In our last article, we discussed the first 4 crucial steps in getting a youth worship team up and running in your church or ministry. (Yes, it can really happen!)
Step 1 was all about booking your first worship event. We suggested this as your first step, because once you have a goal to work toward, everything else will follow.
Step 2 was choosing your 3 song worship set (we provided some great song ideas), keeping the songs simple. *Remember, you want a great first event!
Step 3 was auditioning your singers to determine who will be leading which songs, so that you can get the material to the band members (whether male or female keys).
Very important: Once you have determined which songs (and keys of songs) for your first worship event, the next crucial step is to make an mp3 audition audio file of the 3 songs in order, with the exact arrangements desired. Digitally pitch (if needed) each song to the correct performance key, with little to no space in between each song. This makes it easier for the band to memorize the order of the set list, and also trains them how to come in to the next song with little or no dead time. Transitions between songs are very important!
*** TECH TIP:
Do a mono mixdown of each song, then pan the audio to the left. Next, add in a click track, panning it to the right side. This allows the students to turn down the music side of the audio file so that they hear mostly click and just a little of the original song, or vice versa. It’s like a glorified metronome with the arrangements attached to it. (Practicing with a metronome is crucial, and creates great groove and feel in a musician, as well as training them to play with a click track on any worship team that may require that). You can produce these audio files, as well as pitching your songs, in many digital work stations including Cubase, Garage Band, etc. This audition audio file is an amazing tool for the students to practice to. Any of these software programs will allow them to create loops of a desired section of a song that they may be struggling with. This tool will maximize their study time by being able to loop (repeat) those sections over and over without touching a button. If your student doesn’t have Garage Band, Audacity is a free program for Windows or Mac that will allow them to do this as well. YouTube offers tutorials on how to loop an audio file or any desired section of a song in Audacity or Garage Band.
On the band audition day (1-2 weeks before your worship event), audition all of your students with this same audio file, because it really lets you hear how accurate (or not) they are playing. During the audition, you should have a note pad, taking notes per song, and scoring each song to determine if they will pass the audition for that month’s worship event. If they don’t pass, we recommend giving them the option of one extra audition, using the notes that you took from their audition to help them hone in on what parts they need to practice to pass their audition. If they still do not pass with the extra audition, there is always next month’s worship event (remember: one event per month). Try to encourage them to keep pushing ahead in their studies. We do not recommend passing them when they are not musically ready.
We do ear training with all of our students, and challenge them to pick out the parts that they hear on the original recording, not just reading a pop/lyric chord chart.
*** MUSIC TIP:
We do ear training with all of our students, and challenge them to pick out the parts that they hear on the original recording, not just reading a pop/lyric chord chart. We encourage them to hear the notes, hum the notes that they hear, and then find them on their instrument. It could be a simple one note guitar line, string line, etc, but if played can really add a cool sound to the mix and will get your team to sound more produced like the original recording. Also, we train their ears to not just listen to parts, but instrument tones (what type of guitar patch, what sound on the keyboard, etc). You don’t want to them to play a synth riff (which could be a major part of the song) with a piano sound… ugh!
On your first group rehearsal for your event, if at all possible, make sure that you do this rehearsal in the same room that you will be performing your event in. This way you can make all of your adjustments to sound, stage plot, etc. You do not want to deal with this on the day of the event (especially with a large worship team).
May God bless you as you pour into the next generation of worshipers!