Tip #1 -- Get the Proper Permission
If you are the music director, then you may want to run the idea that you have by some of the other church leaders like the pastor or your music committee. It's far better to have everyone on the same page with what is happening than to try to explain your actions later. Communication is good!
Tip #2 -- Gather Your Group Members
Tip #3 -- Start with a Handful of Songs
It's better to err on the side of music that is "too easy" to start out with, rather than music that is "too hard." Seeing success early on will give your new group confidence to try more challenging things later. For example, when I recently started a men's quartet group, the first couple of music selections we worked on were in two part harmony. It was easier for the singers to get their parts with someone else singing along. The next step was to introduce music with full four-part harmony which felt much easier after the group had gotten a little experience together.
Tip #4 -- Schedule Your Practice Time Wisely
Many churches have meetings on Sunday mornings, evenings, and a mid-week service. Particular times that have worked well for my groups have included after Sunday morning service (before lunch), before or after the Sunday evening service, or before or after the mid-week service. It is often more convenient for group members to not have to make another trip to church, but just extend one trip and get multiple things done at one time. However, every group is different. You will need to coordinate (and clearly communicate -- again) with your group members to figure out the best time to meet with your ensemble.
Tip #5 -- Be Consistent and Organized
Getting your materials organized is also highly beneficial for keeping your rehearsals efficient and smooth. When sheet music is sloppy or disorganized, it causes less time to be spent practicing and more time spent trying to get your act together during rehearsal. There are two methods of music organization that I have found to be neat and efficient. I will talk about these simple methods in the next blog post.
What has worked in groups that you have been a part of? Leave comments and let us know what has helped you and your church music group.