During these last clubs of the year, it’s key to begin thinking about next year. How do you give the rising upperclassmen ownership? One way is to begin encouraging kids to sign-up for the “Young Life Band.”
|Originally posted April, 2011.|
If only one leader played guitar at club this year, consider “expanding” the band next year. Odds are that you probably won’t have that one kid who is capable of leading club music on their own, so a leader will likely still need to be “leading,” but its invaluable to surround the music leader with some club kids with instruments.
This is MORE WORK than doing it on your own. The cost up front is much greater. It takes more time and more prep, but the return on the investment is worth it.
We tried this for the first time last year and it was rocky at best. BUT THIS YEAR WAS AMAZING! I’ve led club music for 15 years and this year I finally got a break! We had a consistent band of six kids that did an incredible job leading music without an adult leader even on stage. And now, one of those high schoolers is graduating and will be able to lead club music next year when he’s a YL leader in college!
Sign Up NOW
Get any kids who are interested in being in the band sign up over the last few weeks of this school year. This should be an active ask, not a passive announcement. Pursue any kids you know that have musical interest. Gather them all together towards the end of the school year, before summer starts. ANYONE who is interested. Find out who plays what instrument, who sings, who wants to learn an instrument, etc…
Ideally you would find 4 guitar players, 2 bass players, 2 drummers, and 2 vocalists of the opposite sex of the YL leader who is leading music. This is ideal, but just get as many as you can. Figure out who your best musicians are and if possible, divide them to create 2 Bands, so they can alternate weeks, allowing more kids to be involved and giving kids a break to just be club kids on the off weeks.
The Ideal Band
It could include 7 people (and if you have 7 people in your band, thats a pretty good start on getting a critical mass to club each week!): You as song leader, vocalist of the opposite sex singing with you, 1 acoustic guitar, 1 electric guitar, 1 bass, 1 drummer, and 1 unusual instrument.
Unusual instruments Are Hip
The mandolin and ukulele are both hot right now. You can get a Ukulele for $50 and a kid could learn to play it this summer. Its easy and fun and everyone loves Jack Johnson and anything that makes them think of Hawaii. Harmonicas, banjos, heck- get the band nerd who can rock his sax to play that one week!
Dwight Schrute’s BEAT Farm
Most club rooms are too small for the noise of a drum set, so a good alternative is a djembe (african drum) or a drum box/cajon (pronounced “kah-hone.”) You can buy one for $99 here It has a great snare and bass sound. Rhythm is key, don’t just let any kid keep your beats.
Here’s the key. After the bands are formed, you need to appoint a leader for each team/band. One kid needs to be responsible for communicating with the other band members and making sure they will be there and know what they are playing. Your band leaders need to be your point people that you communicate with. They can make chord sheets for you, imput songs in to powerpoint, and help pick out new songs that would be good to do at club. Give that ownership away baby! Train them up, thank them well, let them lead.
If possible, get the bands together this summer to start learning songs and meshing. This will make club music much smoother come fall. Even if every kid can’t make it, go ahead and schedule a weekly gathering for whoever can. Its great contact work and will payoff in September.