In an earlier post, I wrote about the side of the music business people seldom see. The demands of being in a band are huge and never ending. However, there are some really great rewards.
This past Thursday was a rehearsal day. I had worked until around 4 a.m. tweaking the band website and was up by 8. A couple cups of coffee, a quick breakfast, and I was checking emails and following up on pressing items. Our practices generally start on time at noon, allowing everyone to finish up early enough for any other gigs that night. So, at 11:30 I’m stressed out because there’s still so much to do. I remember that I didn’t have time to chart all the songs of the newest set list. More pressure.
By 11:50 a.m., I’m considering running away to become a monk. There is no way I’ll be ready for rehearsal. That was quite a list of songs, did I remember to do any of the charts? The garbage and recyclables trucks will be coming by today and there will be band members’ cars blocking access to the bins. What happens if they can’t take our garbage? I sent an important email, that person hasn’t responded yet with time sensitive information. Do I risk getting sidetracked checking email during a break from practice? Someone will invariably park in front of my wife’s car. She will have to leave before rehearsal is finished.
A thousand things running through my mind just minutes before the first band member arrives and music is the last thing I’m thinking about. Then the doorbell rings; it’s time. I open the door and here’s our keyboard player, happy to be here and ready to play. In minutes, the entire band is here and getting set up. Somehow, I’m not stressed anymore. Everything is going to be alright.
We noodle around for a few seconds and decide to play something off the top of our heads. It’s something we’ve never played before, but that’s okay. As soon as we hit the first note, I remember why I’m doing this. It’s just something I love to do. Nothing else in the world can make me forget everything else and live in the moment. We’re all on the same page and the energy level is high. We play each note as if it were our last, making it count.
When our first song is finished, we all look around at each other and agree that it went pretty well. As practice goes on, we get tighter and sound better. We’re loving what we’re doing and it shows in the music we play. There is no better feeling, with the exception of doing this in front of a live audience. All of the things which concerned me prior to practice work themselves out and my mind is rested. As stressful as this business can be, it’s what we love to do. And that makes all the difference.