice everyday. Even if only for a little while, you should pick up your instrument and do something. Imagine applying the answer I get concerning your practice for the week if I had asked you: ‘Did you brush your teeth this week?’

Practice Rule #2: Know the difference between practicing and playing. Both are important, but should be separate. Practicing is getting better at a particular skill, as defined in the Practice vs. Rehearsal I installment, and playing is enjoying what you are able to do. We should all be sure to do both. I need to play more; some of us need to practice more. We all struggle with balance.

Practice Rule #3: The notes we play mean nothing if they are played at the wrong time. Use your metronome when you are supposed to use it. I could name names, but you know who you are: the metronomeless. I know some of you have a metronome but simply can’t find it; look under your bed.

Practice Rule #4: Every practice session should end with you being better than when you started. If not, then something is wrong. It could be that you are trying to learn something too far beyond your current skill. You could be trying to play the material too fast.

 (Again with the metronome you say!)

Practice Rule #5: Don’t bore yourself. Yes, some of what we have to do is boring, but don’t let things get to the point that you don’t want to play music. For the beginner, almost everything is boring compared to what you want to be able to do right now. It is important to make what you are doing as interesting as possible. Sometimes, I have practiced playing just one note. I often show this to advanced students who play too many notes and do not make a distinct musical statement. If you want to know more about one note practicing ideas, let me know and I will be happy to show you.

Keep in mind that these ‘Rules’ are simply what I think are: “Some of the Most Important Things about Practice That Students and Players Get Wrong.” That’s just too long of a title though.




Practice vs. Rehearsal I

To those who have given me feedback and encouragement on last week’s installment, ‘Thank You’. I welcome any readers to send comments or observations in the space provided at the end of this page.

When my wife noticed my subject for this week, she rolled her beautiful eyes and muttered: ‘Oh, Lord’. See what it’s like to live with me? She hears about this from me all too often.

I will first point out what is necessary to prepare as a professional musician. Yes, I realize that many of you are not interested in becoming professional musicians, but some of you are, and the rest of you will likely perform in some capacity in the future anyway. In my opinion, any performance, whether for family or friends, formal or casual, the level of preparation is the same.

This is what I mean:

1) A rough draft of a song list is created (currently about 200 songs for me);

2) I will choose about 30-50 tunes that have a similar theme or mood that I want to create for the gig;

3) I will practice, and then rehearse this material until I can play it to the best of my ability;

4) About 10-15 of these tunes will be set aside because I will need more practice to play them at the level I insist upon for myself than the rest of the tunes in the list;

5) I will likely play nothing else until the performance has occurred.

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? There is really nothing more to preparing for a performance than those five things. The number of tunes needed for a performance always depends on how much time you need to fill. A song list of 15-20 tunes per playing hour is a safe level of preparation.

Did you notice that in step three I used the word practice and the word rehearsal?

Practice is what we do to become able to do a specific skill, such as learning chords, scales, sections of songs, solos, and etcetera.Rehearsal is when we put several skills together to perform a finished piece or concert.

Think of a jigsaw puzzle, (I hope we all know what those are; don’t make me look old here). Practice is making each piece of the puzzle; rehearsal is putting the pieces together and creating a defined picture. So, until we have put in enough practice, rehearsal is actually impossible. For those of you interested in being professional musicians, not being clear with these differences will keep you from being called again.

My point is: many of you can perform as a musician. One must only be able to play enough songs to entertain others for the length of time promised. That is all there is to it, and I would certainly encourage any of you to perform as soon as you want to and are prepared.

In subsequent installments, I will be more specific in regard to what we should do when we practice. It is important though, that I give you a basic understanding of the concepts of practice versus rehearsal. These are often not understood and have led to many complications for others in becoming the musicians they want to become.