Search This Blog

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Working with Small Groups in Worship

Working with Small Music Groups in your church, whether a Praise Team, Small Choir, other just a group that volunteers for Christmas and Easter can be a headache or a joy. Here are some helps to make that challenge a positive experience.

1. Plan for those you have. Be faithful with the one talent person that may be there, rather than bemoan the five talent people that someone else’s church does have.
2. Do what can be done and do it well.
3. Provide some kind of training and preparation musically as well as spiritually. Heart of the Artist: Rory Noland. Perhaps a class on how to read music, weekend workshop, etc.
4. Help those who do not match pitch. Find out where there are and gradually build from there. Pitch known melodies in the key that the person can sing. Make recordings of warmups, etc., and have them repeat, repeat, repeat.
5. Always provide opportunities for success, not failure.  Never embarrass the group by letting the group sing unprepared.
6. Sing on a regular basis, at least every other week. Singers want to participate. If they only sing once a month or every other month, they will loose interest. It will take some time to build up to singing that often, but  will be worth it.
7. Rehearse on a consistent basis, regardless of who comes. Nothing will kill a group faster than hearing the director say, “Well we only have half the people hear, let’s not practice tonight.” This only  punishes the faithful few. You can reduce what you might have rehearsed, but don’t cancel, if at all possible.
8. Be consistent, positive, and add humor. Do not cut down; re-enforce small group feel.
9. Plan what you are singing for long term, then break it down into rehearsable segments. Use a 3-4  month calendar of music to sing. This becomes your rehearsal schedule: [Songs 1-12]
        Song 3        Sunday in three weeks
        Song 2        Sunday in two weeks
        Song 1        Next Sunday
        Song 4        Sunday in 4 weeks
        Song 5 [listen & sing along]   {For the next rehearsal take out Song 1 and rotate in Song 6}
        – Rehearsal format: warmup, modeling good vowel sounds
        – Listen and sing along
        – Play notes for parts by sections
        – Combine parts
        – repeat with accompaniment
10. Rehearse, don’t talk too much.  If you have 15 in the group and talk just one minute, you didn’t waste one minute, you wasted 15.
11. Have fellowship times together, especially after programs or special events.
12. Enlist volunteers to help with:
    – getting music out to rehearse and for Sunday
    – publicity for programs
    – contacting absentees
    – taking up an offering for flowers, bereavement, get well cards, etc.
13. Keep fresh with what is new.  Lifeway's Red Box, Word, Crystal Sea, Lillenas, Lorentz, etc. My favorite Christmas cantata: Glorious Impossible, Favorite Easter cantata: The Risen Christ

1 comment:

  1. Great post Ed, I remember the rehearsal schedule songs 3,2,1,4,5.... :)
    Thx for sharing your wisdom of many years of experience with us. God bless you.