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How to Share a Practice Space

by Shane Mehling
music & audio

Band Practice Space

Being in a band is not always the easiest thing in the world. But between trying to score good shows, write good music and keep everyone in the band on the same page, there is also that necessary evil most of us must face: sharing a band practice space.

With rents rising everywhere, there is almost no choice but to have to split rent with one or two (or more) bands and often you have no idea who these people are. Hopefully, you have already made sure that they are dependable and won’t pawn your stuff, so let’s move on to the week-to-week kind of stuff.

Don’t Touch Their Stuff
Just don’t. This is rule #1 but no one ever listens, so we’ll say it again: do not touch their stuff. It’s their stuff and you have no right to play it, borrow it or test it. If there is no other seat than the other drummer’s throne, next time bring a chair.

Avoid Gear Creep
No one wants to have to share a room and one reason is because of how cramped it can get. Bands who feel like they should be able to stretch their legs during practice is one of the major headaches of splitting a space. Make sure that you are not taking up even an inch more than your designated side of the room with equipment, and if you find it getting stuffy, double-check that everything is necessary. That kickdrum you should have sold a year ago can probably be moved out.

Don’t Leave Without Warning
The mad scramble to find a replacement band is a nightmare. If you are leaving, give the other band as much advance as possible, and even offer to help them find a new band. Even if you don’t like them that much, the worry of having to shoulder a month’s rent or leave a space you have maybe been in for years is the kind of situation that should be wished on no one.

Keep a Consistent Schedule
This is another rule that we shouldn’t have to mention, but we are forced to because bands don’t seem to understand that their need to jam does not supercede the agreement with spacemates that some days are off-limits.

Share Your Beer
Many of us have mini fridges and many of those mini fridges have beer in them. And yeah, you bought it and feel that you can throw a “Do Not Touch” on it like it’s your lunch in the office. But allowing those other bands to partake of your Pabst (or any other party favors in the space) will, hopefully, make the whole place feel a little friendlier. It’s easy enough to fix the problem if they take advantage, and you may find them responding to your kindness with kindness of their own. Also, if you don’t have a mini fridge in your practice space, get on that immediately.

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Shane Mehling

Shane Mehling is a freelance writer and editor who plays in noiserock bands.