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  • When you screw up

    Okay, I know that none of you ever screw up. But I tend to quite a bit sometimes. Last night almost 100 people, which is a lot for us on a Wednesday. I also had a full band with BUV. Coincidentally to the unusually large attendance.

    I started with the wrong song. The first two songs in the setlist have the same basic lead-in. I had gotten my songsheets mixed up and wasn't really paying close attention to what she was playing and got the first couple of phrases out. Now I just stopped, we all laughed about it and started over with the right song. But later someone came to me and told me that I should have just kept on with the song I started, let the band figure it out and catch up, and then switched those two songs. This is an older man in the church that led worship for many, many years when he was younger. He used to lead the Wed. night service here also and has been a great help in teaching me. So I definitely respect his opinion. In his view, stopping and starting again disrupts the flow and is a distraction. I guess i could see that if we were deeper into the set, but we had just started.

    What do you think? How do you deal with your screw-ups? If you have any, that is.

  • #2
    Nothing wrong with starting and stopping again. Especially in a more casual environment.

    I'd hate to ever have to do that on a Sunday morning (our most casually uncasual environment)...but have once. The world did not end. People saw our humanity and got a good laugh and we moved on.

    The quest for excellence is a great thing, but the quest for perfection can be a detriment at times. No one's perfect. I would agree that it might be a distraction to the "flow" of worship, but in my opinion if someone is truly worshiping than the flow is a lot harder to break. Why? Because the "flow" isn't dependent upon music, it's the daily rhythm of a life of worship.

    Granted, like I said, it's preferrable to NOT have to stop and restart, but it's not the end of the world.
    Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church .He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.

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    • #3
      I think the only thing to do is to laugh at yourself (inwardly and maybe even outwardly) and go on. We are weak, imperfect vessels. The funny thing is, and I have found this to be true SO many times, is that the weaker I feel in worship, the more powerful God has been that morning; you know, the whole "I must decrease... in my weakness He is strong" thing. I agree with Russ, while it is never desirable to stop and start, sometimes showing a little humanity can be a good thing. Bless you!

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      • #4
        that exact same thing happened to us..."Lifesong" and "The Welcome Song" back to back...same key, same time. Our female lead started the second song instead of the first...after the first few measures, the band figured it out and made the switch...nobody else knew...even the female lead didn't know until we walked off the stage and told her.

        Some mistakes can be fixed without anyone knowing, but you've got to have the talent to make it happen. Other mistakes are hopeless.

        Nate
        Practical Worship

        Please Pray For My Wife

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        • #5
          Most people don't know it when you make a mistake. For those times when its more obvious, I just laugh. Often there is an opportunity to say something funny about it which loosens everyone up and could even foster an atmosphere of freedom (to tear off masks of perfection)


          I've stopped and started more times than I can count. No one has ever been offended by that. Its funny....have fun with it.
          8-)



          what? me worry?

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          • #6
            If its an obvious mistake like the band doing one song and the singere singing another then you pretty much have to stop.

            But if its something a little less obvious like only one musician playing the wrong chord then I try not to draw much attention to it. I wont even look up at the person who did it. Most people wont even notice but if they think they heard something wrong and see all the other musicians staring down the keyboard player then they know they heard a mistake.

            If your going to play the wrong chord play it like you meant to. Makes others think twice abuot what they actually heard

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            • #7
              I have screwed up more times than I can count...literally.

              You just move on. Usually, the band follows.

              Smitty
              Love ONE woman...MANY guitars!

              www.davidsproblem.wordpress.com

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              • #8
                This has happened a few times to us too! I just leave it up to the worship guys to decide how to pull out of it. The two leaders definitely have the talent to go on, but other volunteers leaders would not be able to keep going. Either way it's not a big deal.

                The only time I would be disappointed is if I knew the guys hadn't prepared well. They beat themselves up so much.

                I would only talk about it with them if I had a helpful suggestion.

                The gentleman making the suggestion must have thought you were good enough to continue if he said what he did. Kind of a hidden compliment!

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                • #9
                  Hey it happens. A couple of weeks ago we started playing one song, and the singer started singing another. Whoops!

                  In that case we played though. Passing chord her, drum fill there, off to the races. Probably few people noticed. On other occaisions we've stopped and literally said "OK, let's try that again. Two three..."

                  You know what? You're human, imperfect and flawed. So you make a mistake - who cares? As said, if someone is that easily distracted, they're not really in a place of worship anyway.

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                  • #10
                    SMILE.

                    I smile reading this thread.

                    It's really pretty simple - if you think you can quickly recover, keep going. A leader needs to know his band. If the song is messed up more than a 8-16 bars, it becomes a bit of a distraction.

                    Stopping and starting ... sometimes you have to.

                    Here's the deal. MOST PEOPLE will actually be drawn in MORE if this happens from time to time. It shows that you guys are real ... that you can make mistakes, that you've got a tough job to do ... and if you can make it funny, I think it breaks the ice and makes people relax.

                    This happened to me a few weeks ago ... keep in mind, I'm not saying I'm the pro around here by any means, but I have been leading corporate worship for nearly 20+ years.

                    We were starting a song that needed to be really upbeat and full of energy. We had a bad start (I don't remember why), and not only did everone not come in together, it was WAY too slow. The song would've been painful that slow. We did about 4 bars, and I stopped the band ... and said something funny about how that song would have no life at that tempo ... and we kinda jokingly sang a line or two super-slow to emphasize that.

                    The congregation laughed, felt at ease, we kicked it off at the RIGHT tempo, and moved on. Nobody complained. You could feel that people eased up and just connected more with us as real people.
                    Fred McKinnon, Pianist/Composer/Worship Leader
                    blog: www.fredmckinnon.com

                    Please check out my piano/instrumental music at:
                    www.soundcloud.com/FredMcKinnonMusic
                    www.youtube.com/c/FredMcKinnonMusic

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                    • #11
                      I should say the one thing I'd add here is that this should be the exception, and not the norm. This is the first time in over 2+ years I've had a forced stop and restart. Do that often, and you definitely feel underprepared and under rehearsed.
                      Fred McKinnon, Pianist/Composer/Worship Leader
                      blog: www.fredmckinnon.com

                      Please check out my piano/instrumental music at:
                      www.soundcloud.com/FredMcKinnonMusic
                      www.youtube.com/c/FredMcKinnonMusic

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Man, there are always room for screw ups. Being a young worship leader myself (and I'm sure some of the seasoned veterans have these days too) but sometimes NOTHING EVER goes right. haha. and it's my fault. So i own it. and then move on. I used to be a horrible perfectionist- literally, it had become an obsession. the littlest slip up during a Sunday service could send me into a week of depression or a week of frantically over-practicing to make sure no mistakes were made: and I finally realized: HA! I'm human. That's too much pressure. Laugh about it and move on. If the God wanted 100% perfect worship 100% of the time- he would have called NONE of us into the worship ministry. Take your mentor's advice, but also realize that you are you. unique. creative. your leadership style is going to be different than his. What bothers you- might not bother him. What grates on his nerves while leading, you might think is no big deal. So, I agree with both of you guys- 1. The older gentleman- in the fact that sure, having to stop and start again is a distraction- but only for 5 seconds- unless you harp on it and bring more attention to it than necessary. 2. you- in the fact that it was at the very beginning- it really is no big deal- better to get it right now than later on in the set- you know?

                        Mistakes happen.

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                        • #13
                          reading over the comments, there's a lot to be said for metronomes (or loops/clicks), memorizing music, having systems in place in case of a meltdown, chemistry as a band, competent sound and video techs, etc. There is a HUGE difference between our mistakes and how we respond now than when I first began leading worship.

                          Nate
                          Practical Worship

                          Please Pray For My Wife

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                          • #14
                            There is a HUGE difference between our mistakes and how we respond now than when I first began leading worship.

                            True that! (Sorry, I couldn't resist. If my son's around, I'm sure he's cringing.)

                            Anyway, I was always the person who never tried anything unless I was certain I wouldn't mess it up. Hated to look like an idiot. It was actually a relief the first time the songs didn't go well because then at least I wasn't so fearful of it. If I would have gone so far as to start the completely wrong song back then, I probably would have quit in humiliation!

                            On Wednesdays at least, there are usually no instruments. Upside, I don't have to worry about screwing up the key or tempo, or even song order, lol! Downside, everyone can hear just how off I am.

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