Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Don't forget to shift gears

With this being the beginning of Holy Week, I would like to address this post to all the musicians and music directors who are also employed as worship music directors for a local church.

Most church chancel choirs and praise band members are composed of adult volunteers who generously donate their time and energy to enhance the worship experience.

Make sure that you "switch gears" and not approach your directing as you would a professional band or classroom environment. The habit of demanding perfection from HS or dance bands os a hard one to curb and is much easier said than done.

I am lucky as I have a sound engineer (named John) who helps me "keep it real" during our church rehearsals.

When I get too caught up in the rehearsal moment and focus my concern on the music and not the overall experience for the musicians, I can tend to be a little blunt and impatient. This is especially true during the insane worship schedule during Holy Week. When this starts to happen, John gives me a certain "look" that conveys the subliminal message, "Relax Larry, these are just volunteers that don't have to be here, or take this". I am very grateful of this and usually stop the rehearsal and lighten up with a little mood altering pleasant banter with the members.

I wish you and your church ensembles many blessed worship experiences this week but caution you to remember that the musicians, as well as the music performances, are the reason that you are there.

good gigging!

Larry Marra

Saturday, April 9, 2011

As the State, so goes the Nation

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has directed counties to prepare a Rapid Response Plan to help displaced teachers cope with job loss and find new employment. Hardest hit will be the fine arts.

The Ohio Education Association — representing 130,000 unionized school employees — predicts a dire scenario.

An analysis by the OEA estimates 10,860 Ohio education jobs could be eliminated in fiscal year 2012, based on Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget, the loss of stimulus funding and phase-out of state tax reimbursements.

Friday, April 8, 2011

write makes right!

Have you ever called up a tune during a rehearsal or performance and counted off the wrong tempo? Have you ever forgotten a certain keyboard or guitar effect setting? Well, I have many times until I accepted that; even the weakest pencil trumps the strongest memory. I now keep a journal of tempos, styles and tone/effect setting for every song in each of my ensembles repertoire. I also download the virtual document onto my smart phone so that I can glance at my notes prior to counting off the next song. If the tempo is one that I don't use regularly, I have an app on my smartphone that is a metronome.

It's better to take a second and check your notes and tempos than take a few minutes to perform an entire song incorrectly.

good gigging!

Larry Marra