Tips for Successful Choir Rehearsals

By Jon Tyner

(Compiled by Savannah Cone)

The night before our ReFOCUS retreat on March 3-5, 2022, Minister of Music Jon Tyner is offering a unique opportunity to join his choir rehearsal at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida, both in person and virtually on Wednesday, March 2. For those who would like to participate but at a later time, we will provide a recording soon after the event. 

Jon says, “We’re excited for you to join us in Pensacola or virtually for ReFOCUS, and we’re honored to be a part of that event.” To prepare for this opportunity, Jon has shared how he approaches rehearsal time with a kingdom mindset.

Everyone who comes to be a part of a church choir typically falls into one of these three groups . . .

Group #1 – Musicians
These are the people who love to make music and they come for that aspect of the choir. We as choir directors love it when those people show up because they can sing, they understand what’s going on, and they are tremendous contributors.

Group #2 – Worshippers
Worshippers are the people who come because they just love to worship and want to be a part of a worshipping group. These singers want to experience the presence of God and they want to pour themselves out in worship. 

Group #3 – Community Seekers
Community seekers want to be a part of a fellowship. They want to experience what it’s like to be in community with other believers. They crave regular relationships that build up support in their lives as they walk with the Lord. 

“Naturally, with each of these groups represented in a rehearsal, I try to make these three categories our priority during rehearsal time.”

Priority #1 –  Music-Making
Obviously people show up to sing in choir because they have an interest in making music. With that in mind, I want to be sure that when people show up, they’re having a quality musical experience. We set goals for people to have a good musical experience when they attend choir rehearsal. I wouldn’t want to show up on Wednesday night without a plan. We will plan out what we are going to practice and what we need to accomplish on each different song. 

We just got done with our big Christmas concert a few weeks ago and we had to really budget our time well since we were preparing 16-18 songs. We had to allot an appropriate amount of time for what we wanted to accomplish each week. 

We do not shy away from setting the bar high for our people. We have expectations for them to sing well and provide the means to help them to get there. This means that we need to have a sound in mind and clear goals for the musicality of the choir. People really love to be challenged. Encourage and push choirs to meet these expectations and goals. People love that sense of accomplishment that they get when they achieve something. So don’t be afraid to push them to that standard lovingly and with guidance.

Priority #2 –  Worship Experience

If we never experience God’s presence in our preparation, we shouldn’t expect His power in our performance.

We need to set aside time to worship with our choir. I try to incorporate just a few moments into a rehearsal where we just worship. This is a time where we are not worried about rhythms or notes, but simply singing to the Lord. This helps keep us focused on our primary role as worshippers. We must be worshippers before we can be worship leaders. 

Additionally, during rehearsal I like to give little nuggets of truth. I try to identify a few truths or themes in the songs that we’re singing and I bring those to their attention as we go. This provides a very natural way to help worshippers absorb key truths along the way.  I encourage you to always be giving truth to people, to keep that worship aspect and experience on their minds.

Priority #3 –  Community Building
We want to build a community within our choir. Everyone wants to be a part of something that’s bigger than themselves. People desire to have a relationship with others that encourages growth.

One of the brilliant things about choir is that for the most part, any kind of person can come participate and contribute to being a part of something beautiful. They share in a journey of work and ministry together. They enjoy a sense of accomplishment together. They share times of prayer and worship together. A choir grows spiritually, musically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially together. We crave those kinds of experiences in community with others. 

For all of these reasons, I’m extremely passionate about the possibilities that a vibrant choral ministry presents for kingdom growth and discipleship. Every week when we gather together to rehearse, I keep these things at the front of my mind to ensure we accomplish these goals of music-making, experiencing true worship, and building a strong community. 

I am excited for us to all experience this together March 2, 2022 as part of ReFOCUS. I hope you’ll join us and see in a practical way how we spend our rehearsals every week.

Watch the video of Jon’s “Tips for Successful Choir Rehearsals”

Jon Tyner is the Minister of Music at the mega-sized Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. Before that Jon served as worship pastor at Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Sevierville, TN. He served on Dr. Adrian Roger’s staff as the Assistant Minister of Music at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis in the mid-2000s. At ReFOCUS, Jon will be leading a choir workshop as a pre-retreat experience on Wednesday evening, March 2.

Join us at REFOCUS on March 3-5, either in person in Pensacola, FL, or online! Join Jon and many other great speakers and artists for a great time of training and worship!

Click Here to Register for REFOCUS ’22