Leading a Worship Choir Rehearsal for a Seasonal Choir

Last week I posted the blueprint I use to construct a worship choir rehearsal each week. Since then I have been asked through Twitter, Facebook and comments to this blog how I would implement this plan for a choir that only meets and  prepares for special occasions or seasons. The questions seem to be raised concerning a choir that meets for six  consecutive weeks leading up to a series of identical performances.

First let me say that the plan posted in the earlier post is what I utilize each week for a worship choir rehearsal  preparing that choir for ministry on a weekly basis. Even though that is the case the basic outline can be adapted to the seasonal choir.

The backbone of the worship choir rehearsal blueprint is:

  • Begin with something familiar
  • Put the hard work in the middle
  • End with something familiar.

Before I get to the specifics of what that might look like, I think there is a more important issue for a seasonal choir: building “team” in a short period of time. To be successful as a worship leading choir I believe there must be a sense of team and shared common goal. The shared common goal is easily presented, even done so during the recruiting process. However, instilling a sense of ‘team’ within the group is much harder. I meet with my group weekly and ‘team’ is one of the hardest things to accomplish, it is hard for me to imagine the difficulty of this task with a seasonal group. Here are some ways I would try to bring the team together:

  • During each rehearsal plan a time of fellowship
  • During each rehearsal divide the team into groups for prayer, change those groups each week.
  • Once or twice during the season plan an extended fellowship time that might include snacks.
  • Each rehearsal share the reason for having the choir, communicating expectations for participation and dreams for final product

Now on to the rehearsal of the music, remember the basic plan is: familiar, work hard on new stuff, familiar. To  accomplish this when all the songs maybe new you might want to go this direction:

Here is how I might rehearse a seasonal choir.

Week 1

  1. Begin with a worship time of a familiar song.
  2. Progress to getting them to sing parts on that familiar song.
  3. Begin to introduce ministry songs for the season.

    1. Often I use recordings
    2. Find a section that is repeated often, work on this section hard so that there is success
  4. If there are 5-6 new songs to introduce do not work on all of them the first week, maybe 3 of them.
  5. End rehearsal with something familiar, again this could be a worship song. One way to end would be to sing something without any accompaniment so that the group hears how they sound as a team.
  6. Before they leave I would provide some type of rehearsal CD so that they can get some work done before the next rehearsal and the things you have taught are not forgotten.

Week 2

  1. Begin with a easy sing-a-long
  2. Bring back one song from last week that the most was accomplished on. Hit the familiar sections and then push on to another part of the song that needs work.
  3. Introduced 1 or 2 new songs here following the plan outlined from week 1.
  4. Work on the other two songs that were introduced last week using the plan item #3
  5. finish with something familiar, that could be one of the seasonal songs or just another sing-a-long. Often here I use a worship song and finish the night with a time of worship and prayer.
  6. final instructions would be to communicate the need to listen to the provided rehearsal recording. (One note on rehearsal recordings, please make sure you obtain permission from the publishers before making the recordings.)

For the remainder of the seasonal choir rehearsals I would use the following plan.

  1. use a variation of week 2
    1. eventually you will have nothing to introduce but you will find there are sections that need more work than others. It is those songs I would place in the middle of the rehearsal.
  2. as the basics of each song are learned move toward polishing each song, paying attention to details that make it music not just notes.
  3. each week memorize some part of what has been worked on.
  4. finish the rehearsal with one or two of the songs that the choir has ready to sing, or a section of those songs.

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