I hope this blog finds you well!
Our 9:30 band did a stirling job of navigating a very short band practice on Sunday morning.
It reminded me that there are a few things we can all do some of to make practices run really smoothly, particularly when we’re short on time. I know these are all pretty bread-and-butter ideas that many of you already do. But they do make a lot of difference, so it’s worth naming them once in a while...
1.) Know and practice your parts before rehearsals.
- Find the songs online, on CDs or in songbooks
- I’ve attached a list of the songs we are playing so that you can have a go at them (updated just now).
- On the Christ Church Winchester Youtube and Spotify accounts you will find playlists of songs and instrument tutorials (just on youtube).
- Listen lots to recordings till their embedded memories. I find listening to them in the car a good use of time.
- Copy what’s on the recording.
- Practice against the recording.
- Practice against a metronome.
- Record yourself playing the part and listen back to figure out what you can do better (particularly helpful for vocals with pitching and tone).
2.) Arrive on time and ready to serve
- If you have a band of 6 people and someone arrives 10 minutes late, that’s 10 minutes of each person’s time spent, 60 minutes spent in total.
- Help worship leaders get chord sheets ready
- Warm up your vocals in the car – I know a lot of our BVs already do this one at 8am on a Sunday morning
- If you’ve got lots of kit to set up, arrive early so it doesn’t squeeze on rehearsal time.
- If not, maybe arrive 5 mins early to make beverages for the team.
3.) Keep arrangements simple
- The simpler it is, the easier a lead is to follow, the less time it takes to practice, the easier it is to remember, the more confidently you will lead
- Get intros and exits strong. – This is where things tend to fall apart.
- Know the groove. If you know the groove, it’s easier to go off-piece or to change up the dynamics.
4.) Play less
- It’s so tempting when you’re up on stage to feel like you should be doing something.
But feel free to step back from the mic, or simply be still. That gives permission for others in the congregation to do the same.
- Also, the less you play, the less you have to remember, and the more of a difference you make when you do play.
5.) Be smart with rehearsal time
- It’s so tempting to go over, and over, and over a particular part until it’s sublime. But I’d recommend spending ten mins per song. You can always return to it later.
- Recapping key bits at the end of the rehearsal (topping and tailing) to make sure they’re remembered. – I learnt this one from Chris Kipling
- If you are short on time, pick a song which would be work to lead very simply with just a guitar or keyboard. Response songs are really good for this.
- If you are really short on time, cut a song. It’s better to lead four songs in a worshipful and thought-through way than to bulldoze through five badly.
6.) Be smart with sound check
- Use the sound check to line-check and set gain level.
- Then put a rough mix of essentials in each foldback.
Get band to practice a song before getting feedback on foldback.
7.) Try some more lessons
- Nothing beats some advice and support from those more experienced than you.
- Learn to play different styles to build up versatility and musical understanding
- Learn music theory. It does wonders to anticipating chord progressions, finding harmonies and knowing when to play.
The strength of this ministry's future depends predominantly on the grace of God!! And beyond that, the degree to which it will flourish largely depends on how this whole team serves one another selflessly, ministers to Christ Church lovingly and worships God reverently. Right now is a great opportunity to collectively own what God is calling Christ Church to in the way we worship. You each have a beautiful part to play and God has so much more for you in store.
Thank you for all you do! I hope these tips were of use.