Why is it that...?

Discussion in 'Worship Service Players' started by mrboson, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. mrboson

    mrboson Tele-Afflicted

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    I know that I have posts here that pick on the sound guys from time to time... what you might not know is that I am sometimes one of them (in my mind that give me license to be hard on them).

    I'm working a weekend music festival in a few days as the venue's stage monitor engineer, and the prep has gotten me thinkin'.

    As this is a ticketed event, patrons are paying $50 or something like that for a 2 day pass, bands are pro touring bands, as you can imagine there is a level of expectations that is, let's just say, different than your typical worship service. We get tech advance communications from each band, stage plots, specific request ("Our singers will use stereo IEMs, we appreciate the possibility for panning items in each mix"), etc. We've had plenty of advance time to pre-configure our desks with the info from each band. Set up, band transitions, and sound checks are expected to be smooth.

    Contrast that with the last worship event we did here in town. We do these every few months. During the times my church's band isn't playing, you might find me working sound. Ask in advance for band plots? Nothin'. Ask in advance if anyone is bringing IEMs? Nothin'. Ask in advance if anyone has any special backline needs. Nothin'.

    What the heck is it about church worship teams? What, just because we don't tour and get paid, we don't need to be organized? Yeah, so of course everyone shows up the night of the worship event and now they tell me about their IEMs, or brought eight vocalists and expected a handheld mic for each (I reserved inputs for an anticipated max of six). The best time was when one band brought their electronic drum kit when there was already a full acoustic kit provided, just bring your own cymbals. Dude insisted on his electronic kit anyway, so we have our ten minute changeover to move all the drum mic inputs to his kit controller. It wasn't working so I just said screw it and we only inputed his kick into the desk. The rest went into a spare keyboard amp.

    It all worked. But disorganized, stressful, and lots of "No, we aren't going to do that..." to questions asked during each band's setup. Next time send me a plot and tech advance a few days before, and it is easier to answer yes.

    This weekend will be fun. Sad thing is this secular event designed to get people buying and drinking a whole lotta beer from local breweries will be the "fun" one. The next worship event will be like a root canal. Glad next time my band is playing.... for that I have another complaint. I actually have a stage plot for my band and some good heads-up info about our gear and needs. The guy doing sound at the next worship event doesn't want it. Grrrr..... No wonder church players burn out and just go back to gigging.
     
  2. mRtINY

    mRtINY Tele-Afflicted

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    Problem with a lot of churches is that the sound engineer isn't any better than the average church musician. I don't know why ignorance and mediocrity are accepted (or seemingly desired sometimes...).

    I understand that people are volunteering and church music isn't about showing off. But, not doing the best you can always rubbed me the wrong way.

    How to fix it?


    -tINY
     
  3. bear04

    bear04 Tele-Holic

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    I don't know the answer.

    I know a bass player who plays his bass 2 or 3 times a year with almost no practicing in between except for the mandatory practice night before the service, sound people who want us to run our electric guitars direct with no amp modelers or effects, and elders who insist on getting up on stage and inviting anybody who wants to join in on worship to "c'mon out and join in; talent and ability is not an issue".

    I think the reason is because we are so self-conscious about the fact that worship music is not about us, our talent, or an excuse to put on a show that we go out of our way to completely avoid the premise of even looking somewhat "professional". So much so that mediocre skill and effort becomes the accepted norm. The accepted (and very true) answer is that it's for God, not for us, and He hears our hearts. The problem is, as worship leaders, although God hears our hearts the congregation hears our efforts. A bad sounding worship band makes it very hard for the congregation to enter into worship.

    Anyway, that's just my opinion. In the meantime, like you I look forward to playing with the blues band I am also a member of. It's the place I get my fill of "professionalism" for lack of a better word.
     
  4. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Tele-Holic

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    If I was paid to provide a technical design for an IT infrastructure by someone, I will provide them with a detailed technical design. Well, that's because I am an IT professional and I know what is required to make it work on a professional level. Try that with someone who kinda know how to build a PC. Point is, there are certain things that a professional would know due to the expertise required and experience acquired by doing something for a living.

    I say give the volunteers a break. Hey maybe some are IT pros that can help out :)
     
  5. rokdog49

    rokdog49 Friend of Leo's

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    Praise and Worship just ain't the place for "professionalism" even though many places own that.
    I personally find other ways to get my fix for performing in a better circumstance. Playing in a Praise Band is taking what you get and forgetting about the quality. Not sayin' don't try, just don't have high expectations.
     
  6. Jhengsman

    Jhengsman Tele-Holic

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    For most church bands this event will be the one time they ever play outside of their home church. Stage plot? They come to church and play on their church stage. Just saying a touring ministry will likely bring the same professionalism as the touring secular band. And the secular band/bar owner who only plays at his own business is likely to ask "stage plot?".
     
  7. mrboson

    mrboson Tele-Afflicted

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    I hear all you guys.

    Just was having a bit of a rant. Honestly, I don't take myself too seriously.

    But more and more I do find myself laughing at our feeble attempts at the parts of producing live music that go beyond plugging in an instrument and turning on a guitar amp. Somebody above mentioned a simple bar band not needing plots and tech advances. True. But on the flip side, every member of that bar band usually knows how to run mic cables, where to plug them into the little mixer, and how to get a simple mix going.

    Contrast that with a church stage: Bass player Joe: "Hey I grabbed one of those new hot spots out of the back room. I wasn't sure where to plug in, so I daisy chained off of that wedge over there. I don't know why, but it just started smoking."

    I know. Volunteers. We're all trying so hard. We get atta boys for just showing up.
     
  8. jb12string

    jb12string Tele-Afflicted

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    I feel you. I do part time work on occasion for a regional sound company, so I've learned what a "professional" band advance looks like and also how to advance a band that doesn't have an advance packet. Our worship band played a conference for a mission agency that is headquartered near us (I tell you, 150+ missionaries singing, nothing in the world like it), anyway, I took the time to advance a stage plot and input list to them, the guy who was my tech contact never gave it to the FOH engineer. Fortunately we were bringing an X32 with IEM's and they had an X32 Producer, and I am pretty familiar with the X32 family, so he didn't have to worry about house driven monitors and I could help him get his console set up (did I mention that he was a college student/intern? Nice guy but I think he might not have been totally comfortable). What drives me nuts at church is we have our "orchestra" play 1 Sunday a month. We use planning center online to schedule all the personnel for Sunday am services, and, invariably, people who weren't signed up show up and people who were signed up that show up, and don't forget the ones who show up after you've taken down the stuff you originally set up for them. [/rant]
     
  9. islander

    islander Tele-Meister

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    I agree wholeheartedly with your rant. And at the same time agree with everyone too.
    I agree that in church it is different because entry don't have the talent pool to draw from. But it doesn't allow us to sit and stay in the same place treading water. But we do operate with volunteers. And that is tough.
    To me, the missing ingredient is communication. Finding away to start a dialogue which honestly looks at where the church is and where it should be going . essentially Planning. It is godly, and part of worship. It is also the hardest thing to do. We avoid conflict and tough conversations and live in the status quo. But it takes perseverance and direction and patience to grow...

    It's part education. Learning how to do a musical style that fits and the parts that it requires is part and parcel of the package of creating music . Being able to evaluate who you have, their talents and abilities, then see about ways to improve, or use them in the best way for your situation, all while supporting them as they are volunteers.
    and it's not just modern music. Handel's Messiah is amazing, and you don't just pick it up and do it. And yet, we have created a culture which says it's okay to stay in the status quo. This culture is deep seated and I'm not sure I have the answer myself. I'm coming from a place of an amazing fit of music. And we are talking perfect. 4 touring professional musicians, leading worship with a simple set up ( entire PA was less than my personal gear on stage too, you don't always need the gadgets). The times of worship were pretty much cd quality(IMHO) , deep and pationate, but my personal faith walk didn't grow, it regressed. So I am not there anymore. And that is a long long story.
    I have just started the discussions with the church we have started attending about being involved in the music there. We have been attending for 8+ mnths. And I have a good sense of what is going on. I think my personal journey is back on track again and I think it will grow here. But the music... well it will be a challenge. Super out of pitch singing and out of time playing. But some super keyed up gear, which lots of gadgets. But they have some stellar people sitting in the wings who should be turned loose. People with talents and gifting far above what is out in front. The current leaders should continue to be involved, but the key is finding the way to draw them forward and keep them from hurt, while letting the people whom God gifted to use those talents. I believe a great unacknowledged trait of a leader is the ability to step aside and release with support, those gifted far beyond them.
    A piece of my personal story is that years ago I had grown in my connections in the music scene in an influential area to current to the time worship music. I was called away to a church which ended up having no musicians of any talent. But they had people of heart. The were in a hard place and I ministered there for 2 years. God provided the worship, and we survived and better grew. He provided fresh wind for some of the people there and they stepped up, he provides me with a friend who I was able to pour into and he ended up leading the music portion of the service before I was gone even. It took two years, but it started to happen. The culture there began to change. (Btw it also involved a few leadership changes over the time too)
    I do believe that there will be a place and time where I will start the conversation here in the new church I am at. Not right away, but as God opens the door to conversations, I am determined to discuss in honest and non judgmental ways areas to improve. I think that if history is an indicator, people will ask me for input. I think it takes those of us who know better to find the right way for each situation to draw people further in what they do and how they do it. But also leave it open for them to do it in their own way. Because each situation deserves it own unique evaluation and plan.... kind of like it's own stage set up, mix, etc.
    Just my 2 cents, plus a bit.somewhat on topic. But it struck a chord from my observations from my last month at this church.
     
  10. mRtINY

    mRtINY Tele-Afflicted

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    It's the apathy that gets me. While it's alright to not have great musicians, if they don't try to do a good job, it's an insult to God.

    Read that last line again.

    Sure, the focus of the performance is different. But, it's still a "show" if you are playing an instrument for people to sing to. You owe it to ALL involved to practice some.

    As for technical issues: There are common standards in making music. These days, equipment and riders are much like orchestral percussion and sheet music. You don't always need them, but when you do, get them.

    It's not that hard. Anybody with enough interest can do things to make it all go better.

    But, apparently few people care....


    -tINY
     
  11. GoldieLocks

    GoldieLocks Tele-Afflicted

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    Pros.

    I think we have American Idol and singing competitions to blame:

    We take bedroom popstars with no knowledge of the basics of the industry and make them a media success. They don't know how to run a band, set up, deal with technical issues, or struggle with preparing - the world watching assumes this stuff just magically happens. (and youtube doesn't help anymore...)

    Maybe more church musicians should go join a band - struggle for 5 years doing crazy gigs - then settle down and make serious church music with some mileage and experience.

    YES, every serious church band should be forced to attempt Handel's Messiah. :D
     
  12. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Great post!

    I find myself in many of the same positions. Im an audio engineer by day and my little congregation doesn't realize what I do for a living.

    They had their first outdoor rally last month and asked for my help about 48 hours prior to the event. Oye Vey!

    They brought me in to look at their gear and, well, I told them not to worry, ill bring one of my systems and facilitate the entire event. It went flawless on the audio and talent end. But c'mon guys....two days before the show!?!?

    Lord have mercy. Lol
     
  13. Ascension

    Ascension Tele-Afflicted

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    Disagree here in a BIG way. The standard of excellence in a praise team should be higher not lower than in any other band.
    I do understand that you have to work with what you have many times but to not hold a high standard in more than just performance level is absolutely not scriptural.
    Taught this concept to my church 2 weeks ago and here was the handout that went with the teaching.
     
  14. mrboson

    mrboson Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, the festival I posted about a few weeks ago went great, of course. Yeah there were problems, but that's just part of the gig, and you work through them without losing your cool or making the talent feel like they did something wrong (even if they did! Hello, wrong stage plot!). Plus, all the advance prep means most of the support we do on behalf of the acts (aren't they hired to show up, set up, plug in, sound check, and then rock the stage?) works seamlessly. The talent at a festival are rock stars. Let them feel like rock stars (in actuality they are mostly just humble and gracious, but I hope you know what I meant).

    Church attitude: We disconnect ourselves from the desire to behave professionally and to invest in prep and education because we say it is different. We say we aren't entertainers. We understand the congregation didn't buy tickets. We know we aren't considered the "talent". We don't show up expecting that when it is time to go, we are there to "rock the house." We are not rock stars, obviously.

    Well maybe we should look at it things a different way. Maybe we should take all this stuff more serious than the festival organizers and the bands that were hired to come play. Maybe if we knew how serious it was, and what was at stake, it would be a different attitude demonstrated.

    How about an example. During pre-service soundcheck today, I noticed a monitor wedge was receiving power (could hear the slight hiss), but none of the mix was present. I signal for the tech to look into it. He is really put out. Like it is a huge bother. "Seriously?", his face says. Sigh... Ok, give me a minute. Huffs his way through the troubleshooting to find out an Aux bus is muted. Fixes it. Acts like he just saved the world.

    Let me tell you. If I acted like that at the festival (recall I was the monitor engineer), (a) the professional bands would considered me to be a total ass, (b) I would not be hired for the next festival.

    Let me also tell you. I did my job as well as I could, not because I didn't want to be an ass, and not because I was afraid to be fired, but because at that moment I didn't want to be doing anything else. I was right where I belonged, and I loved every second of it.

    Why, oh why, do so many of us Sunday musicians and techs act like we wish were somewhere else, doing something else? If what we are doing is really, really, really serious (and who here would argue that?) then why don't we all act like it?

    When I work the sound desk on Sunday's, I love every second of it. To me, it is the most important job in the house. The moment it is not that to me, I need to step down.

    When I play an instrument, I want to have time to make sure my gear is checked and rechecked. I have to make sure I have fresh batteries and spare batteries for the wireless. I have spare cables. I have a plan if the pedal board craps out and quickly swap to just me and the amp (IOW I can get a good set of usable sounds, clean to crunch, if necessary from just the amp). I even have a backup plan for the amp - they fail too, right? I bring my own mics. My own picks, my own tuner. In other words, even though I am not getting paid, I approach this "gig" the same way as I would if my band is hired to play at an event.

    This is what I mean about being "professional." Our little tasks are serious business. They matter. They make a difference. So knowing that, thinking ahead and doing stuff like practice and prep are no brainers. The next time someone offers me an excuse, if it is something like "yeah, I work 2 jobs and I have a family. I'm doing my best" then I get it. I really do. We can figure it out.

    But if it sounds like "yeah, I just don't care, this is not that important to me" then I am seriously gonna call that person out. Not important?

    BTW, I think Ascension's contribution on the spiritual perspective of all this is great, so with what I am talking about here, I am thinking about in that spiritual context. If we apply that high spiritual calling to what we do, then the physical aspects of what we do are going to reflect that, IMO.
     
  15. Ascension

    Ascension Tele-Afflicted

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    Great post above!!! In particular this
    Look in the Bible how many times the SINGERS and PRAISES went before the army of God's chosen and the enemy was thrown into confusion destroyed themselves and the army never fired a single shot!
    Most involved in Worship have no idea who and what they are nor the POWER they can have!!
     
  16. Mbechmann

    Mbechmann Friend of Leo's Ad Free + Supporter

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    I havent read the whole thing - yet - but I do get the overview of what happened.

    This is not something new. Back in the 90s I was working on several Christian radio stations. The main reason why I stopped was that nobody cared about the quality.
    A funny story though. There was a national Christian conference/training day for everybody working on radio stations. The main speaker - a well know and very well respected radio host - opened up the conference by saying: "In my book 90% of all Christian radio stations should be closed down due to the horrible quality they are producing." At this point 80 out of the 120 people there, stood up and left the conference :D

    This whole thing comes down to attitude. If you see it as a job, you will try and skip over it as easy as possible. If you see it as a way to praise God with everything you are - you will want to do your best in that.

    It is for that specific reason I am not doing sound anymore. When I do sound it is a job. The worship goes totally out the window - and it becomes a job. I still want to do my best, but I do my best because it is a job - not because it is worship.
     
  17. Ascension

    Ascension Tele-Afflicted

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    Yep. It's the reason a bunch of us here in Birmingham have all left where we had been to come together and form a new Church. We are looking at forming a school of Worship artistry ( painting, dance, acting, music). Restoration of worship as was outlined in I Chron after David brought the ark back and implemented 1 Chron chapter 24-27..
     
  18. mRtINY

    mRtINY Tele-Afflicted

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    Which movement?


    -tINY
     
  19. Boltneck

    Boltneck Tele-Meister

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    Thanks Ascension for the scripture 1 Chron 25. It is obvious from that passage that Worship and Prophesying was key in the purpose of the chosen, they were also trained and skilled in their instruments ( v-6). This too was important. These people were commissioned ( set aside v-1 ) by king David with his commanders.Now..my question.. Do you think that today's Praise and Worship teams are handled with the real responsibility of Worship and Prophesying ? Our western church culture traditionally puts that responsibility on the Pastor. Some praise teams are little more than choirs with drums and guitars. They support a service..like a choir..But they don't practice leading worship. It's IMHO why we see the casual attitude to this ministry.. and why some give up. This attitude must change by the way. My 2 cents.
     
  20. mRtINY

    mRtINY Tele-Afflicted

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    Is the Sunday service not an act of worship IYHO?


    -tINY
     
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