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Advise on training the Praise and Worship bassist

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by shizoz, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. shizoz


    Mar 18, 2010
    NW Arkansas
    Hello fellow TBers!
    My church is wanting to start a training program to help our musicians have more community with another, along with getting better at our instruments. I am on staff with the church, and also play bass, so by default, I'm the one leading the trainings (this does not mean I'm the best player at our church). Please understand the ultimate goal is to develop a family atmosphere within our musician base, but also grow in knowledge and skill with our particular instrument. We have players that are all over the place skill wise. Some have been making music for a long time, some have just picked up the bass to play in student ministries. With that said...

    What do you feel like has helped you with playing in a worship setting the most?
    Are there certain 'lessons' that you would have loved to have not learned the hard way?
    How have you adapted to different leadership styles, along with different bandmates from week to week (we do not have a steady band, but a pool of players we utilize week to week).

    Just wanting to start a conversation really so I can best serve our players.
    Thanks in advance for your thoughts and comments!
  2. You may want to try asking this in the P&W thread here on TB. Hope this link works (first time trying the cut and paste option on the new Android app).:


    I'm sure you'll get some responses there.

    Blessings on building your music ministry!
  3. shizoz


    Mar 18, 2010
    NW Arkansas
    I thought about that, just wasn't sure if I wanted clutter the post with my stuff, and perhaps get lost in the sea of pages that is the Praise and Worship club!
  4. How large is your service? How many people are we talking about? How many bands are we talking about? As far as.............

    Knowing each other, this happens from playing with each other, much like a Sunday School class grows together as the members attend.

    Learning our instruments. Assign instructors, you take the bass, a guitarist takes the rhythm guitars a lead guitarist takes the lead electrics, others take the drums, keyboard, etc. Lessons are scheduled during the week. Beyond normal rehearsal times.

    Friend tried to get a youth band started at our church, lot of activity until practice time came into the picture. What with school, homework, youth activities on Wednesday, practice time suffers. Good luck.

    What has helped me the most? Getting the fake chord sheet music on the songs we will be using Sunday sometime during the day on Tuesday, so I have one day before our first rehearsal on Wednesday night.

    That and the people in our Praise band being open to questions and offering helpful suggestions. Like any good band we all get along. That is paramount. We practice Wednesday night and then before service on Sunday. Six new songs every week. All that plus having a talented director certainly helps.
  5. Peace Cee

    Peace Cee

    Feb 9, 2011
    I second the "chord chart" suggestion. Chart the songs, and stick to simple keys. Next, have each student try different instruments to enhance their musical vocabulary. (Down the road in your case) Lastly, and this is a good lesson for any musician, teach them how to play appropriately. "Worship" is the operative word. It is more than a "gig", and the whole is greater that its parts in this situation. Oh, and reward commitment. If you practice, you play. I dunno, I hope that this helps. God bless brother.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Getting all of your players in the same room at the same time a few times a year helps. This allows the more experienced players to chime in on the conversation and pass down wisdom to the less experienced ones. Also, it gets everyone on the same page as to what the PURPOSE of the music in a worship service is. That alone clears up a lot of misconceptions that many (particularly young) players have. It's not a jam. It's not really even a performance. It's meant to take the congregation to a certain place (and I'll leave it there for the sake of rules and simplicity).

    At the "meetings" discuss dynamics, blending in (tonally and volume wise), following the leader (whomever happens to be "in charge" during a given song..... usually the person who is either the lead vocalist or the actual pastor who will speak during times when the song is "broken down"). The thing we learned (the hard way) is that for many of us experienced musicians, these things are second nature, and therefor ASSUMED. But for the less experienced musicians, the learning curve is shortened a lot if these things are DISCUSSED OUT LOUD.

    Often we have 3 guitarists on stage. When all three are experienced musicians, they either talk out who will play what, or sometimes they just play off of each other instinctively in a way that nothing gets trampled. Very rarely do younger musicians understand the concept of not playing over each other. It needs to be discussed and in some cases TAUGHT. (Unfortunately, some lack the maturity to grasp such concepts and just want to rawk out all the time.)

    Short version: Don't assume that everyone gets what's going on. The things that seem obvious to you and me probably aren't to everyone. These things have to be talked about. These discussions are more effective if all the musicians who play in the church are present. They only need happen a couple to a few times per year.
  7. Little more on what has helped me.

    Once I get the fake chord sheet music on the songs we will use this week I call up those songs on the Internet and play-a-long with them. My largest problem right now is knowing where the vocalist is going next, i.e. repeat the chorus or move to verse number two. Listening to the Internet video gives me a better idea of the verse, bridge, chorus movement. I then make notations on my fake chord where to anticipate the music will go next.

    That fluid movement is new to me -
    One other thing. Old eyes. I take the fake chord I'm given and have a print shop enlarge it to 11" X 17" size. Lot of times the quality of the fake chord we receive is not all that great. Little thought here will save time and effort later.
  8. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Jamming. Ultimately you are going have to play with other live people who will not be playing exactly what you heard on a recording and adjustments will have to be made on the fly.
  9. Just saw this:
    Big problem. Good luck with that.
  10. shizoz


    Mar 18, 2010
    NW Arkansas
    We have multiple services (they are more like distinct congregations) through the weekend, main sanctuary holds 1200 folks, on a typical weekend, we'll probably see around 8000 people come through the door. We offered an initial 'Bass 101' class and I had about 17 players there. We mostly talked on alot of what you have mentioned: overplaying, confidence and practice, tone, etc... Guess I'm just trying to figure out what the next step is. Do I go into theory in a class room setting, or are individual lessons the best approach. I have to be careful not to project my own needs on to those that are attending as well. Thanks for the responses, all! It is always helpful to get a different perspective.

    Hmmm, I haven't thought of this really, but it may be really helpful (and fun!) to form bands and have Jam nights. Very interesting....:bassist:
  11. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I wouldn't say a big problem, there should be a different set of expectations about what the band can pull off on any given week however. And the worship leader needs to plan accordingly as it makes his job more difficult, even if he is in a mega church with all studio pros in his band.
  12. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    It sounds like you are in position to record all rehearsals. I would also see about some band workshop DVDs like Baloche's or Jamal Hollaway's ministries put out. Perhaps an outside coach, maybe a non team member is a music teacher in your congregation. As long as all are being rotating in my focus would not be on instrument or specific musician training but on team training. There is a chance that some will become complacent and that will be a leadership challenge.
  13. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Having grown up in the church I can tell you that the feeling of 'church family' and 'community' will come about when there is a reason to be with that family and in that church. Since you are talking about music specifically, it is best (IMO essential) to make sure the musical experience is good. Warm and fuzzy is great as a starting place, but that can be had at in a lot of settings. Make sure your music is good (well performed), powerful (meaningful) and the people involved are able to take ownership in the experience.
  14. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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