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Thread: Leading a worship band workshop

  1. #1
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    May 2012
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    Default Leading a worship band workshop

    I've been asked by my father-in-law's church [he's the pastor] to lead a worship band workshop for their family camp. I would be responsible for coming down to the church a few weeks early and teaching the music and then doing another workshop the day of regarding general worship band practices, such as "stage presence", music aspects [like dynamics], and choosing music. Their contemporary service is rather outdated and they have been doing the same songs for about 15 years. They mean really well, but seem to be in a rut but they don't know how to get out of it. Whether or not I'm the answer, they've asked me to come and start the process.

    I have some questions:

    Have any of you done this before? What worked well? Didn't work?

    What are some specific things that you all feel are important for a worship band to learn? Re-learn?

    How do you offer corrective constructive criticisms without insulting? [like I said, they've been doing the same thing for a while now]

    How do you use/teach contemporary worship in a room/setting that is not very conducive to it? [They sanctuary is a very tall, fairly narrow room with no way to deaden the sound.]

    How much do you charge? [I hate this question. They asked me and they will write me a check, regardless of if I give them a price or not. They gave me a check that was far too big for writing a song for them and I don't want to over charge them. I just want a fair price.]

    I appreciate all the work that you are all doing and would leave to glean some information from you all! Thanks in advance for your help!

  2. #2

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    Have any of you done this before? What worked well? Didn't work?
    Haven't put one on but been to a few-

    What worked well-

    * A holistic approach of scriptural, cultural and musical background, along with shop talk about music
    * Reference material/ notes- something to reinforce what you are talking about
    * Q and A- a long as it doesn't turn into a gripe session

    What didn't work well-

    * Pontification about the speaker's own personal experience, background, and tastes- sharing experiences is ok in context, but there is a point it becomes bragging and boring.

    What are some specific things that you all feel are important for a worship band to learn? Re-learn?
    * Worship ministry is alive and dynamic. You can't do the same things over and over and expect a different result. It's up to the entire team to keep it alive.
    * God doesn't change, but He's always moving forward. If the team wants to really grow and be effective, they will have to move forward.

    How do you offer corrective constructive criticisms without insulting? [like I said, they've been doing the same thing for a while now]
    By sharing Biblical examples of how God's leaders are moving forward. Also make sure people are in a place to receive it. If people don't want to grow and change, they will get defensive at anything you say.

    How do you use/teach contemporary worship in a room/setting that is not very conducive to it? [They sanctuary is a very tall, fairly narrow room with no way to deaden the sound.]
    Common sense- it is what it is. Try to get some sound panels to help with drums, don't put a massive PA in place, some common sense things that help hep it reasonable. Communicate that there is only so much one can do.

    Hope it goes well

    Mike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Default

    I'm a little confused about this workshop. It seems to be attempting to address (at least) two different issues:

    1) Working with the worship leader, to find a way to plan an updated service, find appropriate music, and teach him/her/it how to teach the band how to present music appropriately.

    2) Working with the band, teaching them how to play well together.

    Of the two, #1 is the more critical item. If the worship leader doesn't have a vision for where he believes God wants the church to go, an understanding of where to go to get the raw materials (music / musicians / willing congregation ), and an understanding of how to "cook" the three together into a pleasing sacrifice to God, at best a workshop gives the church a "one shot" update at their music catalog, which will quickly grow stale and dated even if they continue to use it.

    That kind of understanding requires a music leader with a vision, and probably a mentoring relationship over time to develop the skills necessary to sustain and grow the vision he/she/it has.

    The second is something very appropriate to a workshop. If I were doing a workshop, the following items would be very high on my agenda of things to teach:
    • "It's not about me, it's about God" : the application of Romans 12:1 to our lives. If band members get this is a living sacrifice, not a concert, it becomes easier for them to think more of the end product (music offering to God) and less of their individual contribution ("but I'm not playing all of the time!" "but these chords are too boring!" "but I can solo better than ???").
    • The unpleasantness of overplaying: the train wrecks that most bands have because they aren't listening to each other.
    • How to listen to a recording, and gather ideas on what the band there is doing.
    • How to read chord sheets. Sounds simple, but not everyone knows how!
    • How to think about other instruments in the band, and what frequency ranges they are likely to use.
    • How to build a song from the "bottom up" (drums / bass / rhythm / lead / vocals )
    • How to listen to each other, and not step on each other.
    • How to learn how to solo (for the shy players) and how to hand off solos between instruments
    That's off the top of my head: I'm sure others have a better list. Certain band elements (in particular, vocals) may have more specialized topics as well.

    Note that almost all of the above can be done with or without instruments: at least part of it may be easier if instruments are not in hand.

  4. #4
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    May 2012
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    Default

    Thanks Mike and after5cst! Great thoughts! I know the church is interested in changing their approach but don't seem to know where to start. They have a hard time getting new music found and learned well enough to teach it to the congregation. They have a limited number of instrumentalists and they pretty much play every week, which wears them out. I'm hoping to get them passionate about finding good, newer music [not necessarily the newest, just getting there] to help them connect the music to their everyday lives.

    Great suggestions! Please keep them coming!

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