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Advice Requested: Church Worship Team


Warthog

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Hi, Guys (and Gals),

I have an issue. I have been playing on my church's worship team for about 4 months now. I was asked to play when a previous guy left. Here's the problem:

 

There are usually 2 acoustic guitars, a bass, and an electric. One acoustic is me and the other is a high school kid who's a good player. The problem is that the son (10 years old) of one of the singers (a guy) is learning to play guitar. He plays a little 3/4 Harmony acoustic that sounds awful even when it's in tune. At first I thought it was cute when he'd show up to practice and I thought it was cool when he played on our "All Church Family Worship" days, when even the kids are in the service and the music is kid-oriented (really easy, basic, kids songs). But now, the kid plays every Sunday and his Dad doesn't seem to notice that he sounds really bad and is taking away from the nice sound me and the other guy have. He's also a really bossy little kid and plays loudly while the worship leader is insructing. I've stopped him many times becasue I couldn't hear the instruction coming from the leader. Anthow, my solution has been to stop playing, not because I'm mad, but because there are already 2 guitars and a bass in addition to the youngster. I'm not so miffed with the boy as with his dad as I feel it's inappropriate to inject him into the mix and not supervise/direct his son. If it was a real band I'd speak my mind, but in a church setting it's about worship and not my feelings. Am I handling this wrongly by just sitting out and not saying anything as to why? The only time I play now is when I'm specifically asked to. At those times my only solution has been to turn up my own volume to drown-out the racket (the boy is not plugged-in, but plenty annoyingly loud).

 

Thanks for the help.

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I'd still take part and keep playing. Try, along with the band leader, to be a mentor for him in the band since his parents obviously aren't. Sharing your expertise with a beginner could really help him along.

quote:Originally posted by mdrs:

 

It's pure B.S., and obvioulsy inaccurate. I suspect it is posted for effect, not for accuracy.

 

John Petrucci > Johnny Winter

The Edge > Ted Nugent

Guitar One Mag > Guitarplayer

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Quite a predicament I can see. If I had to deal with this, I'd simply crank up the Les Paul and put the little meatball in his place.

 

I don't have any solutions here. If the rest of the band isn't really saying anything, I don't know what you can do.

 

You could get to know him and teach him a few things but there is that "bossy" attitude you're talking about. It sounds like he needs to do pushups until he loses his lunch but oh... that's right, this is church.

 

I say take the issue up with your bandleader.

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I go along with RC212V (i)and9/i) Hardtail. The kid needs to be put in his place, but it's not your job to do it. The worship leader needs to talk to the kid's father about it, and then they both need to sit down with the kid and let him know that what he is doing is not helping worship. IF that doesn't get the kid on the right track, the worship leader needs to let the kid know that he is only to play when asked, and not every Sunday.

One thing I am not sure about from reading your post is how you left the team. Did you approach the leader and explain what your problem was, or did you just leave?

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

 

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That is a tough one. One reason I haven't volunteered at our church is because I know church bands have a bad rap for having notoriously bad/unskilled player and I don't ever want ours to be looked at that way because of me.

 

You do need to discuss it with the leader. Maybe he/she is looking for a reason to ask the kid to step down, too. Sometimes Christian love is setting boundries. Encourage him to keep playing/get lessons.

Raise your children and spoil your grandchildren. Spoil your children and raise your grandchildren.
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You guys are waaaayyyyy too nice. Speak up nicely to the dad, right in front of God and the whole world and explain it to him. Confrontation is fine. Just don't be angry and "in your face" like, but tell it like it is. Being a worship group, there should be the ability for the kid to play at certain events here and there and not destroy the regular events.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Originally posted by Bbach1:

You guys are waaaayyyyy too nice. Speak up nicely to the dad, right in front of God and the whole world and explain it to him. Confrontation is fine.

I was going to suggest going to suggest a smack across the back of the noggin' but people tend to get upset about that. :eek::D
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Originally posted by Hardtail:

Originally posted by Bbach1:

You guys are waaaayyyyy too nice. Speak up nicely to the dad, right in front of God and the whole world and explain it to him. Confrontation is fine.

I was going to suggest going to suggest a smack across the back of the noggin' but people tend to get upset about that. :eek::D
:D Yea, nothing like a good bonk on the back of the head to let your feelings out.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Originally posted by Warthog:

...instruction coming from the leader.

I know that church bands don't follow the same business dynamics as a club band...

...but you guys have a leader...it's his responsibility to get the best out of the band.

 

Does he not hear the kid's bad playing...or is this one of those "it doesn't matter how you play, God still loves you" kind of church bands...?

 

If you make the issue personal...it will come off egocentric.

It is the bandleader that needs to step up to the plate and straighten things out.

 

I would casually and tactfully (don't make it a BIG issue) discuss the situation with the bandleader off-line...and see where his feelings lie.

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Originally posted by miroslav:

Does he not hear the kid's bad playing...or is this one of those "it doesn't matter how you play, God still loves you" kind of church bands...?

Maybe God loves bad guitar playing... there certainly is enough of it. LOL! :D:eek:
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I would absolutely suggest speaking to the music director or group leader and explain to him (her) that the kid is affecting the quality of the music and that he's just not ready to play in that sort of setting yet. Let him do his job, then let dad do his.

 

I would, however, make sure to invite him to play on one or two pieces once a month or so. I would choose several pieces that are with reach for him and spend a little time with him every week either before or after the service to teach him to play his parts properly and show him how to practive them. I would make it abundantly clear that you and the other guitarist choose when and what he plays. That way everyone can benefit and you can keep the peace.

 

I certainly understand your frustration...church is probably the only place I would excercise that sort of tact and restraint...I'm not always the most tactful bloke around...especially when people insist upon inflicting themselves and their spawn where they aren't wanted.... ;) Sometimes people don't realize that not everyone is as enamored with their brats as they are. However, in this case, I think you can actually help the kid. It sounds like this situation is more dad's fault than the kid's....

"And so I definitely, when I have a daughter, I have a lot of good advice for her."

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I think there are some steps you can take without really stepping on anyone's toes.

 

If the guitar is just not playable because it can't stay in tune or has poor intonation, you can certainly point this out. If it goes out of tune due to bad tuning machines or needs a luthier to look at it or whatever you and the other guitarists should all give the guitar a once over in a freindly way.

 

If he is squeezing chords out of tune because of tension in his hand or just plain is playing poorly, then you and the other guitarists should take the kid under your "wings" and teach him what he needs to participate. I was taught my first bass guitar lessons by a band that wanted me to play bass for them, learning early on in the specific context of a band or playing situation from people more experienced is a great way to learn.

 

Having three acoustic guitars and one electric plus a bass guitar is a whole lotta guitars. I'd say some really interesting arranging could be done so that the guitars blend and compliment each other instead of just all droning along with the same open G chord. This would also be a chance to arrange parts for the kid that avoid problem areas or problem chords on his guitar-- I'm ASSuMing that his guitar isn't set up well and sounds out of tune on it's share of chords. Finding what works on the guitar until the kid gets a better guitar would probably help make the music sound better and reel him in a bit.

 

Lastly, when everyone in the church resents you for squashing this kids hopes and dreams: you can always join another church. :D I'm kidding, I think you can make improvments in the kid's participation and in the overall sound of the band without stepping on any toes. Arranging the five guitars (electric, three acoustics, and bass guitar) so that they: are all in different parts of the sonic spectrum, have space so that when one of you start playing or stop is a function of the song's development and not just "all guitars all the time" kind of thing, and creating interesting and different kinds of parts that blend together and make a more interesting song.

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I was in a church choir for years and had that problem on and off with many people. One in particular was a 12 year old that joined with his parents. He could play but was apt to overplay most of the time. I would talk to him nicely about picking his spots when to show off, and he took the advice most of the time.

 

I am glad I didn't try to discourage him too much. He ended up being a fantastic musician. He wrote songs and became a regional hit with a substantial folowing. He then got signed and had a minor national hit and I have seen him on network TV. He says that I had a positive influence on him which I never really thought about, but people at that age are easily influenced so you always have to think about what you say.

 

There are always going to be people in church choirs that are there for there own glorification. I have to admit at times that I wanted to show my abilities, its hard to keep that in check. Just remember the reasons you are there, you are supposed to be leading the congregation in song. I had a great group of friends in that choir and that was more important than how good we sounded.

 

There is nothing wrong with talking this out, you still want to sound good. Talk to the kid nicely, sometimes it takes awhile for things to sink in. Talk to the choir director, he should have some authority, but don't try to make it a negative issue. You can talk to his parents if they are receptive, just emphasise that group sound is important. Don't get into a competition though, it just isn't worth it.

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You could always try and give the kid some pointers :idea:

 

Telling his dad he sucks is fine and dandy.. but letting the kid know what he could be working on to improve his part in the service would be the christian thing to do IMO ;)

 

Surely its all about love, sharing and togetherness right? I would let him be a part of it, but let him know how to do it right.

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I would add that being in a Christian band does not mean keeping quiet when something is not right....if the music sounds bad....there are others who probably think so as well. Start with the worship/bandleader...bring him your concerns. If he addresses them, great....if not....then you're more certain of what kind of band you are dealing with, and act accordingly.

 

Just because its a volunteer band doee not mean it shouldn't be good.

"Sometimes it's easier to buy gear than to practice..."
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Originally posted by Gruupi:

There is nothing wrong with talking this out, you still want to sound good. Talk to the kid nicely, sometimes it takes awhile for things to sink in. Talk to the choir director, he should have some authority, but don't try to make it a negative issue. You can talk to his parents if they are receptive, just emphasise that group sound is important. Don't get into a competition though, it just isn't worth it.

So, the smacking the back of the head thing is out? :eek::D
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Definitely pray about it. There's a reason behind everything, whether or not we can see it now, but just trust that God knows what he's doing.

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I'm assuming you're speaking of the base chapel, and not a church outside the gate. When I was at Osan, the chapel had a great music program. I'm sure they still do. You really need to treat this in a "chain of command" sort of way. Approach the father first. If he ignores you, take it up with the worship leader. If he ignores you, take it up with the chaplain, then the senior chaplain if necessary.

 

I guarantee you there are members in the congregation who feel the same way you do. But they certainly aren't going to approach the worship leader. They would feel too embarassed to do so. In the meantime, they are "putting up" with and NOT fully enjoying the worship experience as they should. It's sort of like trying to relax at home and you have that annoying barking dog next door. Folks certainly can't connect with God during worship if there's an annoyance trying to lead them into worship. It's like, "Thank God that's over with, now let's get to the message!". But, it shouldn't be that way. I believe you're in a position to "speak for the people". The kid will get over it, and the worship will once again become worship .

 

Peace :thu:

"Treat your wife with honor, respect, and understanding as you live together so that you can pray effectively as husband and wife." 1 Peter 3:7

 

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Well...if you take it through many levels in the chain of command...you really run the risk of looking silly.

 

You know...

...a grown adult complaining about a little kid who's trying to get involved.

 

I still think the music director/leader is the one to approachoffline and unofficially.

Let him work the issue...though if he disagrees with you...you should just drop it and move on.

 

Feuding with a kid over guitar playing is the last thing you want to get involved in....

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Originally posted by BiC:

I'm assuming you're speaking of the base chapel, and not a church outside the gate. When I was at Osan, the chapel had a great music program. I'm sure they still do. You really need to treat this in a "chain of command" sort of way. Approach the father first. If he ignores you, take it up with the worship leader. If he ignores you, take it up with the chaplain, then the senior chaplain if necessary.

 

I guarantee you there are members in the congregation who feel the same way you do. But they certainly aren't going to approach the worship leader. They would feel too embarassed to do so. In the meantime, they are "putting up" with and NOT fully enjoying the worship experience as they should. It's sort of like trying to relax at home and you have that annoying barking dog next door. Folks certainly can't connect with God during worship if there's an annoyance trying to lead them into worship. It's like, "Thank God that's over with, now let's get to the message!". But, it shouldn't be that way. I believe you're in a position to "speak for the people". The kid will get over it, and the worship will once again become worship .

 

Peace :thu:

The congregation can't connect with God because the kid doesn't play guitar very well?

quote:Originally posted by mdrs:

 

It's pure B.S., and obvioulsy inaccurate. I suspect it is posted for effect, not for accuracy.

 

John Petrucci > Johnny Winter

The Edge > Ted Nugent

Guitar One Mag > Guitarplayer

Slash > Carlton

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Originally posted by miroslav:

Feuding with a kid over guitar playing is the last thing you want to get involved in....

Disagree, especially if they kid just arrived on station.

 

There is an order and harmony that must be maintained during a worship service. If someone or something is disrupting that, it must be addressed and not simply overlooked. Once the kid is talented and mature enough to minister to the congregants, then he can. Until then, he first needs to learn his craft along with some manners.

 

It is my opinion that this kid is already being given "special favors" by even being allowed to play with the worship band, i.e.- because "daddy" is a singer. That blame lies on the worship leader for allowing it.

 

Unless they are a prodigy, I've never seen a 10-year old on a worship team. Have you, or anyone else here that goes to church??? And I'm not talking about a "kid's choir", which does have its time and place.

 

Keep in mind, whether you are a Christian or not, this is sacred worship we are talking about, and not just a "jam session".

 

It needs to be dealt with and not ignored for the sake of orderly worship which is priority in any worship service.

 

At any rate, perhaps the kid and his family will be PCS'ing soon.

 

For you civis- that's Permanent Change of Station, which means when your tour is up and you move on.

"Treat your wife with honor, respect, and understanding as you live together so that you can pray effectively as husband and wife." 1 Peter 3:7

 

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Originally posted by RC212V:

 

The congregation can't connect with God because the kid doesn't play guitar very well?

It's not "very well" we are talking about, it's "aweful". There is a difference.

 

For folks who go to a church that has contemporary worship, worship prepares the heart & soul, ushering the worshipper into the presence of God. It is a very special time for the worshipper to reflect upon what God has done for them and give Him praises in return. If there is any sort of annoyance during that time, it could very well have a negative affect.

 

If you do not attend a church of this kind, then I'm sorry you would not understand what I am talking about.

 

Worship music is to the Protestant what the Eucharist is to the Catholic. I've been both, so that's the best way I can sum it up.

 

I hope this helps.

"Treat your wife with honor, respect, and understanding as you live together so that you can pray effectively as husband and wife." 1 Peter 3:7

 

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OK thanks for explaining all that.

quote:Originally posted by mdrs:

 

It's pure B.S., and obvioulsy inaccurate. I suspect it is posted for effect, not for accuracy.

 

John Petrucci > Johnny Winter

The Edge > Ted Nugent

Guitar One Mag > Guitarplayer

Slash > Carlton

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Originally posted by BiC:

That blame lies on the worship leader for allowing it.

That's what I've been saying all along...that it's the leader's responsibility to fix things.

 

For one guitar player to be complaining about another one (especially a little kid)...it can come of petty and silly, and appear egocentric.

 

You have to wonder...is anyone else annoyed....and why are they not saying anything?

And yeah...it's NOT a real band/jam session...it's a volunteer group whose purpose is not to have a performance competition...but to support the worship service.

 

I think a lot of folks already agree that most worship bands are made up of some lesser players, as there is NO audition process applied in most cases.

 

I know I few musicians that play in worship groups...

...and there's always someone complaining about another's playing...

...too loud...too soft...bad chops...lousy equipment...etc.

 

It's quite amusing to me! :D

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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