5 (more) excuses musicians use in rehearsal [7th of the #Eightfor8]

A lighthearted look at how artists try to explain being unprepared


This #Eightfor8 post from our most popular articles is a continuation of our “5 Excuses” post that went viral in 2015. This slightly sarcastic sequel also received a lot of attention from musicians and artists, many of whom are too all familiar with these phrases. Perhaps you’ve even used one of them, but don’t get too upset. We artists can have a good laugh at our own expense, while at the same time challenging ourselves to be more disciplined and accountable.

We’ve all done it.

Most musicians do their best to arrive at every rehearsal prepared. But we aren’t perfect, so there are times when we’re a little shaky on a song.  When that happens, we’ll probably use one of these excuses. Here they are with their accompanying translations.

1.  I didn’t get the email. 

Translation:  I’ve somehow managed to neglect opening the email attachment with the song you sent weeks ago. And what in the world is a ‘Dropbox?’ I’d prefer if you went old-school and handed me a CD, or you could go classic and fax me the sheet music. Just page my beeper when you send it.

2. I listened to the wrong arrangement.

Translation: When I saw the song on the list, I immediately pulled up every Youtube and Spotify version of the song I could find – except the one you specified – and got thoroughly confused. One was played in F sharp as a waltz and another was in C minor as a blues. I’m just gonna play a mash-up of the two and hope one of them is the one you wanted.

3.  I already know it. 

Translation: I’ve heard the song on the radio a few times and I think I can guess my way through enough of the song to convince you that I know it. Of course, if I miss a chord or melody I can just blame it on the other musicians for changing the feel. No one will ever know as long as I act like I was the guy in the studio during the original recording.

4. I just learned the (verse, chorus, etc).

Translation: While doing a million other things, I decided I’d just catch the drift of the chorus, the hook, or some other part of the song and learn the rest later. “Later” never happened, and now we’re supposed to play the entire thing. Just be glad I can play the section I learned. No one ever does the entire song anyway.

5. I thought we weren’t going to do the song. 

Translation: As soon as I heard that the bridge was in 7/8 and the intro had six key changes, I decided that there was no way we’d actually pull this off. After all, the other musicians in the band probably thought the same thing, and if we stick together, no one will actually have to spend hours getting this ridiculously hard stuff down.  So if anyone in this rehearsal actually did the work to learn the music- they better keep their mouth shut.

Musicians, don’t feel bad if you’ve quoted one of these phrases (or all of them). Just commit to doing better next time. Or, at least, do a better job of explaining yourself.

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