Organizing musicians is a subtle game of herding cats on cocaine. You need to know instantly if you’re available for a show. However, hunting down 3 or more eclectic musicians to know their schedule is nightmarish. In addition, scheduling rehearsals, meetings, or other tasks can be trying for even a Zen master.
– Chris “Seth” Jackson from How to Run a Band.
I couldn’t agree with this quote more if I tried! I have been organising band rehearsals for about 11 years now and god do I know it can be tough. This is because musicians are cowboys and lost in some sort of alternate ethereal dimension. Every now and then something magical happens and they are actually playing together and sharing roughly the same dimensions of space and time. The unfortunate band leader/manager knows exactly how difficult this can be.
So how is this voodoo magic possible?
I have 3 bandmates and usually only 1 rehearsal studio I regularly book. This means that including my own diary, I have 5 diaries to work around. If I was to book a rehearsal at different days of the week by checking everyone’s availability per week then I would actually go insane.
So here’s how you avoid that chasing the cats on cocaine problem (at least for rehearsals). It is a very very simple trick!
Book your rehearsals at a fixed day and time of the week, every week
My band rehearses every Wednesday between 7pm and 11pm. This means that for me and my bandmates that time is out of bounds for any other social event or party or extra time at work (if your manager does not understand that you have a life outside of your job after work hours then it is time to change jobs!). This means that it is actually a lot easier to book a rehearsal studio. I just tell them to have it booked every Wednesday evening, unless I cancel the booking explicitly. This is the block booking method.
This system always works, luckily being self employed I can organise my life around that Wednesday so that I can free it up. Rather than organising a rehearsal around when I am free (which changes week per week), it is much, much easier to free up my time on Wednesday by refusing anything that turns up on Wednesday. Indeed, my best friends know that I am busy on Wednesday evenings 🙂
Sure, there are exceptions. Out of the 4 of us, 1 may be on holiday, or ill or may just have a geniune outage. Reality just means that it is impossible to make it every single Wednesday of the year. However, we are able to continue as a 3 piece or 2 piece if need be. And every now and then we can even move the rehearsal day to a different day of the week or have more rehearsals if a gig is coming up.
So it is a very simple method that will honestly avoid a lot of scheduling nightmares. Book your band rehearsal a fixed day and time of the week, every week, week after week.