IF you’re serious about your band, you’re going to need a rehearsal space. A band’s space becomes their home, their headquarters and their creative oasis. A good space can really nurture the growth of a band, and provide a safe-haven from judging ears. So what kinds of places are there to set up shop?
One of your bandmates may have access to a basement, attic or garage they or their family don’t mind sharing.This can wind up being the most affordable solution to your practice space woes. Of course, you should look into soundproofing these rooms when you can. Attics are often intolerably hot during summer months, but they still get the job done.
In almost any town, you can find buildings that house several individual band spaces. Often the buildings are old apartment buildings, schools, motels or strip malls that have been repurposed to accomodate bands. The availability of these spaces depends on the scene in your town and the price for room rentals. Knowing bands break up often, the owners of these facilities want to keep their spaces filled, so the rental terms are usually quite different than those of apartments. I was once in a desperate scenario where my band needed space, and knew of a good affordable facility that housed bands underneath an old store. Unfortunately for us, the rooms were all full. SO I contacted the building owner and offered my band’s service to help build some more spaces in the existing basement. He agreed to pay for materials and give us 6 months free rent in exchange for our labor. The project took us a week in 2003, and we still have friends in the space today.
If your band can afford a bigger rent, check your local real estate listings for commercial or industrial space for lease. These spaces offer larger rehersal areas, more privacy, and can provide more living space for things like furniture and groupies.
Those are the ‘big 3’ options for rehersal spaces. Other ideas include storage units, rec centers, or even the back patio (if you play acoustic instruments). Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and find some unorthodox place for your band to practice. If you can play somewhere without bothering anyone, then you’ve struck music gold.
If money is a concern, consider sharing a space with another band or 2. This is what we do currently, and it works well. Have one person be responsible for collecting the rent, and paypal works really well for this too. We have a facebook message group that has everyone in our space, and Jay, the guy “in charge” can contact us whenever he needs to. This message group is also how we see if the room is in use, or if we need to use it on a certain night. It can be tricky scheduling time to use the room on occasion, but for the most part it’s great. ONE thing I would say is that if you are going to share space with a band, be sure you know some of the people in the other bands. We’re all pretty respectful of each other’s equipment in there, but I’ve heard horror stories about broken amps, drums & stolen gear.