Band practice is where most of the really hard work of a band happens; it can be challenging.
Finding the right place to practice can help reduce the stress of relationships within the band, or make them more difficult.
Here’s the transcript from the video:
Today we’re talking about finding a place for your Christian band to practice.
It’s no secret that a great band practice spot can be a challenge to find. Most bands never find the “perfect” spot to practice. Usually bands end up trying to balance what they need with what is available and what they can afford. In the Christian music ministry, that usually means bands take whatever they can get for free and make do.
Ideally, the best practice spot would have these things:
● No stairs up or down to carry equipment
● Appropriate heating and cooling (un-vented kerosene heaters are not good)
● The ability to prevent theft by locking up equipment
● It should be centrally located to all band members’ homes
● Have several electrical circuits
● Have a sound barrier or insulation (so as not to disturb the neighbors or children’s bed times)
● The room needs to be dry
● And you need to be able to leave your equipment set up
Most bands practice in the basement or garage of a band member’s home. Sometimes this arrangement works well. But, most often it starts out well and ends badly. If you’re practicing in a band member’s home or garage, remember that the rest of the family is affected by band practice. At first, when the band is new and exciting, the family may not mind a few inconveniences. But as time goes on, these nuisances can begin to grate on the family and eventually become problems.
So here’s some of the problems that happen when a band practices at a member’s home:
● Increased expenses in utility bills.
● The noise level interfere with children’s bedtimes or other family activities.
● Spouses often feel the need to provide beverages, snacks, and some meals for the entire band. This increases expenses and causes extra cleanup and preparation.
● Band members need to stop by during non-practice times to pick up some equipment. Their timing may not always be convenient for the family.
● The band equipment takes up space that the family may grow to need.
● And band members tend to confide in and vent to the spouse whose home they use for practice.
● Band members borrow household items and leave them in the practice area.
● Band members don’t keep the practice area to household levels of cleanliness.
● So then band members become resentful when asked to move practice to a different home.
If the band must practice at a member’s house, it would be wise to periodically ask the family if band practice at their house still works for them. Often, minor changes can prevent larger problems if they’re made before the band becomes a major irritation. Most problems can be prevented if the band members constantly remember that the practice spot is being loaned to the ministry by the family. The practice spot does not belong to the band. Any hospitality or help the family provides is a gift to the band.
One of the best options for a band practice space is a local church, especially the youth group rooms.
Often, the church would like to support your band’s ministry but can’t financially afford to do so. This is a wonderful opportunity for the church to help the band at almost no cost.
The band members don’t have to attend the church where the band practices. Ask any church who supports the band’s ministry if they would allow the band to practice in their building. Youth group leaders tend to be very supportive of this arrangement because it lends a certain rock star status to the church to be able to say a band practices in their room.
It is generally not a good idea to share equipment with the church, except in emergencies. Bands often play late on Saturday nights, requiring them to go to the church and set up for Sunday morning service after the gig. This is annoying and exhausting and so is usually not done with any kind of excellence for the Sunday service. Also, the band often ends up paying for most equipment repairs because the church feels that the band probably caused the damage or put the most wear on the equipment. Help each other out by sharing equipment when necessary, but work towards owning and maintaining your own gear.
A final option for practice space is storage rental units. They’re not free, but if there aren’t other free options available, this is a reasonable place to look. Be sure to call around and compare prices as well as length of contract. Make it very clear to the person quoting prices why you want the unit so they can decide if a band practicing on their site is appropriate.
Of course the dream of almost every musician is a barn in the country—a plush heated and cooled barn built especially for practice and equipment storage. If you can find this, go for it! Just don’t tell every musician in the world where you practice because they’ll be showing up on your doorstep wanting to practice there too.
As a final note, I’ll share a story about a church that let my husbands’ band practice in their building for a couple of years. The Pastor gave us a key and reserved a specific night of the week for the band. There were times when we borrowed their drums (with permission from the Pastor) and times when the church borrowed our sound equipment. The church called us to help them out when they couldn’t figure out a sound problem or had a special event which required either our expertise or our equipment. The band called the church for help when we needed to borrow some of their equipment. The band was very careful to leave everything cleaner than we found it. It worked out really well for both parties. The church even hosted a few band concerts. After a couple of years the band found a better practice spot. We called the Pastor and asked to present the church with a thank you gift (which was a framed signed photo). The Pastor had us present the band photo during a Sunday worship service. Most of the church members had no idea the band had ever practiced at their church because we had never been a burden to them. We thanked them profusely and told them how they’d contributed to our ministry by saving us thousands of dollars in space and equipment rental. This meant a lot to a small church who wanted to give more to ministries but did not have the capability to do so. People have stopped my husband saying they think they know him and then, “Oh, you’re in that band that practiced at our church…” It is a good memory for both the church and the band.
If you have a nice place to practice, consider sharing. I once owned a barn and converted it to a house. It had a practice room with a loading dock and double wide doors—sweet. At one point we had 3 bands practicing there. It was crazy but I loved it! The bands had to talk about schedules so practice times and load in and out times did not conflict. But all three bands helped each other out with equipment and gig sharing, some of them made new friends for life!
Need more help working out the logistics of your Christian band?
One of the best tools we have developed for you at Christian Band Help is The Christian Band Handbook. This is a resource book that covers topics such as defining your ministry’s mission, how to find the right band members, choosing and protecting your band’s name, copyrights, press kits and booking, music marketing, how to make the most of your ministry dollars, and a whole lot more.
We know what it’s like to be a Christian musician. Between us my husband Mark and I have over 60 years of experience in almost every aspect of music ministry. I wrote this book so you can learn from our experience. We want to help you launch your band on the journey to impact the world around you and avoid the pitfalls along the way.
The Christian Band Handbook is available as a paperback or Kindle e-book on Amazon. Other e-book formats for every device are also available at most e-book retailers.
For more information go to ChristianBandHelp.com, click on ‘Store’ on the navigation bar, and then click on ‘Christian Band Handbook’. Or you can click on the link directly below this video. http://christianbandhelp.com/store/the-christian-band-handbook/
Do you need more help creating an extraordinary music ministry? Check out all the resources and articles on ChristianBandHelp.com and as always feel free to e-mail Marie@ChristianBandHelp.com with questions.
Thanks for joining me today!
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