Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rehearsal Space Good Bad and Ugly

Rehearsal space

I have probably played in at least ten or more rehearsal spaces over the years. I'm talking about those places that you rent, the ones that are devoted to rehearsal, not your Buddie's basement. What makes up a good space? Why are they almost always in terrible neighborhoods? What do you look for in a good rehearsal space, or is it a "take what you can get" situation every time?

Heat in the winter and A/C in the summer is always nice. I recall a long, cold winter of drumming with cold hands back in 1998. The former sausage factory we practiced in had no utilities. Restrooms are always nice. That same factory had no working plumbing. The band we shared the space with would use two liter bottles for "bathrooms." Not pretty. Security is probably a top concern in any space. It's one thing to have a shared front entrance. Having your own key to your specific space is a must have. An alarm system for your building would be great, but that rarely is the case.

Sometimes the inspiration comes at off hours. If I can get over to my space at 1am and hammer on the drums, that's a good thing. If I have to wait until the retail store below the space is closed at 9pm, that's not so good. If the person renting you that specific place is adjusting the rent to fit the limited hours, then go for it.

Check to see what other action is going on at the space. Are other bands lighting candles, thus risking lives? You should then think about buying a fire extinguisher, or bring your cheap gear to the space. Better yet, insure your equipment. I sleep better knowing that my stuff can be replaced.
I never expect a space to be there forever. Most times, the buildings that house rehearsal spaces are about to be torn down, or renovated. That's why they are allowing you to practice there.

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