As musicians, we can each learn our own parts well, but if we don’t fit them in well with the other parts it does us no good. All the parts have to add up to 100%.
Think of a pie…or a puzzle or anything else I can’ think of right now (Hey…hush…this is a “stream of thought blog” OK?!”) – whatever it is…the parts make up the whole. The point is…they have to fit.
We can learn our parts to the T and therefore we can say “I don’t have to come to practice, I know MY stuff.”
Not true – you need to fit YOUR stuff in with everyone else’s stuff, so actually you DO need to come to practice.
What about volume? Somewhere along the way, I started to really really really get irritated with loud instruments. Not only loud instruments, but the players that play SO honkin’ loud that everyone is just kinda looking at you with that “Hey, you’re the worship leader…YOU tell him to turn down” look. I mean, I used to play loud too…maybe I’m old now?
So, fitting in with the other parts nicely is blending in volume wise too. No part should stand out above everyone else, except if it’s a solo, and we don’t typically do a lot of solos.
You can usually tell a cat that is going to play loud by the fact that they play ALL the time. Like, the guitar player that plays AC/DC riffs from the moment they plug in. I was like that…but somewhere along the line, in more “professional” situations with like sound guys crawling over the stage running around listening, I got yelled at a few times…like if you insist on playing “Back in Black” at full volume while they are trying to sound check the snare – you’ll catch some wrath. Not to mention, it makes just talking to everyone else on stage very painful.
I started a habit long ago of showing up, plugging in, tuning (silently), playing for about 1 minute to make sure stuff works and that’s it. I wait to play until we all get going.
There’s another aspect to this, in worship music you aren’t playing “to” an audience, you are leading them to (hopefully) sing along. They can’t do this well, if they can’t hear themselves. We are called to “sing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to each other” (Col 3:16) – Stephen Altrogge had a great post on that today. Give it a read.
Remember, especially as Levites, worship leaders (and all worship team members are worship leaders) are called to SERVE others – let’s be cognizant of our fitting in our piece to the whole pie.