How To Run A Rehersal

January 13th, 2010

Rehearsing a band is critical to the development of any group of musicians as well as worship leaders. It is also the thing that very few do well. Look into most youth bands across the globe and you will find frustrated players, bands they don’t play well together, and people who are just bad at leading worship. Here are some tips to effective, efficient rehearsal.

Music Selection

If you don’t prepare yourself for rehearsal, it will never happen. Most teens are on an intermediate level of musicianship, so music selection is a high priority for their successful execution of the music. Select music that they can play after practicing on their own for one week and get it to them at least two weeks in advance. If possible try to select music that is in the same or a similar key when grouping songs together. Pick music that the worshippers are familiar with unless your group is good enough to introduce new music in an exciting way. 


Take care of all the details necessary for a good rehearsal beforehand. Make sure the stage is clean and free from distraction. Check all the sound and get it ready for rehearsal so that there isn’t the frustration of technical problems at the beginning. If possible, have a closed session. The more people that are at the rehearsal, the less focused everyone is on rehearsing. 


If you just play the songs through and fix things on the fly then you waste a lot of time. Try to anticipate problem spots in the music. When a problem arises, play only that part of the music until it is fixed or you have to give up. Sometimes it is beneficial to just have certain players play through a tough spot. Either way, don’t just play through the songs without listening objectively. 


At some point, bands reach a level where they start to get bored with the music. This leads to two general responses. One, they continue to play the same as they have, but with less and less energy and passion or two they begin to develop new nuances and arrangements to the music. The latter is preferred for developing a group. When you have all the notes down, it is possible to work on dynamics. When dynamics are being used effectively, it makes all the difference in the world. There is an inherent applied energy to the music that is more effective that a band going full tilt all the time. Polish parts as much as possible, because the more the musicians don’t have to focus on music, the more they can focus on worship. 

Ending Well

I like to play through the whole set straight through at the end of a rehearsal. This help to remind everyone of the work that was done and help them know the flow of songs from one to another. This will also provide a sense of accomplishment after the practice so that every sees the value of rehearsing. 

A well run rehearsal is a fun experience. A poorly run one is the reason bands don’t play together for very long. One more thing about rehearsals, it is very helpful for bands to do something away from their instruments. The sense of bonding that takes place in creating music together is great and is only enhanced with something to draw on from outside that relationship.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.