We’ve been presenting some live seminars recently under the title “50 tips to improve your worship team”. Inevitably we end up with about 150 tips and run out of time in delivering them. So we thought it might be a good idea to publish them her for wider discussion pm the blog. So here is the start of a new series that will cover:
Before we even start to play its worth thinking about where each of the instruments are placed. Most rock bands set up with the drummer at the back, lead singer in the middle and other players flanking each side. The looks great visually and is fine if you are well rehearsed but most worship bands are really based on making community music. I.e. the interactive involvement of the congregation actually changes the order, volume, tempo, sound etc of the songs used. This means the musicians primarily need to be able to see and hear each other to run with those changes on the fly. So here are some thoughts that might help:
Arrange yourselves where you can see each others eyes. You can communicate a lot just by eye and body movements. Its no good for a drummer if the primary view they get of the worship leader is the back of their head! We really struggled to find a photograph to illustrate good stage placement but the one above isn’t bad – see how the drummer is watching the keyboard playing worship leader.
Try placing the drum kit at the front and side of stage and rotate it 90 degrees so it faces inward to the rest of the musicians.
Experiment with arranging the other musicians in a semi circle so they can see each other too.
Split up instruments that produce sound in the same frequency range e.g. guitar and keys. Its so much easier to hear yourself if you are not competing with another sounds that plays in the same octave range.
Work on hearing each other acoustically before adding any foldback.
Place amps only towards the musicians that need to hear them, like drummers.
Try to position the whole band in the area in the building that best connects with the congregation. It can be anywhere, on a stage, in the round, whatever works best – just try to build a physical sense of all of us worshipping God communally together rather than a separated congregation and band.
Do you need to be on a stage at all? If so, too high or too low a platform can hinder comunication.
The whole band doesn’t have to face the congregation. As in tip 1 the priority is being able to gain eye contact with each other.
Don’t put equipment in positions that block sight lines between you and the congregation – e.g. mic and music stands at head and even chest level can seem like a barrier and can hinder visual communication. See Marie’s earlier rant on this topic.