We recently asked our Musicademy Facebook page members the question “What advice would you give to a worship team wanting to make rehearsals as effective as possible?” It had a huge response and we’ve compiled some of the best ideas into these 30 tips.
“Rules” for worship rehearsals
Don’t noodle/text/call/Facebook/SnapChat between songs
Separate rehearsals from the sound check and song run through before the service
Rehearsals are for working through the song together, practice is what you’ve done at home beforehand to learn the song and your part
Arrive on time and stick to a schedule. You do have a schedule, right??
Set expectations and reinforce them constructively but be aware that some people have multiple time pressures and perhaps need extra grace from the rest of the team
Treating everyone fairly doesn’t necessarily mean treating everyone the same. Respect team member’s time pressures/commitments and differing experience/skill levels.
Worship team culture
Encourage people to try new things and make mistakes
Model servanthood and not divahood
Freestyle worship together
Don’t be a slave to the album version. Use it as a jumping off point if you need to but make it your own
Developing team vision, mission and values statements can be a useful motivating and team building exercise that brings focus and direction
Go to worship conferences together and reflect on what you will do differently as a result
Practical tips for rehearsals
Start off with praying then do a big, well known song to let everyone blow and get some excess energy out (especially if you’re working with a youth band). It will help them focus more later
Preparation! Make sure everyone knows what songs they are playing, which version, in which key, and that they have the correct score/chord charts and YouTube/Spotify links for new songs
Give everyone a job. Get everyone involved in set up and tear down
Rehearse in a circle facing each other, keep the volume low enough so you can talk over the level of the music
Reinforce the importance of eye contact and listening to each other
Choose songs well in advance and communicate the short list to the team
Use MultiTracks and instructional training resources to separate listen to, and learn, instrument parts
Pastoring the team
Include your sound techs and take their feedback on board
Connect with your team outside of church. Do fun things just so people can get to know and get to love each other.
Pray together, for each other and for what you bring together.
Try using one of the many personality profiling tools (Enniagram, MBTI etc.) to find and use your team member’s skills beyond their musical ability.
Further rehearsal hints and tips
Practice loud songs quietly and quiet songs loudly
Film or record practices and services and constructively critique what you find. Always start with what was good and then what could we do better
Have a specific focus to different practice sessions
If pressed for time, practise stops, starts and junction points rather than playing the whole song again and again
Focus on trouble spots. Loop and repeat them, then practice them more than you think you need to.
Occasionally take a full day out, ideally with an external trainer/facilitator, to work with your team.
Thanks to everyone who contributed some ideas. And feel free to add some more below.