6 Tips Great Worship Rehearsals Better

Worship Teams spend lots of time in rehearsals, so it’s important that our rehearsals are as efficient and effective as possible! In today’s episode we cover 6 tips that will hopefully help you run more effective rehearsals!

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Equip your team to show up prepared by being prepared yourself. Leaders, be ahead of the game!   -Tweet That

Leaders, figure out transitions and parts before your band arrives, so they don’t have to stand around waiting.   -Tweet That!

A good start to rehearsal can lead to a great rehearsal! Be prepared to start!   -Tweet That!

Put a pencil on every musician’s music stand and make sure they take notes!  -Tweet That!

Respect your team members’ time. Keep the rehearsal moving forward!   -Tweet That!

Don’t stay alone with someone of the opposite sex after rehearsal to work on a part!   -Tweet That!


Alex Enfiedjian 00:12 Hello, and welcome back to the worship team podcast. My name is Alex Enfiedjian. I’m your host today, super thankful that you’re here that you’re taking the time out of your schedule to be with us to be encouraged to be equipped. really our goal is to equip you to be the best worship leader or worship team member that you can possibly be that you might bless your local church. That’s why we do what we do. So today is Episode Two of our podcast. And we are going to be talking about six tips for running great rehearsals, six tips for running great rehearsals. So before we get into the tips, let’s just talk for a second about rehearsals. If you’ve been a part of your worship team for any period of time, you realize that rehearsals are a big deal and they take a lot of your time. Usually most teams will practice twice a week, once during a week night and once before the service on Sunday. And if it’s like Christmas or Easter man, it can feel like one perpetual, never ending rehearsal. So as a leader, and this podcast is going to be mainly aimed at worship leaders. As a leader, it is our job to make sure our teams have the best rehearsals that they can possibly have. Because a good rehearsal when it’s good, man, everyone’s stoked, everyone’s happy. Things just sound great, everyone’s encouraged. They’re glad to be part of the team. They’re looking forward to the weekend. It’s just good when it’s good. But when it’s bad, man, it is so discouraging. You know, everyone’s confused. No one knows their parts. People are feeling stressed and there’s maybe tension between team members. It’s just bad. So it’s our job as worship leaders to really do our best to make sure our teams have great rehearsals. So hopefully these tips today will help you as a leader or a music director have better rehearsals, more effective rehearsals. So let’s jump into the tips. Tip number one is to be ahead of the game be ahead of the game. The most important work that you do to prepare for your rehearsal happens way before the day of the rehearsal. This is the boring administrative stuff that you need to take care of way in advance. So this is stuff like picking the songs, having a setlist in order and mailed out to the team, email, not snail mail out to the team, at least a week in advance. Okay, at least a week, I used to send my songs out on Monday. And we would have rehearsal on Thursday. And my team members told me they said Alex, that’s not enough time to prepare because we get them Monday afternoon. And then we have Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon and then Thursday’s rehearsal, so they really only get two days. So I would encourage you as a worship leader to send out your songs at least a week in advance. After my team members came to me with that comment, I actually started sending out the songs six weeks in advance, so they had no excuse to not be prepared. That’s a long time. So pick your song, send them out. And I would encourage you if you don’t play your songs, the way that they’re recorded on the album versions, I would encourage you to send out an mp3

Alex Enfiedjian 03:43 record your own version of the song, even if it’s just you with an acoustic guitar or with the piano. That way your team can figure out how you play the song and they can practice along to the song The way that you’re going to play it at rehearsal. And I would even go so far as to recording specific piano lines. If you’re able to do that. Like if you want the piano player to play a specific part, record that for them in the mp3 or use the MIDI drums on your computer to play a simple drum beat kind of the pattern that you’re hoping your drummer would play. But that way, you’re setting them up there. This is before rehearsal they have a week or two or three or four to practice the songs the way that you want them to practice and play the songs at rehearsal. Also, one more thought when you send out your songs before you send them out. Make sure you look at your chord charts and play through your chord charts because I’ve found that sometimes I’ve sent out the chord charts and they have a wrong chord in there, but I never played through them. And so I didn’t catch it. And so everyone shows up to rehearsal and they’re all playing one chord and I’m playing a different chord and it’s because They learned it with the wrong chord in it. So make sure you check your chord charts, check the lyrics, make sure the lyrics are the same as the ones on the screen on Sundays. So that you’re singing the same thing that the congregation is singing. Again, these are all like, no brainer, boring, tedious, you know, micro detail stuff. But if you do the legwork ahead of time, if you’re ahead of the game, your rehearsal will just go so much smoother and be so much better. One last thought about being ahead of the game. And this has to do with the tech team and or the sound guy. Go ahead and send them an email a week in advance as well, letting them know the stage layout, where are all the instruments going to be who’s playing which microphones should they use, send that out a week ahead of time, so they have the time to kind of prepare mentally, so that when they arrive on Thursday night, or whenever you rehearse, they can just come in, they have a game plan before they even get there, they can unlock the door run in and they know what to do, they’ve got a plan. As you are ahead of the game, it gives your team time to prepare and come to rehearsal prepared. So it’s really just about equipping your team members to show up knowing the songs in the right order, knowing the right chords, knowing when they should be coming in what they should be playing. We as leaders have to do the legwork ahead of time and be ahead of the game, so that we can have a great rehearsal on rehearsal night, number one, be ahead of the game. Number two, be prepared to start, be prepared to start the rehearsal. So before any of your team members arrive, make sure that you as the leader have thought through all of the parts, all of the arrangements, all of the structures of the song, you should know what each band member needs to play, and each singer needs to sing. So that when they do arrive to start rehearsing, if they’re singing something wrong, or playing something wrong, you can show them the right way to do it. So be prepared to start before your team arrives. Know the music, know the transitions, how are we getting from one song to the next, play through this set before rehearsal starts. And think through the transitions think through, you know, the dynamic and stuff that way when your team arrives, you’re not trying to figure it out on the stage, they’re not waiting for you, you can just start and you know where you’re going, you know where you’re taking your team, you know where you’re leading them. And I would just highly, highly, highly encourage you as the worship leader or music director. And this seems obvious and dumb, but make time to play through the entire set several times during the week. So that you know the chords you have it down called you’re not fumbling through chords, you’re not fumbling through lyrics. Because if I as the leader am am messing up, how is my team supposed to follow me. So make sure you prepare to start and prepare to rehearse by practicing the songs ahead of time. One last thing about being prepared to start and to me, this is a huge deal. This is like so important. Make sure that this stage is 100% set up before anyone of your team arrives, okay, so you and the sound guy or if you’re in charge, do it yourself, make sure that all the mics are plugged in, all the you know, instruments are plugged in everything is plugged in patched, tested, works, that’s important, make sure everything works. And then do some basic gain, you know, gain structures. So you know, set the gain on the soundboard. Because there’s nothing more discouraging to a team member to come in, to plug in their instrument. And you know, the drummer counts it off 1234

Alex Enfiedjian 09:17 and there’s no sound coming out of your bass or your piano and you’re like what’s going on? Why is this not working like to have to stop the rehearsal that it has just, you know, got started to try to figure out and troubleshoot. And then the sound guys got to run down and try to figure out what cable you know, just eliminate all of that because a bad start to rehearsal can lead to a bad rehearsal. So make sure that before your team arrives, your stage is set up that you’ve tested all the lines, it’s called a line check and that everything works and everyone will just be so blessed because they can come from their stressful day at work and they can plug in and they can play any Enjoy and worship the Lord. Okay, last thought about being prepared to start. If you use a click track or a metronome, make sure that all of the tempos are set that they’re in the metronome in the proper order, so that the drummer can just hit play, and count everyone in and then we can just launch off. So be prepared to start. A good start to rehearsal can lead to a great rehearsal, be prepared to start. So that’s tip number two. Tip number three is to be in charge of the night, be in charge. When rehearsal does start, it’s important that you are a strong leader. Okay? Everyone is looking to you for direction, the sound guy, they need to know how should I mix this song? Should it be bass heavy, you need to give them clear direction. The band members are looking to you what do we play? How do we play it? What’s the dynamic. Just take control of each moment of the night give clear direction, don’t be afraid to be the leader God has entrusted you with this role for this night to lead this team. So lead boldly lead confidently. If you don’t lead, then things can just get confusing or frustrating or people don’t really know what they’re aiming at. The leader gives everyone a clear target. So give people a clear target. Don’t be shy. Don’t be timid. Don’t be a jerk. But, you know, be comfortable calling the shots and giving people direction and refining the music. You’re in charge. So this even comes down to like simple things like Okay, everybody, rehearsal is starting right now. So let’s, let’s jump down here to the benches, and read some read some of God’s word together. You just you just told everyone what’s happening. We’re starting rehearsal. We’re gonna read first we’re gonna pray. So just take charge of that moment. And then when that’s over, say, Alright, everyone. Let’s jump up to the stage, we’re gonna do a soundcheck and then we’ll jump into the first song, you’re just you’re just leading you’re giving clear direction. And I know that sounds like a no brainer. But I’ve been part of rehearsals where the leader doesn’t really lead. And it’s, it’s just kind of like everyone’s wait sitting around waiting, you know, wondering what should I be doing right now. So be in charge of the night, and everyone will be blessed for it. And the fourth tip, so let me just go through the first three, be ahead of the game, be prepared to start, be in charge of the night. And then be clear in your communication be clear in your communication. So once you know what you want, it’s your job as the leader to clearly communicate what you want to your team members. They need to know what you want them to play, how you want them to play it, where they come in which singer is singing which harmony, you need to tell them that so they don’t have to guess? If there’s confusion about a part of a song, you need to you know, hey, let me let me hear what you’re playing. Okay, that’s not right. It needs to be played like this. And then you need to whatever, air drum it out.

Alex Enfiedjian 13:28 Or,

Alex Enfiedjian 13:29 you know, show them clearly what you’re wanting them to be playing. And one other thought about this that one of my friends encouraged me to talk about is when you are talking to your team members, people need a lot of encouragement. So if you’re going to tell them that the part that they’re playing doesn’t sound good, or that they’re singing off key or something, make sure you pad it with with compliments, don’t you know flatter and lie. But make sure that you give a lot of encouragement as you’re giving correction because we’re all fragile and you know, weak people and we our egos are easily be bruised. So make sure that you’re giving a lot of encouragement as you give your clear directions so that people don’t think you’re

Alex Enfiedjian 14:24 a jerk. One more thought about clear communication. You need to be able to hear all of the

Alex Enfiedjian 14:33 parts. It’s really important whether you’re using a wedge or any ears that you hear all of the instruments because I know some people they just want to hear what they need to hear like I just want to hear the kick and the snare. And I don’t want to hear the background vocalists and I don’t really need the piano in my mix. But you know what, as the leader you do need to hear everyone you need to hear every little thing, because if someone is singing the wrong note, or playing the wrong chord, you need to know. Because ultimately, how the set sounds on Sunday is a result of your leadership, you can’t blame the band, you can’t blame. I don’t know the sound guy because you’re in charge. So you need to tell them what they’re doing. And we need to take responsibility for that. So make sure you can hear everyone in your mix. If someone’s playing the wrong thing, stop them. It, correct them, teach them the right part, and move on. So be clear in your communication. Okay. One last one. And then one. Bonus one. The fifth tip for having a good rehearsal for running a good rehearsal is to be quick, to move forward, be quick to move the practice forward. Because while we work on the nitty gritties of the song, sometimes we can get bogged down and get overly focused on one little part and take too long of a time on that part or on that song. But I want to encourage you as the leader to respect your team members time, and try to keep on schedule. Okay, don’t let devotionals go too long. bleeding into practice time, and then make practice time go too late. Keep on schedule. And once you’ve like if you’re in the middle of rehearsal, and you stop to work on a part, once you’ve worked on that part, count right in from where you left off and go from there through the rest of the song. Don’t dilly dally, don’t let there be too much downtime. Because honestly, your team members, they most of them work full time jobs, or they’ve got kids at home, or they haven’t seen their husband or their wife all day. And they don’t want to be at rehearsal all night. They want to get done and get home. I mean, it’s fun to play music, and it’s fun to jam, but respect their time and get them home quickly. Just make sure that you keep things moving forward. As the rehearsal goes on. If someone on your team is having a really hard time with a particular part, like if the bass player cannot get the baseline down, which they should have, you know, practiced at home and got it down and then come. But if they come and it’s all wrong, and they just can’t get it right, and you’ve spent 510 minutes trying to work with them, I would encourage you to just tell that person, hey, okay, make sure that you, you know, come prepared. But also, I’m going to, we’re going to move on from here, and you and I will stay after rehearsal. And we’ll work this out. That way, the rest of the team doesn’t have to wait because this person can’t get their part down. You can send the rest of the team home, and then you and that person can work on the part and get it all dialed in. And then just encourage them. Okay, come back on Sunday, knowing your part. Don’t make the rest of the team Wait, because someone else can’t figure out their part. So get your team home, stay on schedule, be quick to move forward.

Alex Enfiedjian 18:18 That will hopefully be helpful. One last thought about that. If you do stay after rehearsal with someone, make sure it’s someone of the same gender. If it’s someone of the opposite sex, don’t stay alone after rehearsal with them. That’s just unwise. So if it is someone else of the opposite gender who needs help, make sure someone else a third person stays with you so that it’s you know, above reproach. So, be ahead of the game. Be prepared to start, be in charge of the night, be clear in your communication, be quick to move forward. And the last tip is to be loving in your relationships. Be loving in your relationships. You know, if your team members don’t know that you love them. Then when you do these other five tips, they’re just gonna think you’re like a jerk and all you care about is sounding good and being efficient. But if they know that you love them, and that you care about them, then then you’re going to come across as just an efficient and organized leader, not a jerky leader. Make sure they know that you love them that you care about them. It’s important to remember that these people have lives. They’ve got families, they’ve got trials that they’re going through, they’ve got struggles that they go through. I remember one of my team members came to me and she said, You know Alex, I just sometimes I just don’t know if you like, you know care about me and my family because you never ask. And that was I’m so thankful she told that to me because it really helped me realize like I need to make a conscious effort to see how my team members are doing. And so I’ve started going out to coffee with some of the guys and just checking in sending texts. One of the things that we’ve done recently is we actually started a email trail, like a reply all email thing. And every month, we just everyone on the team replies all with one or two sentences about what’s going on in their lives. So that we know we know what’s going on in each other’s lives. We can pray for each other. And then when we see them at rehearsal, we can say, how’s it going in this area? You know, how’s that thing going? Is it improving? How can we keep praying for you. So that’s been really cool. And I’m super thankful for my team, make sure your team knows that they that you love them. And if any of my team members are listening or watching, I just want to say I love you. Thank you for being an awesome team member. I really do care about each one of you. So thanks for being part of the team. So that’s it. six tips for running great rehearsals. Number one, be ahead of the game. To be prepared to start, three be in charge of the night. Four, be clear in your communication. Five, be quick to move forward. And six, be loving in your relationships. I hope your team benefits from this. If you are a team member and you think your worship leader would benefit from this, send this over to them. And if you wouldn’t mind, leave me a rating in iTunes, that would be super helpful to get the podcast out to more people just search for the worship team podcast or worship team podcast and you’ll find it leave a rating and a review and honest one so I can continue to improve. And we’re just super thankful for you and that you would take the time to be here with us today. Next week, we’re going to be next month I’m sorry, we’re going to be talking about three things about prophetic worship. What is prophetic worship, it’s kind of a buzzword right now. So we’re just going to take a moment and look at that for a bit together. So I hope you have a great week. I hope you’re blessed. If you want to leave a comment on my blog, you can Alexon music.com al XON music.com and just leave a comment and share your thoughts about this podcast. God bless you have a great Sunday. lead your church passionately to worship Jesus