The vocation of music director is its own special ministry and calling. If you’re stepping in, or if you’re new at it, the experience can really be daunting. Here are a few quick tips on music direction, to help you on your way:
- Know Your Musicians & Choir A good music director spends time getting to know the gifts of the people (s)he is directing. Questions to keep in mind include: how well they read music, how well they harmonize with each other, whether they are able to improvise, and how much experience they have, onstage.
- The Right Music, With Sufficient Rehearsal There may be pressure – whether from within yourself or from others – to play impressive, difficult music, even if the members of the choir or band struggle with it. The result can be less appealing to listen to than if the director had stayed within a more suitable range, and allowed sufficient time for practice. Another result can be an unhappy choir or band. One good answer to such pressure is to gently remind all involved that there is beauty in simplicity. One good way to help your musicians succeed is to provide them with audio tapes or point them to performances on the web, helping them gain a feel for the result that you seek.
- Opening the Rehearsal Why not begin rehearsal with a simple prayer: “Lord, make us instruments of your peace, so that those who hear will be touched by your presence. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
- Warming Up the Choir While you’re warming up, why not also take that time to instill positive thoughts? This is especially helpful in the case of a youth-choir. Consider: they may repeat this in their showers, each day. If you give them something like an ‘affirmative statement’ it may insert into their minds, like a meme (an idea that spreads itself like a virus).
VOCAL WARM UP: (commonly used) V VIII V III I I can and I willllllll
Repeat As Desired! Some music directors have their choir perform a piece of music only once, and never again. Some praise bands and gospel choirs repeat the same music, week after week, for years. Many fall somewhere in the middle. Some congregations gain a sense of comfort, from familiar songs. Others desire constant change and variety. Knowing your congregation – and your musicians – will allow you to strike the perfect balance.