How to Lead Great Band Rehearsals: Part 2

One of the best ways to set yourself up for a distraction-free Sunday service is to have rehearsals that allow for more freedom on Sundays.  God deserves all glory for services that usher people into His presence, but he's all also called us to lead his church so there are steps we can take to steward that responsibility well as musicians.  

Part 1 was about the difference between "rehearsals" and "practice" and how a simple tweak of language can cast vision to your team.  Once your language is adjusted, the next step is to back up the vision with preparation. Preparation begins and ends with the leader. You have zero credibility to ask your team for preparation, if you don't lead the way.

Here is how to breakdown preparing for a song:

1. The Beginning! How does each song begin?  Know what instrument starts the song.  Know the timing of chords so that you can communicate.  

2. The Map!  Know the verse, chorus, bridge order.  Where are you trying to take song dynamically?  Know when certain instruments enter/exit.

3. The Standout Sections!  Are there any special elements that demand attention?  Often there's a guitar riff, or a drum fill, vocal run, etc. that takes a song to the next level.  Make sure you are prepared to coach through those parts or at least remind the musicians that you want that part to the stand out.  

4. The Ending!  Have a plan for how to end the song.  Are you going to end abruptly?  Are you going to a big rock and roll ending?  Are you going to end gently with a swellabration (guitars and cymbals milking the swell to encourage celebration)?  

If you have those 4 areas nailed, then you should be prepared enough to navigate through any song and instill confidence in your band that they can trust your direction.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

1. Be Decisive- even if you don't have an answer for something, or have overlooked something in your preparation, just be decisive in the moment.  You can always adjust something in between rehearsal and the service.  

2. Have accurate lead sheets- make sure your lead sheets for your band are accurate.  The map and chords need to be exactly like the reference

3. Plan ahead- make sure you are giving your musicians enough time for prep.  A good goal to aim for is to have all prep materials accessible for them 2 weeks prior to rehearsal