Down to earth ... bump


Senior Member
So... silly question: any hints on practicing live playing without actually playing live?
Find some friends with similar musical interests and form a band. Have weekly rehearsals in someone's basement/garage/studio, or cooperate to rent some rehearsal space.

There's no way around it. You have to play with other people. Be patient but constant.

When you're not actually playing, practice your timing and coordination whenever you can... while watching TV, while listening to music in your car or public transport, while waiting in the doctor's office, etc. You can practice anywhere: on a table, on your legs, in the air. Do it until people ask you to stop, then keep doing it, with our without music (the music is in your head).


Platinum Member
There are two aspects at play here:
1 - Playing with people who you know
2 - Playing with people who are competent

Occasionally I attend a jam night. The songs are divvied up beforehand, so everybody arrives (hopefully) knowing the songs and parts that they will be playing. Even though the talent level is generally pretty good, it's very taxing locking in out of the blue...will everybody be playing as per the recording? Have we been listening to the same recording? How exactly are the inter-personal playing dynamics working? Is the drummer providing the groove or supporting it? Even simple songs that I know well get more tricksy when playing live in from of (even a friendly) crowd.

Even more important is playing with people who are competent. When my band started out, we were appallingly crap. Most songs felt to me like I was trying to drag them along by the scruff of their neck, as chaos threatened to engulf the whole endeavour.

Then, with some changes in personnel and elevations of skill level among the survivors, suddenly it began to feel like I was happily riding the songs from start to finish, occasionally tweaking the reins but not fighting them.

Keep on at it, play with people every chance you get. Also, play with drumless tracks (you can make your own at which will give you nowhere to hide and force you to learn to lock in properly.


Junior Member
Thanks everyone - loads of great advice and thanks especially for the encouragement.

Will try out all of those tips but, as I guessed, there's no silver bullet (never is, right?). For now, kids and job are going to limit my live exposure, but one day ... until then I'll just focus on making the other jammers look good ;)


Silver Member
Recording yourself has always been the greatest tool since that was possible.

I was playing to recorded songs for many years. One time I got my hands on a buddy's GoPro & decided to hook in the audio of the song & record how I played that song.
I was just messing around with it, but I learned a valuable lesson: I SUCKED!!

My timing was WAY off & my fills in the song were ripe with stick clicks & the like.
So as a result, I began to really LISTEN. Hear the song for what it was, not for what I thought I heard.

When I recorded myself again, it was a 180 from the last time.

Years later when I began playing live, I never forgot to listen to how the song progressed and what the other musicians needed from me.
It's been a good time behind the traps ever since.