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Band

Band is probably one of the hardest things on camp to do right. It's also something that takes a lot of work for the organisers.

Contents

Purpose

The band's purpose is to facilitate worship. As such things like guitar solos and grandstanding don't really fit in. Make sure your goal is to help the kids connect, not to put on a great concert.

Song Selection

Pick between 3 and 5 songs. You should choose a number of songs based on how many practices you're going to be able to get in with the group you have, and what skill level the musicians you have are at.
Try to choose a song that was played last year. This helps get people connected to the music, especially on day one.

Try to pick modern songs. We all love those old blues worship songs, but kids won't connect to them.

If you can pick songs that are relevant to the theme of the study for that year do it. It really helps people tie stuff in while doing sermons and in study groups.

There are tabs online, and some of the churches have sheet music for a lot of worship songs. It's useful to have a printed copy of each, but not a necessity.

Members

Anyone who signs up for band should be allowed in, so long as they put in the work. You always get a few flakey people and you'll have to make a judgement call as to whether they're prepared enough to get in front of the kids. Singers who don't know the words shouldn't be allowed to lead.

Some players will be a lot of hassle to get up to speed. If you're spending a lot of time getting someone to learn the songs properly you should just drop them. It's a community band first and foremost, so we're not talking about people who don't have the skills. This year's new players will be the backbone of your band in a couple of years time. If you have an eager young musician they'll make themselves worth your time to teach

Practices

Depending on the skill of your group you'll need a varying number of practices. Identify the backbone members (generally guitar bass and drums) and make sure they're the ones who make it to all practices. Other members don't really matter as much so long as your core is solid.

In practices focus on structure, beginnings and endings. These are the things that hold the whole thing together. If you memorise your structures and nail them the band seems good.

Try and get people to have learned the songs ahead of time, don't waste your precious practice time on people who haven't learned them yet, just leave them behind. You need to spend the time nailing structure, not catching up someone who hasn't done their homework.

Don't worry if the singers haven't memorised the words, they have to do that by camp, but at rehearsals they can just read.

Backing Tracks

We use a site called http://www.multitracks.com/ to add extra instruments we don't have to the band. This requires a drummer who can play to a click track. It's a really useful tool for filling out a band.
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