A good rehearsal can inspire you, sharpen your musical skills, prepare you for worship and build community among the team.

A poor rehearsal can make you want to quit music altogether.

When I talk worship with other leaders, I ask about rehearsal because I’m curious – how do the good worship teams do it? What do their rehearsals have that will make mine more efficient and enjoyable? Over the years, I’ve been surprised at the consistent themes that this question provides.

Maybe your team rehearsal experience has never been great. Or maybe things used to be great and now you’re in a lull. No matter where you find yourself, these tips and tools consistently help to improve rehearsing! For today, tomorrow and Thursday, I’m sharing three tips that might just improve your next rehearsal!

Time and time again I find that the leader’s preparation is the key ingredient in creating a good rehearsal. Far too many leaders show up unprepared and spend their rehearsal time “guessing” at what to do. In my experience, there seem to be 4 major ways good leaders are prepared.

Good leaders know the material.
Knowing what they need to play, sing or do allows leaders the freedom to handle all of the unplanned aspects of worship. Practice is so much more difficult when the leader doesn’t know his or her parts! Build time into your week to get familiar with the song. For some, that means simply listening to the set; for others, that means playing through the set by yourself. The point is this – find out what best gets those songs in your head and do it.

Good leaders have a plan.
Nobody’s able to plan a service to perfection, but leaders with a clear idea of the goal of the worship service provide wonderful direction and encouragement to their team. Don’t be afraid to communicate to your team how the service will run – talk them through transitions and announcements and other elements of worship. Not only does this help you make sure you know the plan, it also welcomes your team into the behind-the-scenes aspect of the service. I don’t know why a well-informed team plays better, but they do.

Good leaders know the trouble spots.
You’re not going to be able to foresee every challenge, but thinking through potential rehearsal problems will allow you to handle them quickly and graciously! Before rehearsal, mark your charts with potential challenges. If they happen, you’re ready. If they don’t happen, then you get that little moment of pride when your team comes through a tough spot with no problem.

Good leaders are examples.

If you don’t know your parts, there’s no way you can be mad that the guitarist for not knowing his. Your skill will be a great example for your team and will allow put your team at ease. If they know you know the parts, they’re not so afraid that a song will explode on stage. Knowing that the worship leader can handle it will build an able, trusting team!

Be sure and come back next week for more tips on improving your rehearsal!


  1. Johnny Simmons

    Rehearsals drive me batty, which is why I don’t like to do them. A run through at sound check SHOULD be all we need, given that this music ain’t rocket surgery.

    I work with excellent leaders who are examples of how to rehearse. Stephen, for example, will tell everyone to get their mix dialed in, then talk down each song, then play it. If there is an awkward spot, he’ll say what he wants and play it again. On to the next song.

    He’s always prepared, knows what he wants everyone to do, and expects everyone to show up prepared to play. Makes playing a real pleasure.

  2. toddwright

    He’s definitely a great leader. AND y’all are great musicians, too. Don’t discount what you guys bring to the table when you show up!

  3. Pingback: REHEARSAL CHECKLIST, PT. 3 « toddwright

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