The weekly rehearsal is one of the main things that worship leaders prepare for each week. Hopefully we’ve spent our time in prayer and included some collaboration with our pastor or other members of our creative teams. We have a setlist and ideas of how they will flow in the worship service. This initial planning is vital to leading effectively but there are also some practical ways we can be prepared to lead our rehearsals effectively.
No matter how familiar you may be with the material, it’s always helpful to create a playlist of the weekly setlist so that you can be hearing the music. I typically use the “rehearse” feature in PlanningCenterOnline and play through it in the background for a couple of days prior to rehearsal.
2. Practice the songs
Don’t wait until your praise team rehearsal to play through your songs. Print them ahead of time and practice the songs. This will gets you comfortable with the material and gives an opportunity to come up with some potential creative elements, such as new intros or transitional elements. This also gives you a chance to identify any errors in your chord charts.
3. Determine and document your song arrangement
Spend some time thinking about the arrangement of your songs. Who will sing on the verses? Do you want your vocals in unison or harmony? Where do you want your band to play? Document these in your arrangement by adding specific, detailed notes on your chord charts. (If you use PlanningCenterOnline, checkout my video on customizing your chord charts with arrangement notes)
4. Worship with the songs
Don’t just practice the songs. Get alone and worship with your setlist. This is probably the most important point I can mention. As leaders we should do this each week and the earlier in the week before rehearsal, the better. Why? Because as you worship with these songs you will begin to sense the flow of how it may be on Sunday. You have a chance to be inspired with a Scripture reference or a medley into another song you’d not thought of before. You may realize that a transition or key change is awkward.
5. Allow some focus time prior to rehearsal
Rehearsal days are no different than any other day. Life happens and things can be thrown into your path that have the potential to veer you off course. Allow a few minutes before your team arrives to retreat into your office or a special place of serenity to pray and prepare your heart for not only the task of leading the practical aspects of the rehearsal, but also the spiritual leadership needed.
6. Have your sound and tech crew prepared
Be sure that you’ve communicated all of your band and vocal needs to your tech crew. If you require click tracks or additional elements have them prepared beforehand. Make sure that you and your audio crew are on the same page as to the musical aspects of the mix … who is the “out front” vocal, what instrument is carrying the song primarily, etc?
7. Start with prayer
I have to confess, sometimes I feel like I’m throwing in a token prayer to begin rehearsal. After all, it’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Seriously, start with prayer and make it sincere. Don’t rush through it. Your team members are probably tired and faced incredible challenges that week. Shepherd and pastor them. Care for them. This doesn’t have to be long time because your primary goal is to rehearse the music. At the same time, rehearsing with the correct frame of mind and spirit is paramount.
As worship leaders it’s easy to get on autopilot and neglect these simple steps in preparation. I hope you’ll consider these and make plans to incorporate these tips into your weekly preparation time.
What are some other simple ways that you prepare for your praise team rehearsals?
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