Alcohol at Band Practice

The topic of ‘alcohol at band practice’ probably deserves more than a line or two of advice. Nevertheless it is necessary to step into this possibly uncomfortable area – the use of alcohol within the context of a developing band. It is important to get the policy on this ironed out right up-front.

Obviously this doesn’t apply to school bands, haha.

My personal view is that alcohol should not be consumed at rehearsal. You’re at work, correct? I mean, rather, you’ve got work to do. I have seen too often a practice session descend into a jam session, or just abandoned altogether, because of alcohol. That is because the booze has done what it is designed for – and that is to relax our thoughts and reduce our ability to concentrate, with altered physical and mental consequences.

Don’t get me wrong. A jam session is a hellova good thing. It is also  a great way to spend an entire Saturday afternoon or Tuesday night. A once-off session of free playing can do wonders for improvisation, and a whole lot more. An abandoned rehearsal, to sit round a fire and shoot the breeze with bandmates is probably even better. Indeed a powwow, now and again, is necessary – indispensable actually –  in the life of a band. The spin-off effects of band camaraderie, and the fun that comes from jamming and having a good time are invaluable to a band.

And, by the way, I have no objection to alcohol.  But here, I am talking polish; we are at work now.  The point is – as with most things in life – it is all about the timing.

Do not expect to make meaningful progress towards sharpening your delivery, or expanding your repertoire when one, or more, of the band members is under the influence of alcohol. Besides, if any one member of the band just cannot get through a few hours of rehearsal without alcohol, things might go downhill anyway.

leaving aside the fact that you are at work, it seem to be the accepted knowledge that, actually, alcohol does not increase your creativity. Rather, it hinders the music inside you from getting out. Add to that the reduced control over your fingers and thought processes – and there you have it. Not one of the professional musicians on the BandBay expert panel takes alcohol when they play, and definitely not when they rehearse. So that must tell you something.

Best solution is to say: no alcohol at band practice. I can’t comment on drug use, but I have no doubt, folks, that it’s best left alone. Leave drugs for the professional sportsmen, haha..

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