Besides your daily practice routine, there’s always the need to prepare for the next worship service.

Here’s a quick rundown of what that should look like.

1. If you use Planning Center or another scheduling program or App, go there first and quickly.

Don’t wait until the night before or on the way to church. That will really stress you out… AND probably means you will not bring your best game. Check the list and practice the music according to your level of need. More on that in a minute. If your worship leader or MD (Musical Director) doesn’t give you a list or music until rehearsal time before service, then make the best of it. That’s a topic for another article. Hopefully your team has a long history of playing together and a lot of experience so that this scenario doesn’t hinder the music and, most importantly, the worship experience for your congregation.

2. Over prepare!

Print out the charts or put them in your iPad or other device, and take notes. What’s the tempo? … the style? … the feel? … the technical needs? Write it all down. Do the work. If the music is familiar, then you probably don’t need a lot of time to practice it. But I would still do a quick run through. If you’re nervous about any of the music, give it more attention. Practice until you’re not “over thinking” the music. For experienced players that might mean only playing a verse and chorus and then moving on. If drumming is new to you, or you have less experience, then working on a new song for an hour might be needed. Be honest with yourself and do what it takes.

3. Back to the technical stuff.

If I’m suppose to prepare “drum loops” or play with tracks (music stems) I’ll load that stuff into my laptop using whatever program is needed. It could just be play along tracks played from iTunes. But you might be using a major music track source like Loop Community or MultiTracks using a music DAW (digital audio workstation) like Ableton, Cubase, or others. Whatever the case may be, get a head start on all of this tech work. Sure, if you do this all the time it may feel like the night before is no big deal. It may not be a problem for you. BUT… it’s not “you” I’m worried about… equipment can be unpredictable. What has worked great a hundred times, all of a sudden can crash or just not be working properly. Be way ahead of the game and it will make your life easier. Trust me on this! Working out the tech stuff early relieves stress. AND… try to have back up systems in place if your church can afford to do that. Or you can have another band member have a duplicate system on their laptop or pad. I know some churches that run major music production systems and have up to three levels of backup for their services. Not every church can afford this, but work with what you’ve got. Even if it just means keeping your laptop backed up to an external drive. (*The rule in computer systems – “Have three copies.”)

4. How’s your drum set sounding?

As you play through the music be aware of the sound of your kit. Are the heads in good shape? Does the tuning work for the songs that you’re playing? Do you need to adjust the muffling of the drums? Think of how your sound matches the recordings of the music you have to reproduce for the service. I try to match sounds as closely as possible. Even if your worship leader doesn’t demand this, make it a musical goal to be as meticulous as possible. If your kit at home is different that what you play at church, then work on matching their sound as closely as possible. I believe the sound of your drums makes you play a certain way. Be mindful of the details.

Being prepared and having a consistent practice routine allows you to enjoy the music and the worship experience. Blessings as you continue to grow in skill and service to the Lord and His people.

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