It’s no secret that there is a ton of work before the big dance. Rehearsals are a given. I figure you might as well make them as much fun as possible. Here are some tips for making rehearsals more fun and less stress.
- Know your material. I have been busted a couple of times and just had to say "Sorry guys, I have not spent time with this song, so I can’t lead you very well."
- Let everyone contribute ideas. We have a rule with our musicians: Everyone gets to offer suggestions in arrangements, etc, but I (or the worship leader for the evening) gets the final call. Somebody has to take the lead.
- Let them run. A 10 second pause and the drummer starts a groove, then the guitar player, followed by the bass. You were looking for your capo and they take off on Sweet Home Alabama or the latest Britney Spears hit (does she have a hit??). Let it run for a bit before you reign it back in. You might find some creative ideas there.
- Listen to the actions of your band. If your bass player is normally energetic and comes in looking beat up, find out what is up. You are not just a worship leader, you have the role of Pastoring these people. Note: I wouldn’t bring this up in front of the band. "Hey, Chad, you look like you just got fired. What’s up?" Trust me on this one:>
- Don’t be afraid to say what you do and don’t want. I often say things like "We are falling apart in the chorus. Let’s put the bass on quarter notes and not so much rhythm from the electric. Also, let’s find a pad instead of a piano sound." Our musician’s know up front (we intentionally tell new musicians) that I am not criticizing them, I am just saying that they are playing like an incompetent first-grader. Kidding of course. They know we are looking for the right arrangements in order to be invisible. Separate the person from the playing.
- Smile and have fun. Don’t take the rehearsal crazy serious. You will stress the band out. I used to freak when rehearsals were bad. By the time we get to Sunday, everyone does their homework and it comes together.
I expect some train wrecks along the way. We are all human and things fall apart. It just comes with the territory. Above all, I try to encourage the band individually and have a good time. Sometimes I just shake my head that I actually get paid to play music. Enjoy the ride!