How to Lead an Effective Rehearsal in a Short Amount of Time

How to Lead an Effective Rehearsal in a Short Amount of Time

So let’s talk about rehearsing your worship team for a few minutes:

Rehearsing is like wasabi: Just the right amount of it does the trick. Too much of it makes you want to scream. Not enough of it and everything tastes too raw.

I’ve written a few posts on this topic before (here, herehere, herehere and here) but I wanted to approach it from a different angle: How you can lead an effective rehearsal in a really short amount of time. I’m talking anywhere from five minutes to 30 minutes. Anything longer than that is not really “short,” but that’s another topic for another day.

You can lead effective rehearsals in a really short amount of time. How?

First step, have the sound system, monitors, music stands, music, mics, cables, etc., ready before rehearsal starts. Sound engineer at the desk at start-time.

Second step, ask the sound engineer: What do you need from us? Let him tell you what he needs to hear in order to set gain levels, monitor levels, etc., until he’s happy and gives you a thumbs-up.

Third step, break the songs down into categories: 1. We know that. 2. We don’t know that. 3. We still need to work on that. 4. Transitions.

Fourth step: Start from the beginning.

Go through the songs in order. When you come to a song that everyone knows, skip it. If everyone except one person knows it, consider running through that song with that one person after rehearsal is over.

When you come to a song that’s new, talk the team through it. With whatever time you have, run through the main sections of it. If there are multiple verses and/or choruses that are arranged similarly, you don’t need to run those. Hit the parts that are different from the other parts.

If you come to a song that’s familiar, but has a tricky part, or something out of the ordinary, point that part out. Rehearse it if you have time. Or just say “does that make sense?” until everyone nods their heads at you. Move on.

Finally, make sure you talk through transitions, how you will get from one song to the next smoothly.

Keep things moving. Keep control. Don’t get bogged down in side-conversations. Make a joke every few minutes. Don’t let one person who didn’t rehearse drag everyone else down. And don’t forget to pray.

When it’s all over, gather your team together and pray. Pray that God will lead you, help you, fill you, lift your eyes to see Him and give you a heart of love for the congregation. Then you’re ready to go!

Usually, just a little bit of rehearsing can go a long way. Just like wasabi. You don’t need to overdo it!  

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Jamie Brown
Jamie Brown is the Director of Worship and Arts at Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax, VA. Born into a ministry family and leading worship since the age of twelve, Jamie is devoted to helping worship leaders lead well and seeing congregations engaged in Spirit-filled, Jesus-centered worship. He’s currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Religion through Reformed Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Catherine, have three little girls. Jamie regularly blogs at and has released three worship albums: “A Thousand Amens,” “We Will Proclaim,” and “For Our Salvation.”