What I've learnt from 5,000 rehearsals.

I worked out yesterday that we've had somewhere in the region of 5,000 rehearsal sessions booked at Audio Works. That's amazing. It's also really nice to know that people like to rehearse here.

Some people practice on their own, some bands have 10 members. Some sessions are 30 minutes and some are 6 hours. Some bands come in and don't leave the room until their session is finished, and others have a cigarette break every 20 minutes. But what makes a good rehearsal?

Whenever I'm practicing anything I consider it useful, worthwhile or successful if I've improved what I was practising or constructed something that didn't exist before I started. It depends on your objective. I've had successful rehearsals when I've jammed for 60 minutes, and also had good practice when I focussed on one specific, minute detail.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, states that to achieve expertise in any field you need to spend roughly 10,000 hours. Now, clearly this depends on how you define expertise, and not many people start out with the goal of becoming an expert. Most of the fun is in the journey, the learning and failing, and trying again. That does show however, that if 0 hours is no knowledge and 10,000 is maximum knowledge, then we need to start putting some hours in.

Most of the bands at Audio Works rehearse once a week for 2 hours with no breaks. Know, that's not to say that if you don't do that you're good or bad, I think we all know when we've put in the time, and that's what drives me to progress. Whenever I do something that turns out not good enough, I know if I've put the time in so I know what needs to be done and where the mistakes where.

My overriding motto while practising/rehearsing is 'practice makes progress', a good friend of mine, Mark Ski (funkbyfunk) added that as a comment to an image I posted a while ago and it's stuck in my head ever since. I'm not sure perfection can be achieved, but that's OK because most of my most personally satisfying work has come from the pursuit (and failure) of finding perfection.


See you next week,