Focus in Rehearsal

I’m gonna keep this topic brief, but I wanted to say a quick word about running a tight ship during worship rehearsals. I learned a long time ago that musicians are the hardest group of people to wrangle. Put 8 or 12 of them on a stage and good luck getting much done. I can say this because I suffer from the same “right-brain” issues. We’ve actually found that in creative meetings that “creative wandering” is a positive thing, but during rehearsals it can be a disaster waiting to happen.

One of my favorite movies lines goes something like this: “Spontaneity has its time and place.” Yes, we take time to chase a few rabbits during rehearsals, and yes we spend a ton of time looking for a more awesome keyboard sound. And spontaneity in worship is an awesome thing! But we have to make sure as worship leaders/pastors that we know when enough is enough. I want to make sure each week that we budget our rehearsal time in such a way that we get the most out of our team members. It’s frustrating to everyone if we work for 2 hours and get nowhere.

This is why it’s important to come to rehearsals as prepared as possible. If I as a leader don’t have a plan or vision for what the set is going to be then I can’t expect my team to stay engaged as I try to figure it all out. Being prepared is crucially important to the production team as well. I waste their time by not giving them a clear idea as to what’s supposed to happen.

Try a few of these ideas this week to keep your rehearsal focus a little tighter:

Keep the information pipeline running - Send emails and texts to team members throughout the week to keep everyone in the loop. Get your soloists prepared ahead of time. Make sure your players can handle the songs and arrangements you will be attempting.

Consider shortening your music set - I’d rather be able to knock 3 songs out of the park than come close on 5 songs. It’s simply a matter of time and energy.

Limit the number of people who can talk to the sound guy - You want to shave off 45 minutes of rehearsal and keep your tech team from pulling their hair out? Don’t allow every single player and singer to have direct access to your audio engineers. It took me 2 years of retraining my guys to let me or my music director know if they needed a monitor mix change, not yelling it from the stage.

Identify the team members who slow you down - Sounds harsh, but it’s worth doing. I’m not saying you need to replace them, I’m just saying you need to know when they are on the stage. Maybe take some extra time with them BEFORE rehearsal starts and get them comfortable with their monitor mixes, tones, etc.

That’s just a few ideas on keeping a better focus during rehearsals. I’d like to hear from you on how you keep things rolling...

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Andy Chrisman
Worship Pastor
Andy came to Church on the Move in 2005, having been in the music industry for over 25 years. He's dedicated to raising up the next generation of worship leaders, and even though he spent many years with the group 4him, he says he's "having more fun now than I ever did on the road."