• René Cobar

The Last Refuge: Three Things That Make a Rehearsal Space Special.

You know the story: Romeo Montague falls in love with Juliet Capulet, a sworn enemy of his family, chaos ensues and the greatest love story of all time is written. Shortly after Romeo kills Tybalt Capulet in a fit of rage, he finds asylum in Friar Laurence's cell, a short relief from his persecution, a ray of hope in the darkness that surrounds him. During medieval times this common practice gave way to the word sanctum Latin for "sanctuary." Defined as a place of safety and refuge, this word is common now.

In today's fast-paced society, a place to escape to can be hard to find. Coffee shops, libraries, lounges and the like are increasingly crowded and sometimes inaccessible altogether. Privacy is elusive, on the streets or online, it can be challenging to unplug or in the case of this piece plug-in.

As musicians, there is perhaps no more sacred place than where we can practice our craft, a home far removed from life's troubles, insulated with peace and serenity even when the loudest power chords are played. This place appears to many in varying forms: a garage, a living room, a studio, etc. Once found, it is cherished and protected, and it returns the favor.

Where do you practice? Photo by Angel Cobar.

The Austin Chronicle reported last Friday the possible sale of a significant rehearsal home for local musicians in the city, and it got me thinking about what that means for those individuals who exercise their craft at that location. Many will find new places to practice, but for some, it will complicate things. Here are three components that can make a rehearsal space unique and thus tricky to replace.

1. Location

I used to drive from one end of the city to the other to meet my bandmates for practice, if traffic was bad it could take me close to an hour to get there, that's quite a bit of gas money. The nearest rehearsal studio was downtown and paying for each practice can also be costly. Location is primordial, and if you are lucky enough to find a place that is convenient for all band members and it is reasonably priced, or even better free, than you know that place is special.

2. Availability

Depending on where and who you live with, that living room may not always be available and neither will that garage. Having a site that is reliable is a godsent gift that can take a massive weight of a group's shoulders. Knowing that your next practice is scheduled and secured frees your mind up and allows you to concentrate on the creative processes that can make rehearsals extraordinary.

3. History

The history of a place adds a layer of inspiration for musicians, whether that history is made by the musicians themselves or by others before them, the energy drives the music. In a 2006 iTunes Originals recording, the Red Hot Chili Peppers talked about what it meant for them to perform that set in the same room where they had recorded their record-breaking album Blood Sugar Sex Magik, their performance echoes their sentiment.

"Leave it at the door," you have undoubtedly heard this before, and that is because rehearsal spaces are sacred and no matter where you choose to set up your sanctuary, that temple if respected will soon hold precious artifacts and relics, instruments and memories. There are havens still from the worries of the world, and wherever that is for you, you deserve it, and it deserves you.

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