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A question people that do both church music and secular music

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by WashburnAB95, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    Do the same rules of band management apply in both situations?

    Will you put up with more bull working on a Church project than one for the world? Do you tell yourself that it is for a good cause so you need to check your ego and get it done?

    Or are you the oppsite that when it comes to voluntary gigs you have no tolerance for headaches but when you get payed you will kiss sombodies rear end for a check?

    Now reading my post... While the question was about Church vs Secular, I guess you can expand it to payed verus volunter gigs.
  2. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    I've only played in a church as a fill-in twice - but I was paid pretty well, so I guess I can't comment ;)
  3. BobWestbrook

    BobWestbrook Mr. Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2006
    Philly suburb
    As the band leader of a Christian band (not a "church band" though) there are certainly differing standards and expectations than would be for a secular band.

    As far as "putting up with more bull", no, that would not be the case. It depends on the setting, of course. If it were a situation with younger, potentially less mature people, I would put up with more as an opportunity to help them grow and learn to approach things in more mature manner.
  4. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    I have been greatly involved in youth ministry the last few years. A HUGE eye opener was watching how dysfunctional our church office is. It is as if you feel called to do Gods work you no longer have to be professoinal. Things happen there when it comes to labor law and work place etiquette that would never be tolerated in a secular office.

    <rant off>
    Sorry about that. However I do feel much better for expressing it.
  5. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    How did the pay/work ratio work compare to a secular job? In my circles it is somewhat rare to get payed for playing in church. Even when paid it is much more of a stipend than a paycheck.
  6. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Not in my experience. Vocalists would have been gone, gone, gone ... they did no work outside of rehearsal, and the rehearsal was teaching them the harmonies while the instrumentalists sat on our hands.

    This. I was a summer sub, and treated it like it was purgatory. Hurts like hell, but doesn't last forever.

    A bit of both. I won't volunteer if it looks like more hassle than fun (eg, if i have to supply the entire sound system). My tolerance for BS increases with the size of the pay check, but even that has limits. As a well paid sub I can deal with a lot of crap, but as a band member who has to play with the same lineup week after week, not so much.
  7. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia

    If it's volunteer work, then there should be less BS, or there won't be any volunteers next time around.
    People need to learn this one way or another.

    If it's just disorganization, that's one thing, but if folks are copping attitudes and causing you grief due to their personality "quirks", then it's time to bail, after supplying an accurate reason for leaving.

    Paying gigs will almost always carry some friction, and as posted, the tolerance level for this friction should be directly related to the size of the paycheck, give or take a little based on personal interest.
    IE: it may be music you really love, so you're likely going to be a little more forgiving of some BS, or maybe it's music you really don't like, so if the pay isn't top notch then you're better off seeking more gainful (and not just monetary) employment.
  8. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    I'd say I would tolerate more dysfunction in my praise band since it is my church and my friends. My secular band is a group I found on CL so the attachment is weaker....

    Fortunately there is virtually zero bull in either group....
  9. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Yeah, I put up with more in the praise band. Much more. Probably the biggest issue is the music itself, CCM is just pretty yuck for me. But you have more people show up to a situation like that who think because they know a few chords that they're musicians etc. They are, but it's just a bit of a strain sometimes. Sound people who are really green etc. You go through a lot more drama, dysfunction and turnover.

    I would say that if you want to be in a praise band it should be a commitment to hang in there for a while, be patient, and open to the reality that somehow through the mess that some good comes from it, the reality of Grace if you will.

    The bar band is just more energy, better music, better musicians and in general a lot more upbeat, better for bass (musically and you're not getting mushed over by some stupid keyboard pad) etc. Basically show up and let'r rip. People dancing is more fun than people waving their hands around etc.
  10. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    The douchebag factor is almost nonexistant at church. I actually prefer it. The talent pool is deep, and it's a gas to play with lots of different people.
  11. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013

    I am sorry but I havn't found that to be true. By far the best musicians I have been around have been in Church (some of the worse as well but this another story)

    You do have a point about Church Keyboard/Piano players though. Most of the time they have no idea how to play in an ensemble group. Last keyboard player I played with on bass... I told her going in "just leave me some space on the low end and we will be friends" Not only did she play low she insisted on playing octaves and often 5ths down really low.
  12. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    IME volunteer is just another word for amateur. So you have to accept people's limitations going in. However, bad attitudes and egos have no place in a worship environment.
  13. PipeRain

    PipeRain Operator Of Pointy Basses

    Dec 4, 2012
    I play at church now, and played in a few bands back in the dark ages. The differences are grating. No one realizes the difference between "Practice" and "Rehearsal". Practice is what you do in your woodshed, wherever that is. Rehearsal is what you do with the folks you will be playing with. Drummers that can't/won't play at any level other than deafening and can't keep time at all. Tempo changes drastically between every verse, bridge, chorus and fill. We are given the five or six songs we will do with performance notes anywhere from a week to ten days in advance and every week, and I do mean EVERY SINGLE WEEK the leader has to explain arrangements to at least one person.

    None of the instrumentalists appear to give a flyin' crap about their tone. The electric guitarist manages to generate a tone that sounds like a hive of angry hornets oured into a soda can with a small handful of gravel and shaken vigorously. The leader plays a Taylor that sounds like it was made of cheap, 1/4" luan with galvanized wire for strings. His tone could best be described as "Overwhelmingly obnoxious high-mid focused" and he has exactly zero feel for a song. "Stilted" doesn't even come close. The drums sound like wet cardboard boxes.

    Given all that, you ask, why do it?

    Well for a couple of reasons. 1) I have been blessed with far better gear than my ability requires. Far better. To simply sit in my house and flog away at it would be a waste. If that was all I was going to do, I'd be selling off a fair pile of gear. Obviously I am supposed to do something with it and grow my few rusty skills as best I can. 2) If by simply showing up, playing my parts well and having a decent, appropriate tone for the music I am given, I can subtly stimulate some growth in the group that will be all to the good. It is, after all, a ministry. Both to the people who attend church and the other musicians

    If I were the team leader, we would be having a mandatory meeting and a serious "Come to Jesus" talk. Folks would either shape up or ship out. If we are called, by the most awesome creative force in the universe, to use our talents to His glory we should approach each and every note and rest bearing that in mind. If anyone is uninterested or incapable of doing so than that is a pretty strong sign that that person isn't really called and should step down graciously rather than being terminated forcefully. However, I am not and that may be to the good. If I were, I suspect my church would be enjoying an awful lot of a capella music.

    So the short answer is that apparently in my church it's not a lot different than a lot of the nightmare scenarios I read about here in "Band Management".
  14. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    What confuses me is why "outside" bands don't really care what your beliefs are so long as you show up on time, know your parts, and don't act like an arse when you are on band time.

    The ads I've seen for P&W bands, OTOH, always seem to include some kind of "spiritual commitment" requirement from those who apply. If it's all volunteer and all within a single congregation, I can see expecting some kind of spiritual commitment, but if the job pays and the object of paying is to have a top shelf band, why would personal beliefs matter if the members show up on time, know their parts, and don't act like an arse when they are on band time?
  15. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013

    I have no problem with the non faithful being in the band as long as they are respectful and appropriate. Who knows maybe it will lead to their conversion. On the other hand... the leader and problably your vocalists need to be faith filled.
  16. jorby


    Feb 25, 2014
    Prescott, Arizona
    Yes, you will put up with more bull. Yes, you will have to check your ego and just get it done sometimes. I just have tolerance I suppose, people are always at different levels, it's all about willingness to communicate for me. No, I never kiss anyone's ass for a paycheck;)

    Having been in a worship band for 4 years, while also building up my own committed secular band on the side during that time, I can tell you the expectations and almost everything are at a different level. However, this will depend on the level of the bands as you can always find a group of musicians who just don't put in their own practice time. For me, I did a church with regular attendance of about 300, 2 services a Sunday. We had rehearsal every week but I quickly found out that most people didn't take the time to learn the songs as well as I did. I played with very talented musicians but for many of them, music was not their primary career. Being in a gigging band and also just being a very serious musician, I always learn everything to the T and also spend at least 2 hours a day each week on personal practice time. Also, in a church setting like that, many times the focus is ultimately worship with perfection as merely a perk. This means that it is okay to not try and be the best at what you are doing. For some musicians, that is never okay. I struggled a lot with things not being as good as I knew they could and keeping my mouth shut about it.

    If you were in a contemporary Christian band trying to break out, it would be just like any other band as breaking the band in to the scene would take a level of commitment from everyone. In the end, it always comes down to personal practice and the level which that goes on in the individual lives of the band. More practice=less bull****.
  17. chuck norriss

    chuck norriss Banned

    Jan 20, 2011
    In any situation I like to think I afford respect and expect it in return. Most issues can be resolved with prayer and a one on one heart to heart, in private. Also I don't kiss ass at least I think I don't but humble pie is alright.
  18. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    For one of our services we have a young lady that is a decent vocalists and a crappy guitarist. Occassionally she has others help her but even then her and her guitar are featured prominatly in her music. I played with her a while and even offtered to try to help her with her guitar skills.

    She has had the gig for about a year and a half and I have seen NO growth in her guitar skills. How can you play for others and God every week and not want to be the apsolute best you can be?
  19. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    In any situation, it should be organized! And you should always have ample time to prepare. I don't like it when neither is happening.
  20. heynorm


    Oct 21, 2010
    Omaha, NE
    Still playing clubs, etc. after almost 50 years now and continue dealing with the usual blend of personalities. I also recently played in a worship team for three years sandwiched in between a world class pianist... and a guitarist who was, shall we say, "rhythmically-challenged." She once told me I should always follow her. Had to block out that side of my head and try to stay locked with the piano, as we were more often minus a drummer. I always tried to remember it was not about me, but what I could do to honor and glorify the service!