Have a clear direction of where you want to Progress
Nominate a bandleader, unless you work well as a team, having a leader can take the pressure off the rest of the band in that the leader will be able to control the jam or rehearsal. What little time you do have together, will be used towards a more productive outcome. For example, sometimes you will need to practice that particular riff at home instead of using up the bands time to fine tune it.
If you are a cover band, make sure you all have the same audio clips to listen to. Use the time you do have to iron out any kinks. If you are trying to make something new and original, make sure you always enter the rehearsal space with a page full of ideas. Even though you may not come to use half of them, it is still good to have your ideas written down or roughly recorded so that you can choose and structure your songs at your will.
On the other hand, if you just want to get together with some mates and play some Sabbath tunes, make sure you have enough amber liquid and a big enough Amplifier - maybe a bat or two as well.
Record and Listen back
Does what you are producing sound good? If so, why? Same applies to the opposite as in if it is not sounding as it should. Recording is one of the main steps I feel that every band should be doing. Without a recording, you won’t know where you are progressing as a group or solo if you are going it alone. It doesn't have to be some mixer worth thousands either. There are plenty of handheld audio devices now that record well with gain filters so you don't get that muffled sound and can be thrown in the centre of the room.
Progress Vs Patience
Progression is the key for any band. You will need to constantly evaluate and re-evaluate your music so that you can work out the best possible sound as well as giving yourself a pat on the back when the time calls for it. Also, try to leave your Ego at the door as much as you can. You’re working on a project and that takes time, so you must be able to have space where you and your bandmates can all freely discuss whatever it is that needs to be worked on. For example, say your bassist is constantly messing up on one part, you should be able to let him know. If you are the bassist then you must be able to take the advice given in a positive and constructive manner and run with it. You are all working towards the one purpose and that is to make sweet, sweet music. Keep foremost in your mind any advice is good advice.
This leads to the next step which is positivity, or what I like to call having a “thick skin”. Have a good think about this as I feel that most bands tend to quite easily come unstuck in this area. Unless you’re Jimi Hendrix reincarnated you’re going to have to deal with criticism, whether that comes from yourself, other band mates or your audience. Criticism can be a pain in the ass to take on board for most people but if taken in a constructive manner it can kick-start you down the wonderful road of progression and ultimately better whatever it is that you are wanting to achieve.
It is not easy to take on criticism but by the same token, it can be the strongest weapon in your arsenal. Take this quote from Thomas Edison for an example, “I haven’t failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Back to the recording process for a second because I feel this is an integral part if any progress is to occur. Get your music out there! Find people that haven’t heard your music before and ask for their opinion. You would be surprised at how great this can be as you may not have seen your work in that same light and it really does give you more to work on. Mothers, fathers, siblings, friends even other bands feedback is valuable. I love to use the contributions from other bands because it not only gives you another creative person's way of thinking, therefore, expanding your awareness, but it can also make some really great connections later on down the proverbial music road.
I used to send all my new drum tracks that I was working on to my mother (don’t laugh, Bon Scott did it). She would pick up on things that I would never have picked up on, even after a lifetime of listening to my work. Through that, I could tighten my music tenfold. It also comes back to Paragraph 6 and can give you a huge boost of confidence to keep evolving and to keep on going on.