How to never miss another rehearsal

One thing that often plagues many must ministry groups, whether it’s a choir, praise team or even the band, is a absentee-ism at rehearsal. For some music departments it’s not uncommon at all to have so many people out that the songs that were on schedule to sing simply can’t be done. Members missing rehearsal can really cripple a music ministry in so many ways. But hey, life happens doesn’t it? Many people do in fact have what they feel are legitimate reasons for being out on rehearsal nights. Perhaps you may even be someone who misses rehearsal often.

Don’t worry, I’m not here to condemn or judge. In fact my goal is to first encourage you and then offer some advice that has helped me to have an almost perfect attendance record over a span of some 30+ years. I can count the number of rehearsals I’ve missed in all that time. It’s not that I’m not busy, or tired. It’s not that I never get offered other things to do. But we’ll talk more about that in a bit. First I want you to know that you’re very important to your music department. Even if they fail to ever tell you or make you feel like you are, you are NEEDED. When you’re not there, your absence is felt. No matter how big your organization is, I want you to know that they need you.

Many habitual rehearsal-missers aren’t missing rehearsal to be vindictive or spiteful. They aren’t doing so to intentionally put the music ministry in a bind. Many people are just busy. But when you love something enough it will get a special reserved time slot in your life. Many people consistently miss rehearsal simply because they haven’t given it such a place of importance. Don’t get me wrong, you can absolutely sincerely love singing in the choir. But rehearsal? Not so much.  Who knows why? It could be any number of things. But if it’s something you desire to change there’s something you can do.

I mentioned earlier that in over 30 years in the music ministry I can count the number of times I missed a rehearsal. But it’s not because I’m never busy or never have other things I need to do on rehearsal night. It’s just I’ve given rehearsal night a place of high priority. All of  our rehearsals happen on Wednesdays. So I have, for years, simply dedicated Wednesday nights for rehearsals. That means no matter what someone is asking me to do on a Wednesday, it’s already booked. I don’t teach voice lessons on Wednesday. I don’t accept engagements on Wednesday. I don’t set appointments, plan dates, watch tv shows or anything else on Wednesday. Nothing short of an emergency or serious illness causes me to miss rehearsal.

If I wanted to know the things that were most important to you in your life, I wouldn’t have to ask you. Just let me follow you around for a while. It will become obvious after only a few days. Because those things will be the things around which all other aspects of your life have learned to revolve. If you’re someone who really loves to work-out, for example (yes, those people exist..I know right?) it’s not just something you do. It’s a part of you. It’s a part of your lifestyle. As such, everything about your daily routine has adjusted to give that time a priority in your schedule. If you’re someone who has decided to join the music ministry at your church, then rehearsal night has to have the same priority in your life. Whatever night rehearsal falls on at your church, you must make that night a standing appointment on your calendar. Consider it already booked.

You do that for two reasons. First, you do it because when you decide to be a part of a ministry you do it with your whole heart. Secondly though, you do it because you understand that your music ministry needs your presence to minister effectively. Whether you’re hearing it all the time or not, you have to develop a mindset that when you aren’t there, you’re missed. Your absence places hardships on others in your section. People depend on you. This one thing alone has been probably the single most driving force that makes me go the extra mile to always be on my post. It’s not an arrogance thing. It’s just what you do when you care about something.

So if you’ve decided to be in the music ministry, I challenge you today to decide to make rehearsal night a priority. Make it a hard, fast, long-standing appointment that does not get missed, moved or trumped for anything short of an emergency, illness or something of that order. Do this for a few months and, like everything else that is important to you, your life will learn to adjust, make room for and revolve around it because it has been given an elevated status of importance to you.

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10 Responses to How to never miss another rehearsal

  1. Derek says:

    Good lesson indeed keep it up

  2. Singer says:

    I am a member of a large adult choir, and notice more people coming to practice then coming on Sunday to sing. Members not coming to practice but coming to sing on Sunday. Members 30 min to 1 hour late for practice, leaving early, complaining when practice goes over allotted time. We are on the stage singing and members are walking in late. Members not taking responsibility for learning there parts and words to songs. Not using the programs the church provides for the choir to help learn Songs It has to do with there level of commitment and what the leaders allow. It can be a big distraction to those that are committed

  3. alyce says:

    Good another time around! Still the truth! 😉

  4. funmi says:

    Kello Ron,

    Great article! I agree wit it 100%.
    My choir’s challenge isn’t absenteeism but LATENESS. We meet every sat@4, but you find them strolling in at past 5, we end up starting @ 6 sometimes.

    I took the bull by the horn last Sunday by not allowing anyone who came in later than 4:30pm minister on Sunday. It was difficult as we were only 8 & 12 of us were benched including my 2 soloists.
    But GOD showed himself mighty reminding us that he doesn’t need numbers to bring down his glory!

  5. funmi says:

    Kello Ron,

    Great article! I agree wit it 100%.
    My choir’s challenge isn’t absenteeism but LATENESS. We meet every sat@4, but you find them strolling in at past 5, we end up starting @ 6 sometimes.
    I took the bull by the horn last Sunday by not allowing anyone who came in later than 4:30pm minister on Sunday. It was difficult as we were only 8 & 12 of us were benched including my 2 soloists. But GOD showed himself mighty reminding us that he doesn’t need numbers to bring down his glory!

  6. alyce says:

    You do know of what you speak! As usual! Ideally tone is set from the top, and the Director exemplifies that it takes ‘commitment’ and that is really is a ‘ministry.’ It does involve artistry, but an art committed to ministry. Whoa to choirs & members, considering it a social club with a talent element, and no spirit there at all. Painful to even think about!

  7. George says:

    Hi Ron!
    Boy are you right on. I have a small choir of 8 people, and when someone not there there missed. One time there were only 3 people including me, but, you still have to go on. The word does say, were two or three are together He (God) is in the miss. I’ll tell you what, when we got done singing you would of thought there was a hole grope of people singing. You have to trust God.
    George

    • Ron says:

      George that’s awesome man. I love it when things like that happen. It’s just like God to use small numbers to do big things. And He did it because of your obedience and faithfulness to the position. Many others would have just said “the choir is not here” or something similar. Kudos to you guys for going on anyway and giving God the opportunity to use you.

  8. Sonya says:

    Ron, with practice being on Wed. Do you find that the choir forgets the words or music? We have practice on Sat. that isn’t easy because I have prior engagements. I have missed more practices this year, but I don’t want to keep missing. Thanks for your posts they are always God sent.

    • Ron says:

      Hey Sonya,

      Many choirs are doing Saturday rehearsals for that very reason, because they don’t think they can remember the song with more than a day’s time from rehearsal to Sunday. But it’s actually not hard to do, and there are several things you can do to help your choir remember.

      The band members simply need to rehearse the music on their own so they’ll be ready.
      As far as the choir goes, helping them remember songs from rehearsal to Sunday involves a couple of things.
      1. Teach the song well.
      2. Avoid using lyric sheets. Learn the song from memory.
      3. Make sure the director is mouthing the first 2 or 3 words before the choir sings them.

      All the steps need a little more detail to explain, so perhaps I’ll do a separate blog and build them out. But these are the things that have worked well for us for years. Even if your choir is apprehensive about not being able to remember the songs, if with practice they’ll become more confident about it. And a weeknight rehearsal is almost always better for everyone than a Saturday rehearsal.
      Keep me posted!

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