I am a female worship leader at a start-up church in my area and I have a few questions on building my worship team:
1. I have 6 female vocalists, 2 of them have lead/soloist voices.
ALL of them can't harmonize by hear, therefore I have to give them parts.
After I give altos, sopranos, tenors their parts to sing, once I join in they start
singing what I'm singing and completely forget their parts I just gave them after
we just went through the song several times! What do you suggest that I do
as far as giving out harmony parts? Keep it minimal?
2. Right now our church meets twice a month, the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month. How often should I schedule practice for band and vocalists? They all come from a church that sang twice a month and practiced twice a month so they are used to the routine of singing every other week.
3. Also, how often should I give out solo parts? I want to prevent people from getting jealous of each other because so-and-so got the solo part and they didnít. And I definitely donít want diva attitudes to develop when I do give out a solo and they start to assume that once they get one they should get one every time we meet for service.
4. Often worship leaders get approached by people that want to join the worship team, in particular singers. We are a 20-30 something congregation that is just starting out and I already have 7 singers including myself, and 4 musicians. I feel that we have enough singers and not enough musicians. How should I tell people that at this time we are not taking in anymore vocalists because we are ďmaxed-outĒ in a polite and Godly way? I really feel that in the future I want to avoid if possible taking on more people that are tone deaf and to be honest cannot sing. Iím fairly new at being a worship leader and I donít mind helping people but at the same time I feel that there has to be some level of talent AND heart to be on a worship team out of fairness for everyone. I feel that if musicians are expected to know and learn their instruments than the vocalists should do the same. I noticed the general attitude with people is that they think that because God gave them a mouth that they should be able to sing on a worship team. Well, if I go out and buy a guitar and donít practice and learn my instrument than I donít think I deserve to be in a band. Just my opinion. What do you guys think?
Sorry so lengthy, just need some answers quick.
Okay, my first suggestion isn't one of your questions, but before I would start any church worship team they would have to read "The heart of the artist" by Rory Noland. This will allow EVERYONE to be on the same page and if you haven't read this as a leader I strongly urge you to do so!!!! I can't say this any stronger!
Question 1: More practices. Maybe off weeks? Make it mandatory. Work with them individually. Schedule practices as often as it takes to make it sound good.
Question 2: They all come from a church that sang twice a month and practiced twice a month so they are used to the routine of singing every other week. Okay, this is a new church things are different now. You need to form your own routine. Too often we get to caught up in the "this is the way we have always done it" we forget that its okay to do it different and you need to develop your own path.
Question 3: read THE HEART OF THE ARTIST!!!!!!! Don't always give solo to the best singer. In fact, look to the heart first. and read THE HEART OF THE ARTIST!!!!!!
Question 4: Form teams rotate. Have auditions. But, try to work as many in as possible maybe a choir sometimes? (to develop those singers) along with individual singers. and read THE HEART OF THE ARTIST!!!!!!
Hold people accountable, this may cause some issues with leadership, but as long as they will back you go for it. Push them not only the band, but singers as well. Don't worship excellence, but do require excellence.
Two thoughts, and bear in mind that these are only my opinions:
-If I was working with a new team at a new church, I'd be rehearsing every week. That doesn't mean you have to rehearse every week forever if your service schedule stays the way it is now, but it takes time for a group to gel together.
-Have you considered rotating your vocalists? 6 BGVs is a lot - why not schedule 2-3 of them for each service? It will give you a more balanced sound, and allow each of your singers to do more on the weeks that they do sing. At any given point since I've been at my current church, we've had 6-10 vocalists besides the worship leaders, but on a normal Sunday, only 2 of them sing.
Just a couple of ideas to jump off of.
Shalom, McSushi! My advice would be to be completely honest with all of the members and potential members of the worship team. Basically, lay out your concerns just as you did in your post. And of course pray about these things and lean on your senior pastor for support. Ultimately, sometimes less is more and you may want to limit the number of vocalists you have at any one time...maybe just you and one other. Unless, of course, you are doing choral pieces...in which case, those tend to work themselves out.
A couple of thoughts based on how I lead our band...
If you can't both sing lead and BGV's you are not qualified to be a part of the band. Every vocalist in our band is asked to sing lead dependent on the personality of their voice, not so much dependent on the quality of their voice as compared to the other vocalists. I'm positive that we do not have a single vocalist on our team who is jealous of any other vocalist.
We NEVER have more than three vocalists on the stage at one time, and we usually sing with just two parts (melody and one harmony).
Even when we have three vocalists, are harmonies are used to accent the song...we pick and choose carefully when to use them. If a vocalist's primary purpose is to "lead" worship, yet nobody in the congregation will sing harmonies, then the harmonies should be used strategically.
Stop calling them "solos". The word "solo" implies a something related to the performance of the song. "Lead vocal" or "melody" implies something related to the music and purpose of the song. "Solo" also implies that the idea of a band or team becomes secondary. "Solo" also implies that those we are leading should maybe stop singing and listen.
Your vocalists practice and sing half as much as mine do. Every church is different, but I can tell you if my vocalists were only participating with our band half as much as they do now, the quality would decline.
You can never be "maxed out". If people in your church have a gift to use for God, you should always find a place for them to use it. Having said that, it sounds like the reason you feel you are "maxed out" is because you currently have people on the team who probably have greater gifts that could be used elsewhere, creating space for new and more qualified vocalists.
Any male singers in this mix?
Love ONE woman...MANY guitars!
2 bits. . .
I know what you mean about vocalists not having a natural ear for harmony - but then seldom do. I automatically hear multiple harmonies now, but only because of the practice I was forced to do when younger.
Can I make a suggestion - if your singers are prepared to do the hard yards, give them harmony tapes to practice with. Some churches release harmony tapes (I jsut realised I used the word TAPES - showing my age) with their music which you can purchase, or else you can record your own version with each different harmony turned up in the mix. I think this is acceptable in terms of copywright if for personal rehearsal - somebody please correct me if not??
Because practice is key, if a person can practice with a CD everyday, with their particular harmony louder than the rest of the music, they should learn it a whole lot faster than if they only do it at a weekly practice. Encourage them to treat singing harmonies like learning a new instrument - it simply has to be done everyday or you won't retain what you learn.
Hope this helps. . . Steffie
To a practical point of how to get them confident on their parts without others' voices pulling them from what they should be singing, you need to do some frequent and intense ear training with them. Our choir has a regular warm up of singing up the scale with half or quarter notes (1,2,3,4...) and as they come down from 8, the sopranos hold the 8 while the rest come down the scale, altos hold the 5, the rest continue down, tenors hold the 3, basses on down to 1 resulting in a fully harmonized chord, 1,3,5, and 8. This is not only a good warm up but allows everyone to hear the dissonance and harmony of the notes as they pass and it allows each section of singers to hold a note while hearing the others somewhat attempt to pull them away from it. The weak singers will have to struggle but their "training wheels" are the stronger singers in that section that will help them stay on pitch. Over time and repetition, their ear is build and strengthened, much like a muscle would be.
If not in a choir setting, you could have singer x sing the 1 (C) and hold it while you play it on piano. Then YOU sing from 1 up to 3 (E) and then you each hold it (piano holds the 1 to support their ear). Same on the 2 (D) up to the four (F) and so on up the scale.
Use different keys, different scales (minor, melodic) and modes once you expand away from just one note and begin to add a melody of notes.
You may want to add dynamics all along too, practicing these at piano and forte and varying this all along.
Hope that helps!