We had our second excellent rehearsal in a row yesterday. Last week it was a little surprising because it was the first time we’d all been together in about a month. Somehow we still managed to be pretty tight. Yesterday it was surprising because we purposely set out to work on songs that had either been ignored for a while, were sounding less than wonderful, or were brand new.
As we were rolling along we were discussing some of the things that make some bands function better than others. One thing mentioned was the ability to take constructive criticism. We have all been in situations where someone (or in some cases everyone) in the band was unable to take criticism. Sometimes it’s due to ability. If someone suggests a change that would improve a song, but the person who needs to make the change can’t play it, then there isn’t much you can do. In other cases there are people who get set in one way of playing and refuse to change.
Both cases can be a little frustrating, but as long as everyone is getting along you usually let them slide. We do this for fun. None of us have any aspirations of rock and roll super-stardom, so if everyone is clicking personality wise, you worry less about a song not being perfectly executed.
We talked about that for a few minutes while we were catching our breath between songs, and then we moved on to the next thing. Later on we were working on a song that requires a whole new arrangement. We were more or less building the whole thing up from scratch. The first run through was pretty sad. Not good at all. Should we drop the song? Well, let’s try this change first. Can you do something more in this part? Can you do something here to let me know that this change is coming? What do you think if I play it like this? That sounds good, but could you back off a little at the end?
By the time we’d run through the song the last time it was 100 times better. No one was thinking of dropping it any more. Then it sort of dawned on us. We had done exactly what we were talking about earlier. Everyone made suggestions to everyone else. Each instrument was critiqued and changes were made all over the place. The song at the end didn’t sound much like it did in the beginning. It was no longer just four guys concentrating on their own parts. It was four guys working together to improve the song as a whole and it felt pretty good.
Last month none of us felt confident enough to think about booking a gig. Last night we were throwing out potential dates to book.