Article : Worship Band Rehearsal

daren on April 17th, 2008

This is an excellent article by Jimi Williams on WHAT NOT TO DO in a Worship Band Rehearsal!! Its funny, and almost scarry too cos some points sound so true in what we do at worship practise!!

I like Point2 … Introduce 5 New Songs! :) hehe. Well I’ve not got the guts to teach 5 new songs in a church service before, but perhaps two new songs and two not so familiar songs! And yeah… that didn’t really work out too well! :)

I am facing a wee bit similiar problem with Point5. Late worship team members! U have them? What do u do? Any given formula for success to share with us? :)

I am sure you will be blest with Jimi’s practical insight into Worship Rehearsal, read on!

One of the most asked questions I hear from worship leaders who are just starting to lead is how to organize and facilitate worship band rehearsals. This sounds fairly simple, but it is a pretty pasture filled with land mines!

I’ve been involved in worship, either leading or as a musician, for the last 12 years and I’ve had all different experiences with rehearsals, good and bad. If you want your band to run screaming from the building, vowing to never play their instrument again, here’s my top 10 list of surefire irritations.

1. Don’t prepare anything in advance.
Nothing is more frustrating to the band than for the leader to show up with a big stack of song sheets, plop them down on floor, and ask “so what do y’all think we should sing this week?”. Part of the leadership role is to discern in advance which songs should be sung that week, pull appropriate charts (I’ll talk more about this next), and show up at rehearsal with a thought out plan. This doesn’t mean you can’t make changes, but at least everyone has a starting point.

2. Introduce 5 new songs.
When the new Passion album releases, you must resist the temptation to introduce half of the songs to your band the next week. I suggest not introducing more than 1 new song per rehearsal. Your church will thank you as well :).

3. Create unique arrangements for every song.
There are some exceptions to this no no. If all your songs are charted specifically for each instrument, all your players read music, and the song is new to your church, then I say go for it. However, if your band plays mostly by ear and chord charts, you’re going to have problems. Also, once people learn the standard way to play or sing a song, playing different arrangements is difficult for the band and for your church to follow.


4. Make sure your rehearsal is at least 3 hours. Seriously people, unless your worship band is going on tour, this is ridiculous. The last thing your volunteer musicians want is to spend an entire evening away from their famliies for a worship rehearsal that should have ended after the first hour. If you are only introducing 1 new song (see point 2), then you should be able to run through that song 2 or 3 times, practice your known songs once, spend some time in prayer, and still be done within an hour!


5. Consistantly show up late and allow others to do the same. It’s amazing how much this is just expected and tolerated among musicians. When people are consistantly late, it says to everyone else “my time is more important that yours”. As the leader, if you refuse to deal with this, eventually everyone will begin showing up late. Then your rehearsals will run long (see point 4).


6. Give everyone only words with chords. It’s amazing how many worship leaders bring only lyric chord charts to rehearsal. Playing a new song with a chord chart is like fumbling around for the light switch in a dark room. Companies like or can help you with charts. If you are committed to only using chord charts, at least allow your band to hear the song in advance.

These are not a sure fire formula for success, but if you follow these suggestions, you will navigate safely through the dangerous field and avoid many pitfalls that others (including myself) have painfully experienced!


Blessings on your ministry!

By Jimi Williams from Worship Together

daren says:

Praying along with you Natalie.

Suggest that you keep praying along for a change in heart, attitude and mindset for your team. Its important that everyone flows along as you lead the church in worship :)

Natalie says:

yea some of my band mates have a crummy attitude towards me,the band leader. So it’s kinda hard to just tell them what to do when they get all upset & sensitive. Bcuz the way their trying to sing songs in their own interpretation isnt the way i want it to be sung. & then they get all mad bcuz they want to lead all the songs!! & i’m like, how you gonna try & lead a song when you dont even show up to practice on time & hardly have any enthusiasm about being in the band or the music ministry in general.?! Oh Lord help me please!!
Please pray for me.

daren says:

Hey Alan … :) Glad u found my little worship blog :) Hope u like it!

And yeah … its actually Not a Laughing matter, but i wonder if Malaysians “in general” have a lackadaisical attitude, thus causing this effect on the way of our life, including worship practise.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm….. :)

Alan Tan says:

Hey Daren! Stumbled on your site while looking up Passion Conference KL and noticed this hilarious (but definitely not a laughing matter) article…

After leading for so long, I still have long practices… close to 2.5 hours! We spend 10 minutes tuning and warming up, 10 minutes sharing and praying, 1.5 hour plus doing the songs one by one and half hour doing the songs all in one go. One hour would be a dream… sigh!

daren says:

Dear Jackson

yeah… keeping to the practise time is sometimes hard. We try to keep practise within 90 minutes. But if we teach a new song, time always drag… to 2 hours. And on a week night.. that’s tiring.

Jackson says:

haha it’s funny to read this but i guess it might happen sometimes.
Well, let everyone know their leadership role, influencing for the common good. Also do not go over then set practise time. If someone is quite late, then others shouldnt wait for them i guess.

daren says:

hahahah … i know what u mean rfkw. Been there.. unfortunately done that too!!:)

Now looking back, really sorry for the worship band that had to wait whilst we worked out the chords & transitions!!

oooh.. **guilty**

rfkw says:

man!!!!!! this is just so true and right!!
i really need to show this to some of my song leaders in church.
i had one experience with Point 1, where we were told to come for practice and all we did for that practice was sit and wait for the song leader to figure out the chords. all becoz she gave the excuse that she got no time to find the chords at home.
I really really really really really need to show her this!!
thx for this post.