expressive worship

Rehearse? We’re a Worship Band!

Worship bands! It’s time to rehearse for the upcoming service. You:

A) Show up late and then make excuses for not learning the charts
B) Show up late and then waste the 1st 30 minutes of rehearsal joking around with everyone
C) Show up really late and take 20 minutes setting up your gigantic pedal board and riffing on everything but that week’s songs
D) All of the above.

Yes, wherever there are musicians, there’s a party! When it comes to rehearsals, the leader really needs to take control. Here are some ideas:

1. Have a meeting to lay down expectations of what needs to happen during that time and stick to it. It’s tough on the leader to have to be the “heavy” but that’s part of your job!

2. Try planning some goof-off time either before or after rehearsal so everyone has time to socialize and still get down to business. Most worship teams rehearse once a week and they may not see each other in between much, so everyone wants to talk and catch up. So just plan for it – it can be a good thing!

3. Make sure everyone knows what their responsibility is. In most cases you’re working with volunteers, so I know it’s tough to run a rigid rehearsal, but if they want to be part of the worship team they need to understand the responsibility that comes with it. Everyone needs to take rehearsals seriously or they’re off the team.

4. You may want to write out a mission statement of sorts about everyone’s role in the worship service and what will be required of them in terms of commitment. It’s important they understand why excellence and preparation is required. This is also a long discussion to be had with the team, your Pastor and Scripture!

5. I wish every worship team would get Tom’s Expressive Worship DVDs. You’ll see him work directly with a worship band and singers, transforming the way they are able to connect to the congregation and lead them vertically into worship. Schedule a night for the team to watch one of the DVDs together! (Tell them there’s food and they’ll come.)

I’d love for other worship teams to weigh in on this issue. How do you keep your rehearsals on-track? What ideas can you share for teams struggling in this area?

Worship Well & Often,
Amy Wolter, Live Music Producer

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Amy Wolter

Amy has vast and varied experience in music, from keyboardist to lead singer, from songwriter to producer. She fronted a nationally touring Christian rock band that garnered some top 10 CCM hits. Playing in a variety of venues and churches gave her a real understanding of what audiences and congregations connect with. As a member of her church’s worship team, Amy understands the challenges that come with this, and enjoys helping Christian artists and Worship Teams create freedom in the room to truly express their worship.

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  1. Katie says:

    great tips! i like the idea of coming early and having some chat time before practice. team building is important for a worship team! you don’t want to be leading worship with strangers. plus, usually rehearsals are at night around dinner time, after work – usually a time when people want to wind down from the first half of their day and get ready to start the 2nd. it’s a good time to get conversation out of your system.

    DEFINITELY players and singers NEED to be prepared to practice. i heard Tom say once that you HAVE to practice outside of rehearsal. absolutely, Tom. it’s our responsibility to each other. i also think a good discipline to learn is when it’s appropriate or inappropriate to joke around and interject during practice. less chatter during rehearsal means quicker and more focused/productive rehearsal!

    also, something that’s necessary for a worship team is to close by spending time in prayer – something we often forget but should be the core of what we do…
    thanks, amy!

  2. Amy Wolter says:

    Right Katie, prayer is vital and will be the glue to bond the team together. As the great Christian artist Mylon LeFevre told our band years ago, “Pray more than you play”. Now to practice what I preach!

  3. Pam Sandness says:

    I do think that is very good advice!!

    I use to play for church services, for worship time. I played the piano. Heck, I remember in one church, there was no guitar or drums or any other instrument. Just little old me rofl,,,,,,

    I never knew what song they would sing for Sunday morning worship. They did pick choruses, which I just happened to know most. They would start to sing, and I would just listen, and hear what chord they were in and catch up. I played by ear and I can read music.

    To be honest?? I do think it would have been more organized, and better orchastrated, if they had given me the songs ahead of time and what key they were in.

    I have just learned to follow the leader, in whatever church I played in, as part of the worship team.

    Anyhow, good advice though. Truly good advice.

  4. antidiva says:

    haha or not show up at all. then come to the day of recording and say they will just pray and then everything will be good. no need to practice. NOT! They were sent home with instructions to think about why they think God should do everything for them when it is supposed to be the other way around. That day was a total waste of their time. the next time they came to practice they were there.

  5. team building is necessary for making an effective employee relationship as well as in sports too’~:

  6. Ralph says:

    Lack of discipline, whether it be joking around, noodling, coming late, or not coming prepared, is the greatest sin of Worship Band members. It shows a heart more committed to self than to God. Being disciplined shouuld be the first prerequisite for a worship team member. After that, it’s dedication to get the music right, and to continuously work to improve your own skill, so as to serve God better. Always have a servant’s heart, and put others before yourself. Let someone else take that solo; don’t try to do all the fills yourself. Be humble, don’t go for the place of pre-eminence unless you’re called to do so. Don’t act like you are the best muscian, even if you are. Speak to each other gently and kindly, and always defer to the leader no matter what you think. Lastly, don’t talk behind each others’ backs. If you have a concern, discuss it with your worship leader first. Above all, love each other, no matter what, love each other.

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