Do Your Homework!

It is important to do your homework!!
“Commitment” used to be the buzz-word (where do you think the movie gets its name?) but I cannot emphasize this point enough. And I don’t care if this sounds too much like your parents when you were back in the lower grades…

There are some obvious facets to this recommendation, and some perhaps not so obvious. It boils down to this, basically:

Either you want the band to make progress, or you don’t care.

Remember what we read in Band Tips For Beginners – there is a gestalt effect in a band. This means that the total is always more than the sum of the parts. But you have to start off with the parts – they are fundamental! Because they are always going to be less than the total, ladies & gentlemen, it’s obvious that the “total” will be dragged down if the parts are not what they should be. That’s correct, not so?

Therefore, if the idea is that the band is going to go places, you must do your homework. Each member must do his or her homework. And this means not at band practice!  You cannot expect the band to make progress if you are going to practise your part at rehearsal. Band practice is for the group to rehearse, you know, when all the individually practised bits get put together to form the song.

If you head into the rehearsal and don’t know your bit, how do you expect the song to get that polish and tightness that is required for performance? Besides, it isn’t fair to your fellow band-members, who may have made significant commitment and sacrifice to get on top of their parts, learn their solo’s, get the harmonies sorted, whatever it may be. So it won’t be too much hardship for you to do your homework as well.

And that’s another thing about being in a band. The others rely on you; it really is a team effort, and the old adage about the chain only being as strong as the weakest link holds true here. So, I recommend a pretty firm policy that guys should do their homework, and come to practice prepared.

Just one last little thing before you set off to do your homework, haha. If you have an instructor, teacher, whatever, he will be giving you guidance about the best way to practice your instrument, voice etc. But chances are he/she is not involved in your band stuff, so that is something separate. Either way, the principle stays the same: the more you practise, the better you become.

Here lies the secret though, and I have no doubt that all the teachers in the world will agree. It is better to practise for ten minutes a day than for one hour every six days. And remember – don’t practise when you play, and don’t play when you practise!

Now, go and do your homework!  As my good friend John Funkhouser says – “get into the woodshed“!