How 2 rehearsals are better than 1

This week we’re back to our normal routine again, having had the summer break…which means we’re back to our regular Tuesday night rehearsal slot.

Band Rehearsal

Now I’ve talked about rehearsals a lot. Probably because we do it a lot. But, a bit of history: We used to (around 5 years ago) be one church with three separate congregations who met at different locations. With three separate teams. As the leadership structure of the church has changed, as well as various other contributing factors, we are now in the position of having several meetings but now all in the same building. This has led to bringing all of our teams under one roof, and honing our song list, rotas and rehearsal schedule.

This has been a gradual process….the 9:15 band used to rehearse every other Friday, the 11:15 band every other Tuesday, the 10:15 rehearsed on site before the service…so the first thing we did was bring everybody together on one evening. This was fine when we didn’t have many musicians, as there was space for everybody on stage and enough inputs in the sound desk. But as time has gone on the band has grown (which is a great problem to have). And after having a few rehearsals when everybody turned up, and we had three to a microphone, more guitarists than a Passion concert and the unsolvable problem of how to share one drum kit between three drummers…we had to change our process.

New Regime

After a bit of deliberation, we have settled into our new pattern, which works like this:

The band for Sunday has full use of the main hall for their rehearsal, and they go through the set as if it was Sunday. Being in the same position, using the same instruments, being plugged into the same equipment means that come Sunday, there shouldn’t be any surprises and the services will go smoothly.

At the same time, every other Tuesday (as we have another group who use our church on alternate Tuesdays), we have a second rehearsal meeting in our backrooms. This is for everybody in the band not involved on the coming Sunday, but also open to any new team members and also for anybody who may want to attend and see what we do. We use this time to refine the songs which we are already doing, learn new songs (especially at the beginning of a term), work on our techniques together and also have the opportunity to share in some prayer together. I’ve also been able to set aside this time to have sectional rehearsals, so we had an evening with just the guitarists, or concentrating on the sound team with the band, and I have a music theory 101 evening up my sleeve at some time in the near future.

This has meant we are able to make much better use of our rehearsal time without taking up extra time in the week….I don’t know about you, but we already have so many meetings and commitments during the week that I don’t want to make demands on extra evenings with our band.

Benefits

Of course this requires a bit of administration, I have to keep ahead of what music we’re using and specifically plan what we’re going to do with our extra rehearsals. And I keep these fairly open…for all of the reasons above, and as we already have commitment that our band will be at rehearsal for Sundays, I am willing to cut them some slack for any additional rehearsal time. That said, most of our band come regularly enough, and seem to enjoy it! And the benefits have been huge to us all as a team…it means we are all meeting and playing together more frequently, we are learning the songs quicker and also growing much better as a team.

Now I don’t know how you schedule your rehearsals with your team…I have experienced all from weekly rehearsals three weeks out from a Sunday right through to pulling it together in the hour before a service. But I can recommend maintaining a regular frequency for all of our musicians, so they can grow musically, technically, spiritually and communally as well.

What is your rehearsal schedule?

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