Midweek rehearsals are one of the most valuable and frequently underutilized vehicles for worship and tech teams alike. For worship teams, making the most of this time can really propel a team forward. They also offer a great opportunity for raising the bar on production, with the added benefit of being a pressure-free time for raising up the next generation of production techs. Here are some tips on how you can make the most of mid-week rehearsals for everyone involved.
NOT KNOWING YOUR SONGS BEFORE REHEARSAL
Rehearsal is a weekly opportunity to raise the bar for both your worship and tech teams. To paraphrase what Ricardo Sanchez said in our last issue, this is meant to be a time where the team comes together to rehearse songs, not learn them. The same is arguably true for tech teams as well.
SOLUTION: Getting everyone on the same page about what is expected going into rehearsal is key. If leaders want everyone who is rostered to know their parts going into rehearsal, that needs to be communicated as an expectation. Ideally the same holds true for the sound team. Knowing the songs going into rehearsal allows sound techs to know what to mix for, and practice before Sunday.
NOT RECORDING FINAL RUN-THROUGHS
I’d suggest rehearsing the songs in the order in which you’ll be playing them on Sunday morning, unless you’re adding a new song, in which case I’d suggest starting there.
SOLUTION: Once you’ve rehearsed each song to the point where the team can play it all the way through without mistakes, I’d suggest running and recording the entire set list in order. I’d also suggest recording your set via an iPhone of the board to share with the worship and tech teams via PlanningCenterOnline.com (PCO), or an email linking to an online resource like Dropbox. This gives everyone a chance to review their parts and performances before Sunday rolls around. It also serves as a great rehearsal vehicle since the songs will be the key and order in which they’ll be played on Sunday. If there are sections where the worship leader will be addressing the congregation it is a good idea to include those in your run-through as well.
NOT HAVING A SEPARATE BAND/PODCAST/STREAMING MIX
Most board mixes are a poor representation of how things actually sound in the room since they have to compensate for the volume of drums and amplified instruments.
SOLUTION: If your church is using a digital mixer, this is relatively easy to remedy by creating separate mixes and routing those to alternate outputs on the board. In addition to providing a much better listening experience, this is also a great opportunity to raise up sound techs on what actually makes a great mix, be it live or after the fact. If you’re not using a digital mixer, using an app like VoiceMemos on an iPhone set up at the board is a convenient alternative for capturing what is actually happening in the room
NOT MAKING THE MOST OF RUN-THROUGH MIXES
The biggest benefit of making these recordings is that it gives leaders a vehicle for getting things better by Sunday. Providing individual and/or group feedback is key to this process.
SOLUTION: Be it in person, or via PCO, email, text, or phone, providing specific feedback on what is and is not working is key. Noting that creatives tend to hear criticism much louder than they hear praise, be sure to point out what people are doing well, as this is key to their feeling appreciated.
LACK OF CONSISTENCY
Be it recording and sharing rehearsal run-throughs and comments, or online podcasts of your entire service, consistency is the key to success.
SOLUTION: Leaders are busy, and people tend to forget that they are working long before and after rehearsal ever starts. That said, making the most of these digital resources can really raise the bar for everyone involved and are well worth the investment of time. Whether it is adding them to your must-do list, or delegating them to someone else, creating systems that ensure that these resources are shared in a timely fashion is key. Delegating is not admitting failure, rather it is giving someone else a chance to come along side of you, as you support and grow your teams.