6 Ways to Plug the Power Back Into Your Rehearsals

by Branon Dempsey ~

Maximizing Your Time

No matter if you rehearse during the week, or all-in-one-shot Sunday, it can be a waste of time or a value to others. Think about the uses for home electricity. Without it, the simplest task would be problematic. When we experience a good and productive rehearsal, our team is better prepared and energized to lead. The result is a worship service that is vibrant, confident, and full of life.

As you read below, keep in mind that these are suggestions, not rules. Every church and rehearsal setting is different. My hope is that you can acquire some of these ideas and make them work for you. Wherever your team may be, it might be time to plug in and recharge those rehearsal batteries.

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Get Organized

You may have experienced the all-too-familiar scenario: the rehearsal starts at 7pm, people show at 7.15pm and the amps aren’t cranking until 7.30pm. Stragglers, pow-wows and talk-time now land us at 7.45pm, and it’s already 45 minutes into “rehearsal,” and we haven’t even touched the music. This repetitive weekly event can often lead team members to eject.

Make A Plan

This involves the overall rehearsal time, down to the individual songs. Beyond writing out the set list, think about which songs deserve the most time to rehearse along with the tough parts. Keep track of your players to handle certain songs and team rotations. Jot down your musical ideas in order reference them in the moment. Out of habit, I will put minute markings per song, indicating the length of time to work each tune. Next, I’ll scribble-down notes about the key, tempo, trouble spots and when to change-out the drummer (just kidding).

Be Early On Time

Having the simple things ready to go like music and charts is huge. Go through your music, and notate what needs fixing. When your finished, make those copies and bring them to rehearsal. Maybe do a walk through on your stage to clean up trash, reorganize music stands, cables, etc.

Preparing your own gear is another added benefit: change those guitar strings and swap out that old sustain pedal. Create your own catalogue of music, kept in a folder and easy to locate. Don’t forget that pencil. Plan to arrive early at rehearsal and get your gear ready. If meeting time is 7pm, your downbeat time is 7pm. Vince Lombardi once said: “To be on time is to be late, to be early is to be on time.” (a.k.a Lombardi Time)

30-20-10 Rule

When leading a rehearsal, your time management is to serve the members of your team. Rather than rehearsing three songs for two hours, I follow what I call the 30-20-10 Rule. Let’s say we have five songs, we’ll take 30 minutes total to work trouble spots – that’s 5 min per song. Take 20 minutes (4 minutes per song) to run the set top to bottom without stopping, and the last 10 minutes of rehearsal for questions.

The idea is to work backwards: begin with each song’s toughest part first to the easiest, address the transitions, and move to the next song. This plan takes about an hour, give or take depending on the music material and needs. The purpose is to stay on task and finish on time without missing a beat.

Rehearsal Time is Not Practice Time

Another large problem in rehearsals is people not knowing their music. We are busy people with many excuses. Practicing at home is a must have before entering rehearsal. Ask any professional live, studio or orchestral musician, and they will tell you the same. When you arrive, you simply rehearse what you’ve practiced. At this pace, your Sunday mornings become a run-through and not another rehearsal.

In your rehearsals, when a song sticks out and not jiving,’ immediately fix it. Never rehearse mistakes. Don’t run through your set trying to make it perfect. In reality, you want to look for the mistakes in order to improve the song. When the problem goes un-addressed, most likely you will repeat the same mistake in a real service. Make it right and move on. Another big component is communication: keep it clear, positive, concise and never point out anyone publically. Lastly, make it fun.

Ending Well

When you finish rehearsal, thank people for both their time and commitment. Remind them of the musical points mentioned and confirm your meeting time for Sunday. Take that extra time as well to check on others to make sure everything else in life is cool. Pray for one another and be there for one another.

Before you know it, making music will be more fun, more productive and more meaningful. Plug the power back into your worship team and make your next rehearsal one that people will remember.

Copyright 2014, Branon Dempsey | Worship Team Training® | Administered by For His Music. All Rights Reserved.

Check out my Mark’s new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure’ available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.


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