The year is 1984, and George Orwell’s dystopian future has not come to pass. A 50-year old musician’s career has reached an all-time low. A song he is about to write, rooted in a word that is thousands of years old, will rise like a phoenix from his creative ashes – flying right into the popular consciousness of a generation.
He is sitting on the floor of his hotel room in New York City, clad in only his underwear, with numerous lyric-filled notebooks strewn around him. He is banging his head on the floor as he struggles to complete a song for which he has 80 draft verses; a song that has been stuck inside him for at least two years.
The vocals in a worship band are an instrument, and when played well, musically, and in intentional connection with the rest of the music the band is making – can lift the worship experience in a local church to some beautiful heights. Here are 10 Best Practices for Worship Vocalists I’ve gleaned from many effective leaders, arrangers, and producers over the years that will help take the vocal instruments in your band to the next level.
These best practices are in no particular order, and are not meant to be exhaustive, but all of them are a bit of a “constellation” of good listening and heart habits that work together. They also don’t all focus on singing, as worship has to do with both heart and skill expressed in a band environment.
A worship rehearsal is about to happen. Band members begin to roll in, to get set up for downbeat time. As they come in the door, the worship leader is there, already set up and prepared, ready to help them bring in gear. Sounds crazy? Maybe.
Simple phrases like “Thanks for coming,” “How was the zoo you call an office today?” and “Here are your (correct) charts… oh, and a bottle of water” are heard. The stage is generally cleaned up, and lights and sound are live. After a brief prayer, the rehearsal starts, and moves quickly with laughter and friendship. That’s the first scenario. Maybe that sounds like overkill to you. Or maybe you relate more to the second (like I often do).
As a resourcer, I find it very helpful to know what posts seemed to “hit the mark” for us most in the past year. Some of my most ‘viewed’ posts (not always ‘read’ I’m sure) were a surprise to me – on topics such as Volume, Sound, Vocals, Gmail Hacks, and more.
Seeing the trends helps me serve us all better with helpful tools as 2015 comes, and gives me some insight into what is connecting as I write each week.
Many of us have been part of a worship community where worship leaders, musicians, sound techs, and visual techs have interacted for years. Every worship community has a “relational climate,” a tone of interacting that (eventually) dramatically influences both the worship experience of the church and the Body Life of the worship community. From my experience, especially during rehearsals, we could all use a Manners 101 course.
When Susie has stress in her eyes, and JimBob is wrestling with some hidden anger, it changes the music.
Having watched some great teams in relational motion for years (and enjoying the dynamics of our own worship community) here are 5 ways we can show some manners – and lift our church’s worship experience.