Praise Teams – Do Your Homework and Play Skillfully!
I’ve played at churches where praise team members wouldn’t take home their instruments or practice. In some cases these players were paid professionals! One player or vocalist, who fails to skillfully do his or her part, affects the sound and consistency of the entire team.
Psalm 33:3 – Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.
Christian Recording Artist, Songwriter, and Music Director John Waller offered his insight for self-analysis, which music directors should consider before taking such a position. I think this is applicable toward praise team members as well.
In the words of John Waller, “You need to determine, ‘Am I gifted to lead people into worship, and do I have a gifting to sing? Is music something I’m naturally gifted at, whether I ever learn to read sheet music, or the technical aspects of music? Is it naturally the desire of my heart, and something God is calling me to do?’”
The point is why have you decided to join a praise team? Even if everyone else on the team, including the music director settles for mediocrity, you should not. It is for the purpose of Christ and His kingdom. To be a part of a praise team is fun. Have fun, but be mindful that you are part of the experience for the congregation. It is not all about us as musicians and vocalists. Never take for granted the importance of leading worship for God!
Vocalists, take the time to learn your harmony parts, and learn the phrasings. Three vocalists all starting a phrase with different timing, or just missing a word creates a looseness which may not be obvious to the congregation, but takes away from the song. I learned long ago, if a performer is bad, you notice the performer; if he or she is good, you notice the performance. It brings those magical moments where people worship and praise.
Here is a tip for a multiple guitarist– communicate with the other guitar players so everyone executes a specific part, and no one is playing over one another. Add a capo to your guitar on songs which only require one simplistic rhythm. The capo will offer a different voicing and complement the song better. Work on your guitar tone, and learn how to apply guitar effects tastefully.
Bass players, please don’t follow the guitar chord charts and rhythm throughout each song. Learn the bass parts and concentrate on locking in with the drummers kick drum.
Drummers, study the song well enough to know all the breaks and set the proper tempo.
No matter how long you have been playing, there is always room for improvement. Do your homework, no matter how many times you played the same songs.
Never take for granted the opportunity God has granted you to serve!