Music events such as Christmas and Easter are an important part of our calendar and require extensive planning. How do you keep these events from sneaking up on you? How do you prevent getting into ruts where you end up doing the same thing year after year? How do you juggle preparing for a big event while keeping next Sunday vibrant and exciting? Here are a few tips:
Begin Planning Well in Advance
In reality, you should always keep a running list in Evernote or on your computer where you can capture ideas and songs that come to you throughout the year that would work for large events, such as Christmas and Easter.
Brainstorm with Others for New and Creative Ideas
Get away with a group of people for a time of creative brainstorming. Not all of them need to be musicians. As a matter of fact, it’s probably best that they are not all musicians. Who are some of the naturally creative people serving around you? Take some time to sit down as a group and get ideas flowing.
Get Word out to Your Community
We’re always thankful when our church family is blessed by the music and media presentations at Christmas and Easter, but our ultimate goal is to get the gospel to the lost. This is also a great time to challenge your musicians to personally have a guest whom they’ve invited. They will sing or play much better knowing someone they invited is sitting in the audience hearing the gospel!
Put together a Practice Schedule
Once a plan has been laid out and songs have been selected, it’s important to communicate with all those involved. Put together a rehearsal schedule for your choir and musicians that includes some additional practices. Be creative about these times, and try to arrange them around services. Do your best to avoid last-minute practices unless absolutely necessary.
Put together Practice Binders for Your Musicians
Whether your only instrument is a piano or whether you’re using a full orchestra, prepare binders for each musician that include all of the music for the event.
Give out a Practice CD
This has always been a helpful tool for our choir members. Using a simple application such as Garage Band, have four singers record the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass parts on top of the MP3 recording. Then create CDs for each individual part with their part emphasized.
Have at Least One Big Practice
The week before your big event is a great time to have one large practice with everyone involved in the event. This may be best on a Saturday. The choir, musicians, sound, production, lighting, and media teams should all be present. Work through each piece of the event, and then run it from the top.
Thank Those Involved
Before, during, and after the event, be sure to express your gratitude to all those involved. Find thoughtful ways to express your gratitude to them through coffee and donuts at a rehearsal, throwing handfuls of candy to them after a big practice, a hand-written note with a Snickers bar waiting for them on their music stand, or a couple weeks off from practice after the event.
Reflect on the Blessings of God
Be sure to take some time with your musicians after the event to reflect on how God worked. Take some testimonies at your next practice. If you use a visitor card on which guests can leave a comment, be sure to share those positive remarks with your musicians. Thank the Lord for His blessings and for the souls who were saved and the lives that were touched.