10 Tips to a Better Rehearsal, Part 1

Mission Critical

Your worship team rehearsal is critical. It doesn’t just prepare the team musically, but it also begins to create the environment of worship for Sunday.

A poor rehearsal doesn’t mean Sunday is going to tank. However, it is a strong indicator of how things could go if the team doesn’t pull things together by the service.

So over this two-part blog post, we’re going to dig into ten tips that will help you run a first-rate rehearsal.

1. Start on time.

If your team is rolling in at “start” time, they’re late. Set-up, catch-up, and all that takes ten minutes or more.

How should we combat that?

Institute a “ready to play” time. That is, they need to actually arrive before this time to set up their instrument and settle in.

You might be tempted to just bump your rehearsal time up or tack on extra time at the end. This just coddles the team and enables tardiness. And don’t create an “arrive time” to get them to come early. The “ready to play” time forces them to be responsible.

If only two people are there at “ready to play” time, start rehearsal.

Is it messy and awkward? Yep. Will people eventually get the hint. Maybe. But you’ll probably need to have a conversation or two.

(Free tip for approaching late-comers – “assume the best.” How? Approach them privately and genuinely with something like, “I’ve noticed you’ve been late a few times, is there anything happening at home or work that I can pray about or help you with.” If they’re just in the habit of being late, that’ll get the message across. If something is happening, then you’re able to care for them.)

2. Be the most prepared person in the room.

As leaders, you and I set the tone for the culture of rehearsals. If we show up unprepared, the team takes their cue from us.

3. Plan out your rehearsal.

  • Who’s leading what? Who’s starting what? What changes will you be making to the chart or arrangement? Know all this and more before you come into rehearsal.
  • Which song needs the most work? Don’t give equal time to each song.
  • Identify problem areas in songs that you need to run. If you know the song well, save it for the end or for the Sunday warm-up, or use it at the beginning of the rehearsal to worship together and center the team.
  • Know your segues before rehearsal and practice them with the team.Don’t assume they’ll come together. And run your segues more than once to solidify them with your team. Remember, the ball gets dropped during transitions more often than in the middle of songs.

4. Separate vocalists and instrumentalists for part of the rehearsal.

If you’ve got people who can lead either the band or the vocals while you’re leading the other, do it.

This will save wasted time during the full-team portion of rehearsal. Your team members won’t have to wait idly as often while you focus on “just band” or “just vocals.”

These separate times have to be well-managed. Instruct your vocal or band leader to only work only on problem spots and lesser known music. Then go back and run the familiar if you have time before the full team regroups.

We’ll dive into the remaining tips in part two. In the meantime, let me know the rehearsal techniques that have worked for you.

Read Part 2

Jon Nicol