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Practice vs. Rehearsal

By Ben Abu Saada on October 10, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I was able to participate in a recent Worship Leader Webinar on "Successful Music Rehearsals" led by Tony Guerrero, Director of Creative Arts at Saddleback Church . It was a much needed moment for me as a Worship Pastor.  I had some encouragement on things we currently do on the Grace worship team along with some good insights on how to improve our worship rehearsals.

electricguitaristPractice vs. Rehearsal

Over the past year, our worship band has been striving to raise the bar on itself.  We've been encouraging ourselves to know the tunes before weekly rehearsal, know the setlist before the weekly rehearsal, show up on time, accept/decline assignments in PlanningCenterOnline etc.  We've been successful in many of these areas and we're continuing to challenge ourselves. During the webinar, Tony shared a fantastic definition that made it completely clear to me on what we needed to turn the heat up on our team.

The idea of Practice vs. Rehearsal isn't unique, however, it made more sense when it was simply defined by Tony.  Practice is what the individual team member does on their own, rehearsal is when the team members come together with their individual known parts and put it all together.

What this means is very little time should be spent during a rehearsal listening to the recordings so team members can figure out their parts.  This should already be ingrained in them before they arrive because they've already spent the time practicing on their own.  I know, it sounds like a principle that should be a "Duh!".  It can be easy for worship team members to fall into the trap of "winging it".  Showing up, listening to the songs for 30-60 minutes during a 120 minute rehearsal and looking over a chord chart for the first time is not productive rehearsal time.  A nice reminder to my fellow worship leaders & team members out there about the calling, the necessity and the importance for each worship team member to actively participate in the mission God has called your local church's worship ministry to fulfill (not just the guy behind the mic).

2Praise the LORD with the harp;

Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.

3 Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy. 4 For the word of the LORD is right,

And all His work

is done in truth.

Psalm 33:2-4 (NKJV)


Written by Ben Abu Saada, originally posted here.

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Ben Abu Saada

Ben Abu Saada

Ben has been a part of the All About Worship team since Fall of 2008. He serves as Worship Pastor at Grace Church in Overland Park, KS. Ben also serves as a part of his parents humanitarian organization to the West Bank called Seeds of Hope. He and his wife Addie live in Olathe, KS with their three daughters. Ben requests prayer for the teenage years quickly approaching.