So what if you can’t defeat a three-headed dragon with your shredding guitar solos…  I mean seriously…  Book of Revelations aside…  What’s the job market even like for that skill set anyway?…

No, being a mere mortal guitarist is not the end of the world…  If you need a refresher, go back & check out Part 1.  Otherwise, let’s pick up where we left off with some practical tips for being your best you…


PREPARATION

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Admittedly, its probably the former Boy Scout in me, but I REALLY dislike the idea of being THAT GUY at rehearsal that isn’t as prepared as they should be.  I mean, its happened from time to time, but as a general rule… If I can’t commit to being ready for Wednesday Nights, I’m more likely to decline the opportunity to serve.

So what does “ready” look like for me?…  Let’s dive in…

MONDAY NIGHT: Generally, this night is focused mainly on setting up delays, reverbs, & other effects, followed by a first run through of what looks like the most troublesome parts.  If its a new song or a song I haven’t done in awhile… I’ll take more time to figure out all the parts I’ll need to play.  If they’re all very familiar songs, I may take less time.  In total though, this night usually requires a minimum of an hour to get it all done.

TUESDAY NIGHT: This night is all about repetitions… As the old saying goes… Amateurs practice until they get it RIGHT… But Professionals practice until they CAN’T get it WRONG…  I tend to shoot for somewhere in between… Or whenever the kids start complaining that they can’t sleep with all the noise.  Usually, this is at least another hour in total.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT:  A former Worship Leader I worked with drilled into our team that PRACTICE is what you do on your own time.  When we all get together, that’s called a REHEARSAL… And that is not the time to be figuring all of your parts out.  Rehearsals are about putting the pieces together.  If everyone isn’t ready, that can become a very difficult & frustrating situation for everyone involved.

THURSDAY – SATURDAY NIGHT:  Some of this depends on how well or how poorly Rehearsal went.  But generally, I’ll always get in at least one final run-through on my own before Sunday comes.  More typically though, its two run-throughs. At this point, the run-throughs don’t take as long… maybe 30 minutes each.

So all total, that’s 2.5 hours of commitment at a minimum whenever I’m on Electric.  And that doesn’t count Rehearsals, Soundchecks, or the Services themselves.  That may seem excessive to some of you, but its what I need to feel really confident going live.  Your mileage may vary, but I do strongly suggest everyone do some introspection on what you’re putting into your own personal preparation.


So what’s the biblical perspective on all this?…  Well, there’s lots of good quotes from the bible on bringing God your best…  But leave it to the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament to really put some fire in your belly…

All except you. Instead of honoring me, you profane me. You profane me when you say, ‘Worship is not important, and what we bring to worship is of no account,’ and when you say, ‘I’m bored—this doesn’t do anything for me.’ You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air—act superior to me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! And when you do offer something to me, it’s a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless. Do you think I’m going to accept it? This is God speaking to you! ~ Malachi 1:13-14

I was going to make some kind of quippy remark about how over the top Malachi seems to be here, but then I remembered…  You just don’t mess around with those Old Testament dudes…

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***Courtesy of Lucasfilms, Disney, & Paramount Pictures…

When I was 10 years old, this scene gave me nightmares for weeks.  So I’m just going to back away slowly with my eyes closed like Indiana Jones told us to & change the subject…


WHAT PREPARATION DOESN’T LOOK LIKE

So as, Epic Train Wreck stories go…  This is the one that the scars run deepest from.  Our Acoustic player was slotted to start the 2nd song in our set that week.  Only problem was that it was in a different key than Song #1… and he forgot to move the Capo.  So Song 2 starts and here he goes starting it in the wrong key.  Like slow moving dominoes, each player eventually figures out that we’re not all in the same key & adjusts to the key that the Acoustic & now Singers are in.  The player on Keys did this by making a quick Pitch Shift adjustment to get to the right key.

Just one problem…  The Keys started Song 3 and guess who forgot to reset their Pitch to neutral?  You guessed it…  So Rinse/Repeat on the slow dominoes of figuring out that we’re yet again all playing in different keys.  Somehow we recover and mercifully, that was the last song before the sermon.

But we did have to come back for a closing song, so we debriefed the whole thing in excruciating detail, but had a good laugh about it in the end.  And btw Keys…  You’re starting off this last song, so don’t forget to adjust the Pitch back to neutral.  Got it?

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Okay… So maybe that train wreck wasn’t all about Preparation or Lack Thereof…  Definitely some absentmindedness going on… But my point is this… ANYTHING can happen when you “go live” on Sunday morning… The better prepared you are, the more effectively you can deal with it.

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