Rehersal at church.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by count_funkula, Nov 19, 2003.

  1. Is it normal in a church rehersal setting to focus amost exclusively on the singers? At our rehersals the only time the the band gets to work on the song is when we are actually playing it. There is never any time for us (guitar, drums, keys, and bass) to discuss what each of us should play. We all have to improvise on the spot and thats pretty much what we do when playing on Sunday. To me, we are really cutting ourselves short. If we as the band had time to really work out the music for these tunes the singers would sound much better because everything would be tighter and the floe of the music would seem to have more direction.

    Just curious if I'm the only one in this situation. I try my best to do what I can with what I have but sometimes all the instruments need to be on the same page.
  2. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I'm resisting the temptation to link to a thread / rant I started about a year and a half ago. Do the other musicians feel the same way that you do or are they comfy with the "on the fly" aspect of the service? If they feel the same way you do, I'd suggest you guys identify about a dozen or so pieces that you know come up in the rotation a lot and just work together to nail them. Develop your own signals and cues so that you as a group know how to react to each other, especially if the vocals take you some where you don't expect. At least you guys can all move as a cohesive unit.


  3. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    I have played in two churches. one was an "outreach" church of our main church. it was a small church and a new wednesday night service and they did not spend much time practicing. for a while we'd play over the songs for 1/2 hour BEFORE THE service. later when they expanded into a "choir" (5 people) they WOULD mostly concentrate on getting the singers to sing and emphasize the lyrics the way the worship leader wanted them to. later, AND HERE IS WHERE IT GETS BIZZARE, the worship leader did not like the "burden" of dealing with the band AND the singers learning the song at the same practice night and set ANOTHER night for the choir to practice so the ONLY time the band and choir was together was the 30 mins before service!!! CRAZY!! It seldom sounded good.

    Now I play with our childrens P&W band and we usually have 1 or 2 singers so the emphasis is on the music and not just the singers.
  4. JFN

    JFN Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2003
    At my church, the band and sound people arrive for rehearsal on Thursday at 7:00 for set up. We rehearse just with the band from 7:30 to 8:30, then the singers arrive and we rehearse the material for the Sunday service.

    On Sunday morning, the band and crew arrive at 7:00, prepare and rehearse again. The singers arrive around 8:00, and we run the set again. Then the first service begins at 9:00.

    It helps that several of us, including the worship leader/guitar player have professional experience, but commitment from everyone involved is very important.

    So, to answer your question, we spend a good amount of time working on the band parts. The drummer and I spend time discussing/working on grooves, and how we want to support the song as a rhythm section. I hope this helps.

  5. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Who's leading the group? What sections need most work - and have you discussed this with the person who's leading?

    Most of the music we do at my church is well within my grasp so at last night's rehearsal I devoted my energy between playing bass, checking levels on the sound desk, helping the kid who's just started playing drums with us, suggesting a few parts for the pianist...

    FWIW, when I'm leading worship (about once a month) I often schedule a voluntary rehearsal for an hour or so the night before, which is mainly to work on the parts I've written for flute, trumpet, piano and clarinet. It's all about working with who you've got, playing to their strengths and helping them past their weaknesses.

  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I play at a very small church. We rarely ever rehearse.

    The only times we rehearse are when adding a couple of new praise songs to our repertoire, and a couple of times a year when we do jazz arrangements of hymns or Christmas songs, with sax taking the lead.
  7. Fire-Starter

    Fire-Starter Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    When the band at our church used to practice on Thursday, than they would practice again for two hours on saturday just before the p/w and choir came in, then we would go for another two hours. and IT WAS TIGHT! now we practice for 2 1/2 hours on saturdays and than another two hours with the p/w and choir. we get the songs by email on the Monday/Tuesday before, so we can practice at home, then just fine tune at final practice. FWIW when you have a choir and p/w with a large selection of songs to choose from
    ...IT HAS NEVER WORKED AT ANY CHURCH I HAVE PLAYED WITH FOR THE SINGERS to have more time then the band..heres some of my experiences

    1:the lead singer from time to time will just go into a song that has not been rehearsed for a long time by the band, and the band is struggling to find his/key tempo etc..and it just sounds tacky.

    2:The leader for a service will say on the Sunday during service, "lets not do that one, I feel the Lord taking me in a different direction" and what follows is he/she is the only one going in that direction while everyone else struggles to find a hand to help us back from the DEEP WATER DROPP OFF we were all just tossed into. Then when every one gets together to ask what happend, they say "I don't know, I was just doing what God told me to do, you guys just missed it"

    I said all of that to say this, the band must practice together to get the hits,breaks etc just to feel each other out and get tight and then they need to practice with the singers, and practice together just like you are gonna minister in the service. I can tell you with todays Gospel Music, with it breaks, changes in temple etc, all very fast sometimes! every body needs to be on the same page.
    Listen to some of Fred Hammond and you will see what I am talking about.

    Last, hang in there, try not to get frustrated like I have so many times in the past, it could hinder your playing, if you can, find a seperate time for the band to get tight.

    Gods peace,blessing and mercy!
  8. Is this a worldwide thing!!!! We have the same problem here in London, England. Especially when the song leader sings the wrong song at the wrong time (i.e. drops off themselves and tries to blame you).

    My advice is make sure you find a different band to play with outside of Sundays that rehearse, otherwise people will think that is how you play your instrument and as we say over here you will be 'GUILLOTINED' (in other words you're in 'DEEP WATER DROP OFF'(I like that phrase Fire-Starter). You know that you are better than that but they only see the Sundays.

    Keep your head up, go with the flow, don't take it too seriously, I know, I know, I know it hurts because you want to play your best for the Lord but "whenever I try to do right......". You get the gist.
  9. flash41

    flash41 Lost bassist returns.


    I don't know what most Praise bands do, but I certainly don't think having a band that doesn't practice is the best way of doing things. Here is what we do:

    1) On Tuesday, we get a list of songs (generally about 4-5) we are going to play via e-mail from the Worship Minister (who runs the band). They are usually from a list of 75 or so songs for which we have the sheet music and/or chord sheets. I have several three ring binders filled with the music, as written, as well as my own "notation" sheets.

    2) If we are learning a new song or for some reason I don't have the music I contact the Worship Minister and request the music. If I can't get touch with him (which is rare), I try to find the music (at least guitar chords) online.

    3) I try to locate an audio sample of the music, either on my own CDs or downloaded MP3's, etc. I don't read music, so I then listen to the music and work out a rough bass part which I write out on the computer in my own notation along with the lyrics. I put in a few hours of practice on my own.

    4) On Thursday evening, the band (including vocalists) will meet. We will spend a half an hour or so in prayer and sharing. Then we start working on the songs all together. If they are songs we are relatively familiar with and we aren't having major problems, we will just play them a few times and "tweak" them.

    5) If the song is a new one or one that we are having difficulty with, or we have one the Worship Minister just wrote, we will break into the vocalists (who will go off with a lead vocalist) and the instrumentalists. Once we have our respective parts relatively worked out, we get back together again and play all together.

    6) If things go smoothly, we will be done after about two hours of actual practice. If we have difficulties we will go longer. If needed, the vocalists and/or instrumentalists will practice separately again at the end.

    7) After Thursday's practice, I will work further on the bass part and make some changes and additional notes re: improvisational ideas, etc. on my own notation. All told, I probably spend 10-15 hr a week working out the bass parts, writing them in a format I can work from, practicing with the band, and playing along with audio tracks.

    8) Sunday morning we will tune up, warm up, and do a quick run over parts that we've had problems with. We rarely have more than 15 min to do this between services.

    9) Then we play the same set for two services.

    We have two alternating teams; however, I generally play on both teams, since we are short of bass players.

    Additionally, we have a friday evening, music-based service for teens. That includes a completely separate group of teen musicians that play for their own evening worship service (and practice for 1-2 hours prior to the service). It is also a place for mentoring young musicians. I am starting to work with the teen group as well.

    It would be wise for you to honestly and respectfully discuss your issues with all concerned.
  10. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    We meet at 8:00 Sunday morning to practice the set for the day. We have 2 teams but I play bass on both. It does get a little hard because almost none of the other players or singers have much if any musical experience, and are scared to experiment. Trying to get the backup singers to sing harmony instead of melody is hard enough. If I suggest "lets try this with a reggae feel" or "the rhythm section needs to emphasize that triplet" they look at me like a cow at a new gate. They are my friends and great people, but the musical limitations are frustrating sometimes.
  11. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    I think that's common. At my church, the singers are the ones who need the most work.

    For one thing, singers are more likely to be untrained than instrumentalists. They also need to blend amongst themselves more than instrumentalists do. Sure, we need to blend, too, but very seldom are there other musicians playing the same line I am. And it's just physically more difficult to sing passably well than to play passably well in most cases. If I need to start on a certain note, I just play it, and as long as my bass is in tune I can count on it being the right note. With singing, there's more … well, what can I call it other than randomness. ;)
  12. todd 4ta

    todd 4ta

    Apr 3, 2003
    For songs that we know, or have at least done before, we typically just run it all together - band and singers. If it's a new song, or changing up an existing song, we at least try it once with everyone. Then, if needed, the singers may go down to another room to work on the vocals while the band continues to practice and work things out. Then, we all come back together to make it work.

    We practice from 7-9pm Tues. night, and from 8-9a on Sunday before service. We are usually doing from 6 to 8 songs per week, and usually have at least 1 or 2 new ones. We are expected to work through the songs on our own to be ready for Sunday.

    We also have a CD deck in our sound board so we can listen to the new songs before we try them.

    Our worship leader is a very talented musician (doctoral student at Indiana University), and also a very patient leader. He is a HUGE reason why everything works so well. He has an excellent ear for both instruments and vocals, so he's really good about figuring what areas need to be fixed (like vocal harmonies are clashing, drums and bass aren't working together (NEVER), or that the overall feel needs to change).
  13. hands5


    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    I totaly agree.You know,we use to have this same problem (which cause some needed personnel changes)but the one thing that we had was the 3 of us(the band)were commited to excellence regardless who was singing.We also ask the Praise team to not bring in Fred Hammond,John P.Kee,Kim Burrel( really:rolleyes: )tunes if they are not willing to put time/effort into practicing them as we do.It took a little time but we eventually got on the same page.
    Also we( the band) let it be known that if the spirit does move in a different direction there is a good chance that you'll be "out there" without the musicians.