Are your Church worship band practices stale and predictacle? Have you got into a rut? I was chatting to a musician a while back and he was saying "I just don't enjoy practices. I turn up and we don't get started for ages, we practice one or two songs I already know then spend ages just going around two chords and I'm hardly playing anything". How can we avoid practices becoming like this? How can we avoid musicians becoming disalusioned with practices?
Importance of Practices
God doesn't just call us to be faithful in our service, He calls us to be skillful in the way we play (Psalm 33 says to "play skillfully on the strings"). When we practice we are improving our skill and our ability to play with other musicians. Practices are a good thing and aid our Sunday meetings.
Playing with Regular Musicians
I'm a big fan of set teams (I'll blog more about this soon). I used to find my worship band practices were like groundhog day every time- different musicians not knowing the songs you normally do, having to teach them the songs and never feeling like progress was being made. When we moved to a set band system as a Church this meant that we had a pool of songs we'd all played together before and we knew what each could do. Great for spontaneity!
Tips for making Band Practices Better
1) Send out the songs you are thinking of doing a week in advance with Youtube links so the band can hear what they sound like and get practicing to them at home before getting together. I'm a fan of looking at atleast one new song per practice- sometimes even trying out a new song you don't plan to do on Sunday but to hear how it sounds with a band.
2) The worship leader should get to the practice early and make sure the PA system and mics are set up in time.
3) Make sure there's a good understanding between band members as to the default structure of each song you are doing ie verse, chorus, instrumental, chorus etc
4) Get different members of the worship team MDing (musically directing) during sponaneous moments. Get them to signal chord changes and worship leaders and singers can sing a new song over the top.
5) Get the worship team praying, not just for playing the right thing on Sunday, but for the whole Church! The more we can be praying for the gatehred Church to encounter God and to enjoy praising Him together the better!
Tips for making Band Practices more Fun!
1) Play a well known song in a totally different style ("One Thing Remains" works a treat in Reggae!)
2) Rotate musicians around different instruments- this can be great fun (especially when I get onto the drums... I'm rubbish on the drums!)
3) You don't need to get mega intense and serious at band practices- they can be great times of fellowship and banter. Some of my closest friends are in my worship team.
4) Get some different instruments involved. I love using the Melodica sometimes at practices and once we used some steel drums which were left out in the practice room! (Pictured above)
I hope some of those ideas are helpful. Comment below about how you've found practices, how you've made them better and any tips you have.
How to make Band Practices even better
By Olly Knight 25/07/13