Train Wreck

The best times for me are those times where I get a chance to play. Regardless of venue. And, this usually includes rehearsals. Except for last night. So, be prepared, I am going to vent.

Last night’s rehearsal was just frustrating. After some reflection and soul searching, I think I know why. There were several reasons:

  • The rehearsal was a bit disorganized.
  • The musicians were trying to learn the material on the fly.
  • The team was disconnected (i.e., playing as individuals, not as a team)

Successful rehearsals begin with personal preparation. In chatting with a friend from Legacy Drive, he made the following comments about the importance of personal preparation:

Along with calling, personal preparation is equally important to the success of the team on a weekly basis. Each musician needs to make the time and apply the effort necessary to help reach the goals set for leading worship. At Legacy Drive, our efforts in preparing musicians include workshops, tapes, CDs, score availability seven days in advance and an Internet Web site providing schedules, music, and some scores on the Web. The goal is to make the Wednesday night praise band rehearsal a “dress” rehearsal and not the first time musicians run through the music.

So what happened to create the train wreck last night?

Scores were not ready in advance. It was very clear that many of the players had not seen the material before the rehearsal. They were, in effect, playing the material for the first time.

No roadmap. For some of the players, they had no idea how to follow the song structure. And, hearing the consequences of musicians playing different systems at the same time is very unsettling.

Personal tension. Evident across most players. Myself included. The vibe, for want of a better term, was just wrong. We did not stop to address the tension.

No groove. The heart of any band lies in the strengths of the drummer and bass player. These two instruments create the pocket, tempo, drive, and rhythm for worship. Too much groove can damage a sensitive time during worship, and not enough can leave the congregation wondering where the praise band is going. We did not get a groove going last night.

The good news is that the teams are overall much stronger now then ever before and perhaps the bar is rising faster for some of the players and therefore the problems get magnified accordingly.

2 replies
  1. richard cleaver
    richard cleaver says:

    Highly skilled musicians can play “on the fly”. Casual players need more prep. Without prep, a rehearsal becomes a collection of individuals trying to practice their discrete parts. Never sounds good as a team.

    And bassists, bless their hearts, have much more pressure to play note perfect.


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