11 Deadly Sins of the Worship Team, Part 5
By Jon Nicol
When it comes to the last five deadly sins we’ve discussed, they all contributed directly to the first transgression: creating a blob of sound.
The next two sins deal more with preparation and skill development.
#7 – Practicing at Rehearsals (and Re-Rehearsing at Sound-Checks)
If you’ve been hanging around me for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me say, “practice is personal, rehearsal is relational.”
Practice involves learning a song:
- learning your part
- creating a part
- getting intimate with the form
This all needs to be done on your time. If you fail to practice your stuff and then come to rehearsal expecting to learn it, you’ll now be taking from my time, and the rest of the team’s time.
I can’t tell you how guilty of this sin I’ve been over the years. I’ve naturally got a “wing it” personality and a decent ability on guitar. That’s a bad combination. Too often I’ve come into rehearsal and not known my stuff.
And for leaders, our stuff is not just the part we’re singing or playing on our instrument. Our's is also the leadership and planning we bring to the service. When we don’t “practice” that, we end up robbing our volunteer’s time.
This is big reason why it feels like the team re-rehearses everything on Sunday morning. When an individual on the team spends the rehearsal trying to learn her part, she’s not engaged in the process of creating and rehearsing the whole song and the flow of the whole set. So then Sunday morning warm-up becomes a re-hashing of all the changes, segues, dynamics, etc. that the team worked on in rehearsal.
If you want to dig deeper into curbing this sin, read the series I wrote for WorshipMinistry.com, Quit Practicing At Rehearsals. You can also listen/watch an on-demand webinar I taught called “Creating a Culture of Preparation.”
The next sin relates to practice, too.
Our personal practice doesn’t just involve learning the songs for Sunday. I need to be investing in my instrument and growing as a musician.
A great way to keep fresh is to learn your instrument’s part from the original recording. Even if you aren’t following that arrangement exactly, the exposure to a different style/approach can open up a new world of playing for you.
One of the biggest kick in the pants for me as a lead guitar player was having some young students on the youth team just explode in their ability on guitar. They’d come in having learned new riffs and lead parts to songs that put my “old standbys” to shame. It motivated me to sharpen the tools in my box.
Most of my team is NOT made up of 15 year olds with plenty of discretionary time. They’re busy people with families and jobs who are not going to woodshed every day to hone their chops. So I’ve challenged my team (and myself) to think monthly and yearly when it comes to ongoing skill development.
I encourage them to choose one thing to further their musicianship each month: watch a video, practice a certain skill, do a “one-off” lesson with a private instructor, etc.
Then once a year, I ask my team to attend some sort of training event like Christian Musician Summit. That’s a tall order for volunteers - both in cost and time off work. So I’ll also look for more local events and promote them. When those are plentiful, I’ll schedule my own instrument-specific training events for my team.
And even though I go into other churches and do training, I always try to bring in outside voices, even if it’s just a DVD.
My team hears me enough.
So there are the two sins of preparation. Anyone got any other preparation-related sins we should talk about?
How have you dealt with team members who don’t practice and progress?
post graphic derived from Stock.xchng, thanks Margus Saluste
May 22, 2012Tweet