Question: True or False?
“Bands that do not rehearse weekly are not good.”
Answer: Regular practicing does not make an untalented band sound better.
Myth; “Bands that do not rehearse weekly are not good.”
Practice does not make perfect. Coming from experience, all of our musicians can vouch for this. Some bands will rehearse and perform the same songs for years and still never sound good or even be able to play the same songs accurately.
A great band has skilled musicians and can likely sight-read a gig flawlessly and sound far better than an amateur band that has worked hard on the same charts for years ever will. To prove my point, consider The Dave Dickey Big Band. This band is excellent with some of the top horn players from Missouri and Illinois but they never rehearse. They just show up and read what's on the page once a month or so and part ways until the next gig. Why should they rehearse when there is no need?
This doesn't mean the ability to sight-read with superior competence makes a band better than one that rehearses weekly. If the point of a band rehearsing weekly is that it can't play their repertoire accurately, then rehearsing is a must. But only with qualified leadership, skilled musical guidance, and capable musicians can such issues be overcome.
The Matt McCallie Orchestra rehearses for a few reasons. Firstly we sound amazing and getting to hear the amazing sound of our own band is intrinsically rewarding. We have a tremendous amount of fun playing together. We also enjoy playing our great charts and we frequently have new arrangements to play at almost every rehearsal so there's always the excitement of something new. Uniquely, our band does not attempt to clone any other group out there so we spend time honing our own unique, individual style and sound.
As an experienced musical director having been posted in paid positions to direct many various scholastic, community, and professional ensembles I have maintained a philosophy on the subject of practice. My philosophy is practice at home rehearse together.
When a band plays together they should not still be learning notes. Every musician should shed their individual parts on their own between rehearsals. When we rehearse together we want to focus on our expression as a team.
We aspire to do more than remember how a song goes and hit our notes. We aspire to delve deeply into the meaning of each song. To understand and emote the prosody of each note and articulation as it has been arranged to assist in the story telling aspect of the music.
If a band or musician simply practices the same things repeatedly with no new goals no growth should be expected. Musicians do not achieve excellence solely by repeatedly practicing the same routines or playing just their favorite music. Excellence in music is achieved through the discipline required to consistently pursue new challenges. Working on the hardest challenges decreases weaknesses and builds upon old and new success in turn increasing a musician's overall skills.