In the years that we have been teaching and mentoring youth worship teams, we have noticed that some students weren’t as motivated to practice as others. Some didn’t excel as fast as they should have, and really struggled with their weekly exercises. I wanted to find out why they weren’t motivated. I started asking each student, “What are you playing your audio files through? What is your rehearsal space like? What kind of room do you have to practice in?” And because of their answers, I decided to start volunteering to visit my student band members’ homes to see how their rehearsal spaces were set up. Many of them had a rehearsal space that was very uninviting. Most of them were just playing their audio files through their laptop computer speakers or smart phone speaker. One of my students had her keyboard facing into a wall in a corner of her room. Wow, I would never practice either!
In another case, two of our students had Karaoke systems just sitting around their houses, unused. Karaoke systems can be a great tool for rehearsal spaces, especially if you are on a budget. Most Karaoke systems have multiple inputs (including multiple mic inputs), auxiliary inputs, and also a headphone jack. With the purchase of just a few adaptor cables, you can use these Karaoke systems as a mini home sound system. You can use the mic inputs for keyboards, guitars, bass, etc. You can hook the computer, mp3 player, or smart phone to the auxiliary in to play their rehearsal audio files. Another cool thing is that they can plug in a nice pair of professional inexpensive headphones and hear everything coming from one sound source, crystal clear. It also cancels the speaker out on the Karaoke system, allowing the student to practice in private, and at any hour of the day or evening! Owning a nice pair of cupped over the ear headphones also allows you to hear instruments, phrases and rhythms that you wouldn’t usually hear from the standard inexpensive speaker that comes with these Karaoke systems. Note: You can find Karoake systems used at thrift stores, garage sales, etc for a fraction of the new prices.
Another one of my students had a keyboard practice amp with an auxiliary input, and also a headphone jack. All she needed was a 3.5mm male to male stereo audio auxiliary cable for her to plug her computer, iPad or iPhone into it. She loves it, and can play her rehearsal audio files along with her keyboard and/or guitar with the other two inputs, and she has much better sound quality now, which makes for a more inspirational practice session.
The Perfect Rehearsal Space
You’ll want to create a private space somewhere in their bedroom or another room in the home that is inviting, inspiring and motivating. A bright, cheery, well-lit room with windows is great. We suggest that this room should also include a large wall or door mirror, so that they can watch their form, posture, and stage presence as they practice.
I received an email from one of my students’ parents late one evening after I left their house after setting up their rehearsal space. She let me know that their children practiced for 2 ½ hours straight after getting their new space set up! I would encourage you to offer to visit your student’s homes if you are a teacher or student worship team leader, and think creatively to set them up with a better rehearsal space. Taking the time to visit their home also shows them that you really care about their success as a musician.
May you be blessed as you continue to pour into the next generation of worship leaders and musicians!