Think back to the first time you practiced with your worship team. The musicians you had looked up to are now right in front of you, casually getting their station set up, easily engaged in conversation while setting up the most complex pedalboard you have ever seen. As an acoustic guitar player, you fumble to get your guitar out, realize you left your favorite pick in the car, and all the while wondering if your capo is cool enough to hang with this crowd….
Being new to a worship team can be absolutely terrifying! Yet I’ll be the first to admit that as a 20 year, dare I say, worship team veteran, I often forget how nerve-racking it is to be new, not to mention how confusing and downright overwhelming musical equipment and jargon can be!
How do we bridge the gap as a team, making sure no one is terrified on a weekly basis? Glad you asked!
If you’re newer… get to practice early, stay late, and ask lots of questions! Write down terms and gear you don’t understand…
If you’re newer… get to practice early, stay late, and ask lots of questions! Write down terms and gear you don’t understand, and find a teammate willing to help clear up any confusion.
If you’ve been on the team awhile, become the kind of mentor you either had or wished you had when you first joined the worship team! When the new teammate needs help, explain enthusiastically, show them kindly, and celebrate with them as they begin to understand!
So, what categories of musical equipment and terms often create gaps in team members understanding? Below are a few of those items I remember initially staring blankly at.
Show new team mates how to turn their mic on and off. It’s the seemingly simple stuff that is nerve racking!
What about mic technique? Try setting up opportunities for them to go to the front of house and listen to what they sound like through the speakers. Singing on a mic is like learning a new instrument. Cultivate time for singers to grow with a microphone in hand.
DI Boxes, XLR Cables (mic cables), and Instrument Cables
Nearly every musician on the team will need to understand the uses, differences, and how to plug in most of these items. Show newer musicians how this equipment works, and assure them they won’t get shocked! I don’t know how many newer musicians I’ve come across who were genuinely concerned they would be electrocuted if they unplugged an instrument cable from a DI box!
Stage Floor Boxes and the Snake
Who on your team is ready to understand how the instruments on stage connect to the board in the back? Who is eager and ready to learn how to get the team plugged in right for practice? If that’s you, ask to learn!
I love me some planning center, but I didn’t get all its glories at first! Have you shown the team how to really maneuver around within the platform? Do they know how to access the YouTube video’s, mp3’s, and charts you’ve meticulously added to each song? Do they know they can ask you for alternate key charts? Do they know when the set-list for the week is finalized so that they can start practicing?
Why X, Y, or Z?
Does your team know how to soundcheck and what the sound tech needs during that time? Do they know why you use a metronome/click? How about rehearsals? Do new members know what the leader expects from them when they show up to practice?
These are just a few of the areas and items I could remember being legitimately intimidated by at first! But how exciting is it to think that as we serve to bridge these gaps for our team, we not only set up an environment of undistracted worship, but give our team the tools to continue to step confidently into their calling. We may just give a few of them the tools to replace us in a few years and that’s a beautiful thing!