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What to do,when you have tone deaf members on your worship team?

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  • What to do,when you have tone deaf members on your worship team?

    Hey guys

    Im curious to get your input on this topic,and the way you would or have gone about to deal with that.
    Here's the situation, you have a worship team member,i'll bluntly state they are tone deaf. You have taken time to speak with them, go over with them with one on one practices.Unfortunately no result.and you see they make an effort...So what next? do you allow them to continue on the worship team? If not,how would you approach on letting them go?

  • #2
    Simple...you find a new place for them to serve.

    Maybe they should be placed on the sound crew, since "tone deaf" seems to be a requirement there? That way, everyone can suffer equally!

    what? me worry?


    • #3
      if they haven't been shaped for worship ministry, but you refuse to remove them from the team and help them figure out what their gifts are and where they can use them in ministry, you're robbing them and the church of ministry.

      Practical Worship

      Please Pray For My Wife


      • #4
        Sounds like you are at least making the right moves. I agree with the above...they need to move if there is no improvement.

        BUT, are you a professional teacher? Folks who do this stuff for a living are very much able to unlock potential in people that your average layperson can't. I'd refer them to a well known instructor for a few lessons until they start to hear properly...then you can really set them loose.

        2 points to make on that. Before you go investing in a team member, make sure they WANT this. They need to know that God has them going in this direction before they can pursue it honestly. Basically, don't push. Secondly, the team member will be blessed like mad because you invested. Maybe the church can chip in on those few lessons?


        • #5
          Originally posted by yod1948 View Post
          Simple...you find a new place for them to serve.

          Maybe they should be placed on the sound crew, since "tone deaf" seems to be a requirement there? That way, everyone can suffer equally!
          I hope you realize that was just a joke borne of frustration...

          Listen to Nate and Hitch for wisdom and grace

          ...and thanks for letting me vent for a moment :-)

          what? me worry?


          • #6
            What would life be without a bit of sarcasm?

            Probably about the same, only people like me would go on laughing less.


            • #7
              i actually had to deal with this exact situation in my first ministry position. i inherited a worship team with a member who was consistently a half-tone off. She had been added by the previous leader, and he knew about the problem, but didn't deal with it before moving away. At first, I had her sing by herself to see if she could hear it. That didn't work, and other good singers were struggling with serving on the team because it keep throwing them off pitch. Finally, I ended up taking one the church elders with me to visit her in her home. I began by encouraging her with the obvious gifts she did have. She was a great encourager and servant, and served well as a deaconess. Then broached the issue of her inability to hold pitch. She struggled with it because she had a heart to worship, just not the skill. We offered to provide some vocal lessons for her with a professional to see if she could improve. The rest of the team pitched in to cover it since the church didn't have much money. I ended by pointing her to other ministries that she could excel in. It created some tension for a few months between me and both her and her husband. Which was complicated because her husband was one the team's guitarists. In the end, though, after a few lesson, she realized why we did what we did. The lessons didn't help, but she found a much more fulfilling ministry place. She was always an active participant in worship as a congregation member. And by the time I left that church, the relationship was restored.

              It was a hard thing to do, but it was the right thing to do. Don't address it by yourself, though. Involve another pastor or elder in the process with you.



              • #8
                We would not allow someone on the stage unless they were serving in their top area of ability. In the early days of our ministry - there were definitely a few that got put on the team to fill up space. That is no longer the case. We have a pretty intense system they have to go through which includes a small vocal class with others trying-out for the team. This gives the Worship Leader the opportunity to hear them and he speaks to them very early in the process if he thinks they do not have the level of ability we are looking for.

                I have a former public school choir director as our Senior worship guy - he is amazing at being very gently honest with people and stopping them early in the process and re-aiming them.


                • #9
                  I agree with what's been said so far.

                  From experience, I can say that if you just let it go and hope the situation will 'resolve itself'- it will end in disaster. Hurt feelings, embarrassment and strife are in store.

                  It's always hard to deal with musicians and singers sometimes because there is so much emotional attachment involved.

                  I will warn, however, that taking people with you can also backfire- at least on the first pass. We are instructed to talk to people one on one first- more so relating to sin, but even in cases like this, I have been taught by professional conflict resolution training that taking people with you the first time out can make a person feel 'cornered' and resulting in a defensive reaction.

                  Be honest and give them the right kind of feedback- explain that you can tell that they are struggling to stay on pitch and the person could really benefit from vocal classes. Explain to them that talent and skill are just as important as heart, and both are necessary. Maybe put them on a hiatus of sort and help them develop a plan to improve. If they are serious, they will receive the feedback and improve. If they don't receive it well, then try to direct them into other areas of service.
                  If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.


                  • #10
                    I went to a worship leader conference recently and several of the key points I found were very interesting:

                    We are worshipping God, the creator of EVERYTHING. That should require excellence in all we do be it worship leading, singing, playing an instrument, leading Sunday School, making coffee, or shaking hands. If we are not able to be excellent at the task we are doing, perhaps we should find the task we CAN be excellent at and then find excellence there.

                    Psalm 33:3
                    Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

                    Exodus 36:2
                    Then Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful person in whom the LORD had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him, to come to the work to perform it.

                    Exodus 36:4
                    And all the skillful men who were performing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work which he was performing,

                    1 Samuel 16:16
                    Let our lord now command your servants who are before you. Let them seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well.”

                    1 Chronicles 15:22
                    Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was in charge of the singing; he gave instruction in singing because he was skillful.

                    1 Chronicles 25:7
                    Their number who were trained in singing to the LORD, with their relatives, all who were skillful, was 288.

                    Isaiah 23:16
                    Take your harp, walk about the city, O forgotten harlot; Pluck the strings skillfully, sing many songs, That you may be remembered.

                    My favorite reference from this conference was this one: If Bono called a drummer to play, would that drummer just show up? I do not think anyone would answer this with a yes. That drummer would practice and prepare until his fingers probably bled... Why is it that when God calls us, we can barely find the time to prepare for rehearsal or worship each week? What message does that send to the world? To God?

                    We can demand excellence and we should. It can be done with love but we should always give God the best that we have.


                    • #11
                      Andrew Ironside (www.adnrewironside.com) has a great program for developing perfect pitch. I have used it with the team I lead and with great sucess in a month they will not only hear perfect pitch but too sing it!! And know what note they are singing, be able to harmonise and be inspirped.

                      The seond thing that may help is record their voices so they hear their pitch (you can simply take a line out of your desk into yor PC input and record the service. Thsi helps when not used to criticise but to allow people to hear what they are doing so they can hone their skills and ears.

                      Good luck and be positive about the approach - involve everyone as muso's can benefit also from this very much. Make it a team project (10 minutes before your worship practices) run the audio at your instrumenst and work through Andrew's CD you will see amazing results in a very short time and everyone grows in skills from it!!! yeah


                      • #12
                        Tone deaf

                        I have a wonderful lady on my team. She knows she can't sing and was playing some percussion. I've been working with her on her percussion skills and she has taken off. Our drummer was off and she did a wonderful job. She is a great encourager and wonderful worshiper. so.....see if they can learn how to play an instrument.


                        • #13
                          Move then into another area of ministry with as much grace and love as you can. It's not easy.
                          Please check out my Christmas Blog at www.12daysofjesus.blogspot.co.nz


                          • #14
                            I would first wonder how they got on the team in the first place if they are tone deaf.. And I'd find somewhere else for them to serve.. Lights maybe?

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