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Developing a Successful Rehearsal

(Vocal and Instrumental)

Be Prepared – Have A Plan

• Your text gives a great 12-step method for preparation:

1. Pray

  • 2. Get the Music Ready

  • 3. Confirm Song Tempos

  • 4. Confirm Arrangements

  • 5. Choose Intro

  • 6. Play Through Transitions:

w/in songs, Segues (seɡwā):

between songs, Modulations

7. Review/Mark Tricky Timing 8. Identify Words Needing Special Pronunciation 9. Practice the Harmony Parts Too! 10. Know the Dynamics 11. Play/Sing through Playlist 12. Prepare Final Playlist for Team – make Lead Sheets, mp3, Etc.

Be Prepared – Rehearsal Order

• Be Prepared • Start on Time! End on time! • Begin and/or end with prayer • Be organized during the rehearsal –Keep it moving - Have little or no down time • Plan ahead for special services –Christmas, Easter, etc. • Break the monotony – Change things up

Be Prepared – Rehearsal Order

• Warm-ups: vocals – Breathing exercises, Diction exercises, Scales, Vocalizing exercises – Buy a book, find on internet • Warm-ups: Instrumental – Scales (choose scale of hardest key signature of playlist), Intonation, Breathing/support (long tones) – Rhythm Exercises •Play various rhythms on each scale tone •Take a difficult rhythm from playlist - play on each scale tone

Be Prepared – Rehearsal Order

• Easiest song first –Great way to continue warm-ups

–Use as warm-up if no time for proper warm-up exercises.

– Starts out rehearsal on a POSITIVE note •Builds confidence • The next easiest song on the playlist –Build momentum and more confidence

Be Prepared – Rehearsal Order

• Work on the hardest song next –Confidence is built – We can do this! • Work on the next hardest song • Rehearse remaining songs as you see fit • Know what song(s) to cut if rehearsal goes long • Spend 10 to 20 minutes per song – more time on newer songs –Don’t get bogged down.

– If a song is giving you trouble put it away – Bring it back later in the rehearsal or next week.

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

• Explain goals of practice • Be enthusiastic/positive/compliment • Don’t motivate with guilt or negativity

• A familiar song that you’ve done before would make a good first song for rehearsal

– Try not to do much correcting in the first song – Remember you’re trying to build confidence!

– If you hear a major problem clean it up quickly or clean it up later

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

• If they know the song well, rehearse only the troubled spots from the last performance

– You can run through the whole song later • Rehearse modulations, transitions and segues (seɡwās)

• If you are running through a song, try to make it all the way through w/o stopping.

– This is true in vocal and instrumental music – You can go back and clean-up spots later

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

• Cleaning-up troubled spots

– If a note, measure or phrase is giving you trouble, independently clean it up - sing it for them – have them sing it back – clap rhythm - It may take several tries to get it right.

– Don’t run the song from the top of the song or the chorus and expect to correct the mistake.

•Drill down to the exact problem – Once it is mastered by itself, add the measure/phrase before

– Don’t enforce mistakes by continuing to allow them to be played/sang wrong.

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

• Teaching choir by rote – If you need, play or have someone play the parts as you sing

– Teach one phrase at a time to each part – use hand signals to show pitches

– Sop, Alto, ladies sing together, Tenor, bass, all together

– Keep the teaching of parts moving so they can’t talk – have them stand/sit

–Have sections sing their part softly as you’re teaching –Have them sing a cappella – LISTEN!

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

• Running songs –Give good signals – Musicians/singers should know what your signals mean •Chorus, verse, bridge, unisons and parts –Get DYNAMIC – Pull out of them what you want! – Emphasize using diaphragm, opening mouth, dropping jaw, support, etc. –Conducting should match the style of the song –Don’t sing along – mouth words

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

If needed, reinforce transitions, segues (seɡwās) and modulations

If time, run the songs in order just like you will in service

Include segues (seɡwās) between songs Try not to stop!

The Disastrous Rehearsal/Song

• Know when to put a song away

• Go to another song in playlist or replace with an “old standby” to build back confidence

• Have songs to fall back on just in case • Simplify song on the fly –Unisons, simplify chords, rhythms etc. • Don’t let them leave on a downer • STAY POSITIVE! – PRAY LATER!

Do’s and Don’ts

Your text has some great ideas – here’s a few:

  • 1. Don’t Motivate w/ Guilt

  • 2. No Marathon Rehearsals

  • 3. Correct the mistakes don’t enforce

  • 4. Keep remarks brief

  • 5. Don’t use funky keyboard sounds to teach parts

  • 6. Have singers warm-up on their own

  • 7. Run separate instrumental/vocal rehearsals then combine – Run sectionals – Good for new songs!

Do’s and Don’ts

Here’s a few others:

  • 1. Concentration & Repetition builds deep ruts

  • 2. Always compliment success

  • 3. That’s why they call it “Practice”

  • 4. Performers should be ATTENTIVE during practice and service

  • 5. Challenge with patience

  • 6. Choose songs best suited for your group – keep them fresh and relevant to your situation

  • 7. Worship while rehearsing

Do’s and Don’ts

  • 8. If you goof – Apologize

  • 9. They’re volunteers – don’t force, it’s not their main agenda

    • 10. Get them to buy into the church’s (music department’s) vision

    • 11. Take the low road

    • 12. Respect them – time, feelings, ideas

    • 13. Know the difference between perfection and reality!

Do’s and Don’ts

14. Everybody will not be punctual – Just remind and emphasize - Attendance strictness – who will you hurt when they have to be “kicked out”? – them, church, choir? 15. You set lots of rules – who will break them? – your best people!

The Spiritual Side

• PROFESSIONALISM MUST BE MIXED WITH SPIRITUALITY! – Your singers/musicians are Levites, they’re priests –People’s lives must be touched or it’s all in vain –Any song can be effective if it’s seasoned with worship • You are a servant! –Mentor, develop, relationships, be loving, be caring – You are helping people to get to heaven!