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Is your praise band in the middle or to the side?

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  • Is your praise band in the middle or to the side?

    Hey all!

    Our church had it's praise band scrunched to the side of the worship center, which always felt funny to me. A few months ago we moved the praise team to the middle. You could imagine that it made some people mad, but many people didn't care. We feel this has both engaged the congregation in worship a little better and helped with some sound issues we were having. Our worship center is pretty wide (seating 700, 4 sections) so being put to the side felt like you're only leading one section of people. The middle feels like were engaging the whole congregation. As for sound, our monitors would bounce off our side walls so being in the middle helps.

    Where is your praise band placed? Do you get slack for being in the middle? Do you agree it should be to the side?

  • #2
    It never ceases to amaze me the kind of silly things that will set people off and get them upset when it comes to changes in worship services.
    The Posse Band live performance tracks can be heard by CLICKING HERE

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    • #3
      Our band has the worst setup you can imagine, we are not only crunched to the side, but play on an area with 2 leading ceramic tiled steps, we stand on the top, but our amps and music stands go on the steps. This makes is so you can hardly hear you amps because they are facing a "wall" step. We grew in members and at times we were encroaching the middle, the pastor in a friendly matter complained we were taking up his space, so we crunch to the side.

      I have played in other places that are a lot more friendly to musicians and it is a pleasure.

      Mike.
      Miguel.

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      • #4
        Our praise band is also on the side. It works ok to play music but not to connect with the congregation. There is a worry that the band will be too much a centerpiece and bring attention to it rather than God. That is not our intent. If it was best to communicate Jesus on the side, our pastor would also preach on the side, but he doesn't.
        In a couple of weeks we will be experimenting in the middle for weekend worship. There may be some complaints, but we'll see what happens.

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        • #5
          We are spread across the whole stage. Part of that is because we have a short stage and there isn't room so we have to go wide.

          We set ourselves up in a half-moon shape of sorts. Meaning we all turn slightly towards the middle. That helps us have line-of-sight to the leader and each other (like you might see with a brass band or orchestra) and it looks more focused.

          One thing we can get real good at in church is creating a bunch of artificial boundaries based on superficial notions. Having a band in the middle does not make it about the band. Now if the band has a bunch of smoke and lights, doing Chuck Berry duck walks and all that, it's about the band.

          If anything it can actually help bring focus on God. If your team is leading by example, playing and singing in a worship spirit, as the congregation sees them worship (like when the singers raise hands, etc.) it helps prompt the whole congregation to get more engaged- not just one side.

          As far as change goes, there will be some that gripe no matter what you do. And there are always a few in the crowd that view the praise team as a side-show background thing that should be tucked away all neat and tidy in the corner. There isn't anything you can do about that. You can't let these 2% that are a "belly-ache Betty" have that much influence.
          If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

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          • #6
            Our worship team is spread across the entire platform (approx. 15'dx30w' feet). We have an 18" back riser that spans the entire length of the platform. On the riser are 1-2 guitars stage right, drums in middle, bass and percussion on stage left. Front row is the keyboard on stage left, myself (on acoustic) slightly off center to the left, our (2-3) singers are to my right and one more guitar is on far stage right. When worship ends an usher will slide the the preaching podium to front and center as the Pastor and his wife come to the platform to open with prayer, the worship team departs quietly at the end of that prayer. A few years ago the former pastor liked to have the curtain drawn before he preached, so as the worship ended someone would close the curtain and the keyboard was the only instrument in front of the curtain for end of service music/altar call.

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            • #7
              When we came to our current church, we were asked to transition them to a more blended contemporary style. They only had a cheap electric piano on the floor to lead with, so when we added a band a year later, we used the entire platform. Yes, there were complaints, but when they saw their church growing more than it had in years, the complaints got softer and softer. I would ask the complainers why being in the middle is such and issue for them. Sometimes you can end a complaint when they feel they are being considered and listened to, even if it means they don't get their way. With 4 sections, being off to the side doesn't make sense, and if it is a historical reason for the placement, you should have reasons why you feel it is better in the center. If it is a "prideful, showy" reason, win them over with quality worship that point to God and not yourself. Whether we are aware of it or not, everyone on the platform is leading someone in the congregation. Even drummers! Being seen as worshippers and not just musicians will reach people the pastor and worship leader cannot. BTW, encroaching on the pastors "space" could be considered idol worship. Our platform was an afterthought when they built it, so it is short and deep, so in order to lead effectively, we come forward as close to the congregation as possible, and move stands back before the prayer time and sermon so the Pastor can preach from the center, with few areas of blockage. It is important to not be defensive when addressing complaints, and be submissive to leadership if they want you back on the side even after you've explained your reasonings to them. That way, you don't lose your witness and ability to effectively lead them in worship, but also, they may see for themselves the better way to lead a congregation from your perspective. It's hard to find fault with a nice person!

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              • #8
                Thank you all for the comments! Encouraging stuff! It is very difficult to make everyone happy (I'm glad that's not our goal!). Talking about idol worship- those who are concerned about the band being in the middle are more concerned about people standing in front of the alter and the candles on the alter (the alter and it's purpose against the cross is a whole other theological discussion). I feel the band being in the middle is so much more functional for two reasons- leading the congregation as a whole, and sound issues we were having (which some of you brought up). Again, I appreciate the feedback. This affirms we're headed in an okay direction!

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                • #9
                  In one church I attended, the singer was on one side of the stage and the band was on the other side of the stage.

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                  • #10
                    On the side...but we will be changing things up a bit after Easter
                    Love ONE woman...MANY guitars!

                    www.davidsproblem.wordpress.com

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                    • #11
                      We're in the center ... really across the platform.

                      When I started as WL in September of 2013, things were a mess. There were cables everywhere ... a dangerous trip hazard ... and the former WL didn't want anyone else using the stage. We have a vibrant drama ministry, and I felt like this needed to change, so I set out to clean up the stage.

                      Now I'm in front, along with the other vocalists (usually 2 others, but we may go to 3). I've put the other instrumentalists on raised platforms behind us ... this allows the congregation to see them, and also allows the area between the front of the stage and the instrumentalists (about 15 feet of depth) that can be used by the drama team. The raised platforms also allow me to hide wires and equipment (the platforms are about a foot forward of the back wall, so gear can be tucked in there where no one can see it).

                      We then purchased a full drum surround by Clearsonic. This thing is amazing, a 360-degree surround, about 7 feet high, with a roof. It's ventilated, and it has sound absorption panels on the inside so the drummer doesn't lose his hearing. We measured sonic impression before and after the surround ... it's a 20 dB difference onstage. We mic the kit, and it sounds like a studio recording in the room. Absolutely amazing.

                      Finally, we removed all guitar amps and monitor speakers from the stage. Everyone is on in-ear monitoring and floor-type Pods for guitars. It can be a difficult adjustment for musicians, but it makes ALL the difference in the house sound. No muddiness, no unwanted reflections off the back wall. Our band sounds absolutely fantastic, even though we play exactly as we did before.

                      Our pastor used to preach from a special thrust stage because the main stage was such a disaster. He now preaches from the same stage. There's plenty of room, so why not?

                      I'm probably more pleased with the stage setup than anything else that's happened since I started. I'm not a neat freak, per se, but as they say ... cleanliness is next to godliness.
                      But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
                      Romans 5:8

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                      • #12
                        That's pretty much what we will be doing after Easter...except for the in ears. The PTB aren't quite ready to make that particular investment...yet
                        Love ONE woman...MANY guitars!

                        www.davidsproblem.wordpress.com

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Smitty View Post
                          That's pretty much what we will be doing after Easter...except for the in ears. The PTB aren't quite ready to make that particular investment...yet
                          It's definitely an investment, so it's good that your church leadership isn't taking it lightly. I wish they could hear the difference. It's absolutely astounding.

                          Also ... with the newest digital mixing boards, the need for outboard IEM systems such as Aviom has been virtually eliminated. Most of the good ones now come with Bluetooth monitoring. Download an app to your iPhone, pair up with the board, and you've got your own personal in-ear monitoring system. So as you consider investments, think about that. It has the added advantage of allowing you to liquidate your current board and put the funds toward the new one. That's what I'm hoping to do next year ... sell our current board AND the Aviom system ... it'll practically pay for the new board.

                          To dovetail with that, I'm going to make a recommendation I never would have made two years ago. Look hard at Behringer's new digital boards. While Behringer has always been associated with cheap, bottom-rung gear, they have taken a huge step forward with the company's recent purchase of MIDAS. With MIDAS electronics inside, it's a whole new ballgame.
                          But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
                          Romans 5:8

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                          • #14
                            No worries, Bro...I have several Behringer pedals, and two of them currently live on my pedal board. I have compared them to lots of other pedals out there...side by side...the works. Some of their stuff is absolutely great, and some...not so much.

                            I will happily share with my leadership your suggestions...and thanks!
                            Love ONE woman...MANY guitars!

                            www.davidsproblem.wordpress.com

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                            • #15
                              We upgraded our mixer to the Behringer x32 a little over a year ago and it has been so nice being able to handle my own monitor mix from my phone. When I came to this church in 2010 they were already using the all in-ear monitor mix (silent stage concept) though they still had acoustic drums with the shield up. However, about 2 years ago the church was gifted with a nice set of electronic drums that truly made us a silent stage. The sound man has no stage bleed to deal with. Being a 70/80's rocker it took me a long time to get used to all in-ear monitors. No amps on stage. All guitars running through various multi-effects pedals. Once in a while if I have the opportunity to lead at another church that has floor monitors that seems odd now, ha! By the way, when we purchased the Behringer I was concerned about the reputation of Behringer gear, but to date we've had no issues.

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