As worship leaders we are always thinking about how to save rehearsal time, or at least I am.
This past week I was not the worship leader; I was a band member. And it was fun. I discovered it can be a lot of fun wasting rehearsal time, and so I decided to share some of the ways I love to waste rehearsal time.
- Practice your favorite riffs. Isn’t it a blast to pull out your favorite lick from your favorite song and just blast it through the sound system? I love testing out the really deep movie soundtrack pads on the synth to see what rattles from the low frequencies. Or how about a bit of The Maple Leaf Rag on the piano? Definitely fun.
- Brag about your new girlfriend. Um, yeah, this is a blast. It’s not like I’m going to leave my life at the door. My week and my life walk right in with me and I love to share it with those around me.
- Tweet pictures of the band. This is a new favorite for me. I am a latecomer to the world of Twitter, but I love the idea of sharing my life with my friends and followers. On Sundays I love to tweet comments from the message and text thoughts to friends who are not in town because I feel like I am getting to go to church with them.
- Show off your new favorite chord voicing. When I find a very cool voicing for a chord I love to play it. A lot.
- Break into a jazz improv session. Sometimes a particular line of music will strike me and at an opportune moment I will goof around with it. Sometimes the drummer and bassist will jump in, too, and we will all end up laughing.
About now some of the musicians who have worked with me are probably scratching their heads and wondering, “Where in the world is Maurice?”
Too much distraction can derail any effort to have a productive and timely rehearsal, but ultimately these are the things that make rehearsal fun. Talking about your husband or the cute thing your son did or some rough thing at work takes time, but those conversations are the building blocks of relationship.
Dare I say we should encourage these things?
I have led plenty of rehearsals that were tight and efficient and which were not personal or relational. I have also attempted to lead rehearsals where there was too much relating and personal stuff going on.
I would rather end up on the side of relating too much than on the side of being too efficient. Life is about people, and so is worship leading. Music is secondary.
If you want to make your rehearsals a little more relational, try one or more of these things:
- Begin rehearsal with a 5 minute devotional followed by prayer for each other. Keep the devotional to a thought, and then pray for any prayer requests the team members have. Include the technicians.
- Cultivate a structured but loose rehearsal. Know what you want to do and how you want to do it, but allow room for laughter and life. At past churches little impromptu jam sessions have turned into tunes we used as instrumental pre-service music.
- Stop in the middle of a song and ask someone what the lyrics mean to them. Create opportunities for people to insert their lives into the songs. As a result the musicians will play and sing more from the heart, drawing the congregation in.
There are many ways to make rehearsals more relational without giving way to anarchy. What has worked for you?