Leading a praise team, band, or choir rehearsal well will produce many benefits. A good rehearsal blesses the participants, both spiritually and musically. A good rehearsal fosters community and builds a team. Results from a good rehearsal overflow into corporate worship. However, some worship leaders do not take maximum advantage of rehearsal time. Below are ten suggestions for improving rehearsal technique.
- Pray before anything else – even before you select the music, seek God’s face. Also, if possible, talk to the pastor about the service you are planning. The pastor may provide direction and guidance. Before the rehearsal, pray over each seat that will be occupied. Pray that God will bring glory to himself and supernaturally use the person sitting or standing in this place.
- Be prepared. Know the music well and how you would like it to be presented. Know the text, biblical background, musical sequence, melody, harmony, chord structure, rhythm, and style of the piece. Make sure everyone has correct music before the rehearsal begins.
- Start and end on time. Being punctual is contagious. If you start rehearsals late, your team will arrive late. If you keep them long, they will disengage.
- Don’t talk too much during rehearsal. People want to sing and play more than they want to hear you talk. Keep prayer time, and devotionals focused.
- Start and end with the easiest numbers. You will want to begin and end the rehearsal with success. Save the problematic selections for the middle of rehearsal.
- Break up difficult pieces into small sections. If you plan ahead, you can work on a difficult song for several weeks before presenting it. This will give you ample rehearsal.
- Be clear in rehearsal directions. If you say “measure 64, page 5, vocals,” the vocals will not hear the first two directions. First mention who should listen. Next, identify the largest to the smallest location. For example, say “vocals, look on page four, third score, second measure.
- If a piece is new, sightread the entire song without stopping so the team can hear it in its entirety. Send a recording to your team to listen before rehearsal.
- Correct politely but directly. Don’t use ambiguous phrases like “it doesn’t sound good here.” A marginal musician will have no clue it was them. To be tactful, you might try something like, “We need to polish measure XX in the “vocal” (or whichever) part.
- Keep the rehearsal moving. People get really bored when they sit around with nothing to do. There is nothing a bass player likes to do more than tinker and provide great background riffs during times when the leader is working with other sections. (Beleive me, I know this one well. Sometimes it’s not even intentional.)
There are plenty of other rehearsal suggestions one could offer. Please feel free to comment below. As you go, learn by experience. Evaluate, watch yourself via video, to see where you can improve. Spend a few minutes of rehearsal viewing the previous Sunday’s worship. Have your team evaluate times of excellence and places where improvement can be made. A good rehearsal produces many benefits.