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Band leader with insufficient knowledge

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Russy, Jan 12, 2004.


  1. One of the bands I am currently playing in is a church band. The leader was chosen by the priest, but he has very little knowledge of music or performing yet he gives out instructions and has the last say on matters. I feel that before he can tell me what to play he learn to play his instrument properly. He has this huge ego and it is working on my nerves.Were any of you in a situation like this?.
     
  2. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I'm probably one of the most skiled musicians at my church with the broadest range of playing experience. However, I only lead once a month, which means that most of the time I'm working under less skillful people. To be fair, they're not overly bossy but it can still be frustrating at times.

    What I try to do is serve. Rather than trying to establish myself as a 'better musician' I use the skills that I have to help them accomplish their aims. If you've got some ideas that are a lot better then maybe you can work them in slowly but I'd suggest making your first focus to use your skills to help the whole group.

    If you continue to find it really insufferable, have a chat with the priest. However, he may well come back to that same theme of service - if your musical skills, leadership ability and maturity were really head and shoulders above everyone else, then he probably would have picked you.

    Also, as someone who does lead in a church group on a regular basis, a word of warning. If it's frustrating to be led, it can be even more frustrating to have the responsibility of leading. Learn to deal with it and you'll be much better set up for both leading and serving roles in the future.

    Wulf
     
  3. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Hmmm...if it's really frustrating you to the point where it's discouraging you so much that it's not a good experience for you, then perhaps you should take a break until you can get to a place where it's not frustrating you any longer? Don't disengage yourself altogether though, find some other area to serve in. I had to do that at a church I previously attended, served in other areas and I felt a lot better when I came back to the worship team (under the same leadership.)

    Or, you can offer your services to help build up the other musicians. This guys ego could get in the way of that, but I encourage you to try, at least offer and give him the opportunity to take you up on it.

    Wulf is right, it's also frustrating to be the leader. I don't know why your priest picked this person to lead, but they must have a reason. If you can't deal with it, then you should consider stepping aside until such a time as you can serve with little to no reservation. I think you'll find that either way, it'll all work out in the end...

    I'm not sure what the rules are regarding religous posts, do a google search for churchbass (http://associate.com/groups/churchbass), they're a great group of people who can help advise and encourage, wulf is a member there as well!
     
  4. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Talking about playing in church is fine - it's getting into point by point theological arguments and debates about comparative religion that start to tread past the 'boundaries' (as I understand it).

    BTW, your point about trying other areas if the music is getting you down is a great one. I also do a range of other things, some of which I enjoy and some of which, like helping with regular maintenance tasks, just need to be done. If you're only involved at the church for your own sake then I think you're missing an important dimension of being part of a community of faith (or, indeed, any community).

    Wulf
     
  5. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Thanks for the clarification. I didn't get into a whole "heart of worship" discussion just to get it deleted or locked.

    I found that doing other things than music ministry gives me a balance; worship isn't just music. Nuff said...
     
  6. For me it's not that I should be a leader or anything it is that my suggestions to improve the band is taken very litely or not at all. I have been a leader in other groups and played more gigs than him so I would know a little about setup and sound. I have seen this attitude not just in church bands but in secular bands too.
     
  7. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Oh, one of the team leaders at my church discounts everyone's suggestions...and he's leaving in six month to move out of province! Makes unilateral decisions without consulting anyone, and pushes through ideas with no approval process. He's making moves that we're going to be stuck with after he leaves, including training someone who should not be mentoring others (I know for a fact that this "trainee" is not a true believer because he's said so and I used to gig with him.)

    Do what you can, where you can. If he's not meant to be the leader and someone else more qualified is meant to take over, that will happen in time. Maybe you're supposed to learn something from this as well, just hang in there man.
     
  8. gweimer

    gweimer

    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    The good band leader is more of a facilitator than anything else. It's up to him to help move the band in a collective direction. Everyone involved in a band situation must gain what they want to from the experience. The use of the word "we" over the word "I" goes a very long way.
     
  9. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Have you talked with the 'leader' about how you feel? Try a non-confrontational style - "I feel that I've got some ideas that would help the group and I'd like to be able to contribute more" rather than "You're a jerk and you keep ignoring me" (notice the difference in tone between the I / you approaches).

    Of course, I put 'leader' in quotes because although you can be delegated a certain measure of power, a leader needs to earn their authority ;)

    Wulf