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We play rock/grunge/punk, our band is composed of drummer (me), 2 guitarists, bass player.

We're not pro, we play for fun but we want to play good and correct. I play drums for about 10 years now, other guys are around 5-6 years of practice. We've been playing together for 3 months, and we do only covers.

We enjoy playing together, but we loose energy on "random/jam/noisy" moments between two covers, and we don't repeat much songs we need to play : for example we start a song, we finish it, we play another one..and we come back to first one only if we'll have time.

Is there any "pattern" to follow, a structure for a beginner musicians playing in a band ?

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    There are probably as many ways to go about this as there are bands. You might decide spend part of your practice time on tunes the band already knows, and the remaining part on new tunes. It might be good to play any tune again when one of you hears a trouble spot to try to work out problems. Maybe take a break every four or five tunes. As for "random/jam/noisy moments," that is another topic. I think that answers here would quickly devolve into lots of opinion. – David Bowling Jan 16 at 15:26
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    One thing that to me wastes a lot of rehearsal time is always going back to the beginning of a song when there's a mistake. First - try to recover and continue: when you do play for people, and someone messes up, will you really stop and start again? Hope not! So start at the beginning of that verse, that middle 8, that chorus, and get good enough to start on an anacrucis or the third line of a verse. Proper counting in (you're the drummer!) is sacrosanct. – Tim Jan 16 at 15:35
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    Some might say being 'practiced' and 'correct' in styles like punk and grunge is contrary to the styles! – Michael Curtis Jan 16 at 16:03
  • You need to be honest about why the mistakes are happening. Are you all just not playing well together or is someone a weak link on one song? Are you losing the beat? If you are playing covers there is no reason why each of you can't play with the "album" at home until your part is tight! Then, in theory, rehearsal should be uneventful. This is how orchestral musicians work it out (but with sheet music not an album). – ggcg Jan 16 at 17:37
  • You already accepted an answer, but I began to wonder if I understood the problem correctly. Is the problem that even though you think the playing is not good enough, instead of focusing on making specific aspects of the music better, you just play through songs from beginning to end as if in a karaoke? And even waste time between songs? Do you ever comment on specific things like "I think the bass and kick should play tighter together in this part" or "I think the rhythm guitar in the beginning is sloppy" - and then work on those specific things? Does each player practice at home too? – piiperi Jan 17 at 21:42
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This is a very complex question and solutions depend on your inter-personal chemistry, personal ambitions, sources of motivation etc.

Picking up on your saying that you lose energy on "random/jam/noisy" moments, try concentrating your efforts on simple, mutually agreed-upon ideas that you can make to work, but that are still enjoyable by everyone. All of you should have a clear idea on what the most essential musical idea is for each song, and what each player's role is in that idea. And then try to execute that idea as clearly and effectively as possible. Keep it simple. If things get random or noisy, it might mean a lack of control, or lack of a central idea, or not committing to the idea.

It's possible that some of you lack the needed technical ability to succesfully perform something that you're trying to do. Then you'll have to slow down, leave out something, do something simpler. Only play things that you can actually make to work.

Rhythm and harmony need coordination between players, so that everybody is playing the same idea, not multiple conflicting ideas. What is the rhythm? Can you "hum" the essential thing about the accompaniment's rhythm? Agree and coordinate simple ideas for the following "instrument axis". (If you can't agree on these, you need an arranger person or other kind of "boss" to plan and dictate it.)

  • Kick+snare <--> Bass. Does the bass mute when the snare hits, or does it play on both kick and snare hits? Does the bass and the kick drum play in unison?
  • Hi-hat+Snare <--> Guitar. Does the guitar play the same hits as the hi-hat, or the same as the snare? Or both?
  • Guitar <--> Bass. Should they play the same rhythm. At least the guitars shouldn't play very low notes that disagree with what the bass player is doing.
  • Guitar 1 <--> Guitar 2. Do they play the same rhythm, or complementary rhythms? Are you sure they're playing the right chords and notes, and should they play in different positions (higher and lower on the neck) or the same position?

That said, every rock band should be able to enjoy jamming together, like a 12-bar blues or 8/16 bar loop. It's a sign of a healthy band. Keep a simple, enjoyable groove going. Everyone should contribute to the common rhythm, without messing around. Let each player have a turn playing a solo, but only one at a time. Creating and improvising stuff on the fly can be rewarding - but playing tightly together with other instruments is rewarding too. Let everyone have their moment doing some improvisation, but what comes to playing as a band, it's the tight playing that you should seek your gratification from.

If some of you can't get enough motivation and enjoyment from just playing tightly together, then try to figure out what the problem is. Is the playing not tight enough? Or is the rhythmic (or harmonic) idea too boring? Is the whole genre not enjoyable from someone's point of view? Then you'll have to do something about it. Write more interesting and more enjoyable ideas - but you'll have to stay within the limits of what you can actually do. There are people who just cannot commit to any predetermined musical idea, and want to mess around all the time, elbowing everyone else... but I hope that's not your problem. If it is, you'll have to somehow restrict or contain that sort of compulsive creativity so that it contributes something enjoyable and constructive, and doesn't destroy the simple musical ideas of each song.

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