Bass Lesson 13 Rehearsing

A few pointers

Bass Lesson 13 Rehearsing: rehearsing needs a plan

Bass Lesson 13 Rehearsing: rehearsing is something many bands do in strange ways. For instance: I was playing in a band that had just started. We’d been rehearsing all the tunes, and we could play them, though there was still a lot of work to be done. I thought that the the most logical thing to do for this band, was to work on these tunes some more, so we could play them properly before an audience. This never happened, only new tunes were rehearsed, so that in the end – when I quit this band – we could play a lot of tunes badly. Unfortunately I was not able to convince the members of this band that they should listen to me.

In another band a lot of tunes were rehearsed, but to my surprise we never played them during gigs. Or I played in a band that had worked hard and had rehearsed about 300 tunes. Soon after the gig had started, the singer/guitar player started to play a song nobody knew.

Other bands don’t rehearse at all. This definitel sounds like a problem, but that is not always the so. When you play with good jazz musicians and standards are being played that all members of the band know, this can be very refreshing and the level of playing can be very high, even when playing with perfect strangers. One of the nice things of jazz is the spontaneity of these beautiful encounters.


I believe you have a responsibility toward your audience: you must see to it that the quality of your performance is as high as possible. People in the audience have made an effort en spent some money to come and see you. Give them your best possible performance! If this means that you will have to rehearse more before you can play for them properly, rehearse more! This sounds very logical, but some musicians think differently or they just don’t care.


I have played with musicians who had not prepared themselves properly, were drunk, came too late, were too stoned etc, but performed anyway. Fortunately, I have also played with many, many more musicians who were serious, came well prepared and played beautifully. When the conditions are right, musicians come well prepared and it is clear what should be done, musicians can bring each other close to heaven. Playing can become magical!

A few tips

I think this is sound advice:

Make a program for your rehearsal

When I rehearse with my bands, we do this all the time. Before rehearsing, we e-mail each other and decide what we should rehearse. When we have rehearsed this material, we go home. This is a very efficient and nice way to work. I love it.

 Don’t rehearse for more than three hours

A shorter rehearsal is also excellent, but if you rehearse longer, people are no longer concentrated and tend to forget everything you’ve worked on.

When you’ve got a repertoire, don’t start to rehearse new tunes until you’re band can play excellently. Of course, this approach will raise the quality of your performance.

Don’t be late and come prepared. This way, you’ll avoid a lot of irritation.

I hope this column will inspire you to rehearse properly if you have not done so in the past!

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Bass Lesson 13 Rehearsing

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