Worshipping God with music is both a spiritual and a technical activity. The technical dimension of worship has to do with blending together seamlessly what the community accepts as a true musical experience without distracting them from the focus of worship, God.
The worship team comprises of four groups of people.
- The Music Team
- The Sound Team
- The Pastoral Team
- The Congregation
Two of these groups, music team and sound team have primary responsibilities with pre-requisite attitude, skills and knowledge.
The music team
The music team is responsible for the following:
- Interacting with the congregaton during the worship service
- Choosing appropriate music and songs to help the congregation and themselves express their worship
- Performing these songs in a manner and style and at a pace that is true to the experience being supported and facilitated
- Ensuring the performance is acceptable to the congregation as a true musical experience without being distracting or calling attention to itself.
This means every show of musicianship must be motivated by the authentic worship experience of the musician and/or congregation and not merely out of the need to display proficiency or skill.
This is the greatest challenge for musicians. The ability to find the balance between a performance that calls attention to itself and a performance that is truly motivated by an expression of worship; motivated by a deep respect for the privilege to be in a position to facilitate through music, other people’s expression of worship.
Think of a movie, if the camerawork calls so much attention to itself, it doesn’t mean the cameraman is not very skillful, actually, it might mean that he or she is! But it does mean your attention will be distracted away from the movie story and thus the question is what was the purpose of the movie… to tell you an engaging story or to show case the cameraman’s skills?…
When musicians understand this fine line between performance and showmanship, the music team is on its way to leading effective worship every time!
In order to address the above, the music team requires the following knowledge, skills and attitude
- Music production skills: How to work the communicative elements of music in the construction of a musical experience
- What to rehearse and how to rehearse and who should be at rehearsals
- Worship team and sound team should be at rehearsals, especially the FOH engineers.
- Team building jam sessions serve to improve communication between the worship team members and also between the worship team and the FOH Engineer
- Jam sessions also increase the worship leader’s/team’s repertoire of songs which facilitates the intuitive and unrehearsed selection of appropriate music/songs during actual worship sessions
- The important difference between practicing and rehearsing
- How to practice for slow songs and rehearse fast songs in worship
- And much more
- Stage presence and Performance for the musicians, backup singers and lead singer
- The importance of stage layout and stage appearance
- The focus of attention: directing the congregation’s focus appropriately
- How musicianship and performance enhance the worship experience and how it can be an obstacle
- The acceptable proficiency and competency levels for technically acceptable performance – music can be distracting because of skillful performance that draws attention to itself or unskillful performance which by default will draw attention to itself.
The sound team
The sound team is responsible for the following:
- Ensuring the congregation can hear every nuance and balance in the music produced by the worship team
- Ensuring the Sound team is as unobtrusive as possible so as to reduce the element of distraction created when the technical aspects of music production call undue attention to themselves
- Ensuring the interpretation of the music produced by the worship team is accurate from the perspective of the congregation. This comes up because, often, what the congregation is listening to and what the worship team can hear are two different things and the sound team is the middle man ensuring consistency
The skills required by the sound team include:
- Technical and operational knowledge of equipment paradigms with specific proficiency and competency in existing church equipment brands and models
- Technical knowledge of basic interconnection, system configuration and equipment setup principles and techniques
- Efficient and effective setup troubleshooting skills
- Acute hearing abilities to be able to make technical decisions about the nature and quality of sound heard
- Creative awareness of the technical aspects of sound in worship to be able to make creative decisions about the appropriate use of the sound crafting technologies to enhance the worship team’s performance
- Lots more