The six most important rules for sharing a practice space
Mixing business with pleasure is a dirty game, isn't it? While necessary, practice spaces exemplify the tension that comes with sharing a small area with a number of personal friends and acquaintances. It's like living in a tiny house with eight other unbalanced roommates. Between paying rent, keeping the space clean and organized, and having to occasionally text a friend and ask them if you can use a guitar strap, there are a multitude of dicey situations you can find yourself in.
To help alleviate some common headaches associated with sharing a space, we've compiled a short guide to help you navigate through some potentially tenuous and troublesome situations with your fellow musicians.
Last time you tried to change the garbage, you ended up having to wash your hands. Rather than risk contracting some sort of deadly fungal infection from old beer and fast-food wrappers, you should just take a mic stand and mash the filth further down into the garbage can. This creates more room and thus is an increase in efficiency. Plus, the trash weighs more and is really compacted in there, so the weight should help the dirty mass flop out when someone else decides to take it out. Really, you're doing everyone a favor.
The ashtray is full, and you can't empty it into the trash because the trash is also full, and the other band hasn't emptied it yet, but you need to put your cigarettes somewhere. You should absolutely be safe and put your smokes out on a non-flammable surface, like one of those metal boxes with all the knobs that the guitar players in the other band are always messing around with. That way you're sure not to start a fire. Then, take the cigarette butt and leave it on top of someone's amp just in case they happen to show up and desperately need a drag. #DoTheRightThing
I mean, dude, you've only been in there three times in the last month, and everyone else has been in there five or six times. Someone (not you, of course) should just take the rent every single month and create an algorithm that dictates what you pay based on the percentage of time you personally were in the space. It's far more fair than paying the designated amount of rent you agreed to pay every month when you moved in. Besides, remember that time six months ago when you paid an extra $15 because your temporary trumpet player was in Hawaii and didn't have time to drop off a check? Or the time you left those three Miller Lites in the refrigerator? You're totally fine, bro.
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It's important that people get a chance to hear what it's like when some of the greatest and most important musicians of all time take up the craft. Everyone knows how hard it is to start playing a new instrument, so you're basically being a spiritual leader of sorts by leaving the door open as you learn how to drum to Metallica's "Enter Sandman." Always, always leave the practice space door open to give people a raw glimpse into the unflinching reality of true art.
Being in a practice space is like being in a mini-festival, only with 30 different bands on 30 different stages, all playing at once. It's a dream come true, since each and every person is at the space to relax, have fun and let their creativity simmer and boil. Whenever you see someone, introduce yourself and take as much time as you need to learn about who they are, what band they're in and how you can get involved in it for your own personal gain. From there, if you happen to hear one of your new best friends practicing as you walk by their door, you can just invite yourself in! You can probably drink some (but not all) of their beer and maybe even give them some perspective by offering your input and suggestions on how they should be writing and playing their music.
Art is, like, supposed to be free and stuff. There's already a couch in there, and someone always buys toilet paper, soap and water for the bathroom. And you can't stay in the van because it's full of all the stuff you're borrowing from your last roommate. You know, that guy who asked you to leave after you drank a liter of Old Crow and tried painting the bathroom with peanut butter to impress that earthy girl from your performance-art class. Don't worry about all the fire codes and liabilities of living in an insulated-electrical-octopus-death-trap dump. Sometimes other people just have to make sacrifices in order for you to get what you want.
Follow Drew Ailes on Twitter @CountBakula
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