10 steps to a great rehearsal
I’m often asked how to run a fun, efficient rehearsal that respects the team’s time, builds relationships, reinforces musical skills, and prepares the team for the coming worship service. The information below may be basic and super practical, but it’s good to remember the elements that make a great rehearsal.
1. Say hello. Sometimes we forget to greet each other and continue to build our relationships. A great team is based on solid relationships.
2. Tune, and warm up vocally. Take care of the fundamentals first.
3. Share a scripture or two and what God has been showing you as the worship leader about those scriptures that will encourage the team. Keep it short, about 5-10 minutes. You can find more thoughts about this in my post Building Your Team. Follow this with some prayer together for issues that team members may be facing. I recommend that you don’t do this while on the platform. It’s too easy to be distracted by your gear and not focus on what’s being said or prayed.
4. Grab your gear, do a quick mic check and check sound levels.
5. Take a few minutes and talk through the set list. Talk through the song intros, outros, and transitions. Let the team know where you’re headed musically during the set. Don’t assume that you’ll figure it out as you go or that the team automatically knows what you want to do with the set.
You can’t communicate what you don’t know, so during the week, when you’re putting the set list together, prepare musically. Determine how the songs will flow together—ask yourself how you’re going to seamlessly flow from one song to another either through a key change or a musical break or by merging songs. Practice it yourself before the rehearsal. Then when you’re in rehearsal, it will be easy to communicate where the team will be headed musically. Also, make sure the AV team knows what you’re planning to do.
6. After you’ve talked about the transitions between the songs, then play them. Start with the end section of one song, go through the song’s outro and then into the intro for the next song. Do it until it’s smooth. Then practice the next transition, and so on. Vocals should pay attention so they know what to expect and when to start singing the next song.
7. Play fully through the set. Check vocal harmonies and listen to the vocal blend. Adjust instrumental voicings, instrumental breaks, and tempos as necessary. Ask if anyone has any issues or feedback about the songs’ arrangements.
8. If there is time left in the rehearsal, run through a new song that’s still in preparation.
9. And when possible, take some time simply to worship together. Sometimes we become so caught up in the music that we forget that we’re doing this to worship God and lead others in that worship. As you spend time simply worshipping together in rehearsal, you’ll become more adept at flowing together as a team, and you’ll be ready as a team to respond to what God wants to do in the service.
10. If you are rehearsing immediately before a service, I suggest that you do not play the full arrangement of a song unless it’s a new song. Vocals should be warm and should do their mic checks, but they shouldn’t be obligated to sing through a full, pre-service rehearsal. If they do, they won’t be fresh for the service. This is particularly important if they will be singing for two or more services in a row.
Remember that your time together as a team during rehearsal can be efficient, spiritually-meaningful, musically-enjoyable, and it can be a time where you continue to build relationships that will enrich your life.
To None But God
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