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Would this bug you?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by WashburnAB95, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    I hope this is the correct forum as this about a praise and worship "band" and not a working one.

    So I show up to pratice for this project at Church. There is only lyrics handed out. Somehow everybody was supposed to be able to follow her (BL) vocal cues and and just follow along.

    This iritated the hell how out of me. I feel as though my time was waisted. Everybody must have felt fustrated... the songs were often in bad ranges for many of the singers. How fustrated would you have gotten in this situation?

    It is one thing when everybody else has their parts down and only you has to struggle along and try to learn by ear. It is a whole nother thing when you are trying to learn the song by ear for the first time and lead the orechestra at the same time. It is even worse when you have 5 or 6 other guys trying their darnest to do the same exact thing unfortunatly at the same time.

    <Clarification... Vocal cues here means only her average singing ablity.>

    How confident in your skills are you? Could you learn your part and helped the other guys enough to make it sound decent?

    How many posts does it take before a poster says "You are just fustrated with your own skill level?" Who knows maybe they would be correct.
  2. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    I'm not sure I understand how this is considered a practice. Did you have any chord charts, or any written arrangement, at all?

    If not, I'm not sure how an entire band is supposed to create a song around a vocal melody that no one in the band knows.

    No offense intended, I'm just asking.
  3. The singing parts being out of range for the singers should have killed it right there.

    Leaving that aside, as bassist you might have co-opted the best ear player and together come up with a chord arrangement that works. Then you might have found some achievable vocal harmony or changed the key to enable the original arrangement. The composer might have some ideas for a rhythm and instrumental gap filling that she could sing for the players, or your players better have some tasteful ears.
  4. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    Thank you for understanding me.
  5. The entire band going off the cuff would require a lot of musical genius and a superior chord finder. What I was getting at was the process by which some mere mortal fun players might have rescued the situation.
  6. Im actually really good at improv, but that would be challenging for sure, especially for any breaks, stops /starts.
  7. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Yes it would have bugged me , and I'm sure it was no fun at all for anyone involved that has any clue what they are doing.
  8. I would have left if I wasn't at least given chords.

    Edit: This reminds me of years ago when I was in college. I was trying to help out a worship "band" for the local Campus Crusade for Christ. I repeatedly told the "leader" that I didn't really know any modern worship songs, which is what this group was trying to do. I repeatedly asked him to get me the song lists in advance. He would never get me the songs. He did at least hand me sheets with the lyrics and chords on them, but it was very frustrating that he didn't give me any chance to prep a bit in advance. I don't know why some find that this sort of slap shod organization is acceptable if it's for a worship service.
  9. sounds like lazy "leader" that doesn't want to do the prep work.
  10. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Sounds like a hear it and play proposition. Yes it is tough especially if the song doesn't follow a traditional format like a 12 bar blues structure. However not unheard of in a genre where it is not unusual for someone to step up and to start singing spontaneously.

    It reminds me of what I heard about the Ohio Players song writing process. Someone would lay down a lick and the rest of the band will just start building parts on top of it when the leader would give a word or phrase and the lyrics would be written and they would practice until they had a song. In a way this church band was in a similar process.

    In this situation no you don't know what is going to happen going in but unless the song is original everybody with a smart phone can pull it up to hear a version on the spot and then the ear training comes into effect. If there has been no recording then you are building a song like the Ohio Players once did. And for me that is as much fun as see the root and play 1/8th notes until I hear the next lyric with a chord written above it.
  11. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    East Tennessee
    Reading the OP, it looks like this wasn't for a regular service, but a "project"--someone got tapped to head this up (or perhaps it was her idea) and she doesn't have the skill set to be a BL.
    I'd have been a little peeved, too--but then, it depends how it was presented. If my pastor came to me and said, "Hey, Sally passionately wants to do this thing, and we've, uh, decided that we're going to let her... will you come try to hold it together for her?" I'd know the score up front and bring my best humble spirit to the gig.
    But in your case, it appears that someone in a position of authority didn't recognize that she didn't have the tools to do the job, and it was a bit of a surprise!
    I don't know how all that happens--I've never been part of special music that I wasn't a ringleader for, and all the services I've played the BL provided charts, audio files, or both. And ALWAYS had them on hand at practice.
    I've learned to build chords behind a fiddler that couldn't tell me what they were, but I'd spent some years in her genre training my ears for it. Not sure I could do it under the conditions you described.
    No skill level jabs from this keyboard.
  12. oldcatfish


    Jan 8, 2011
    I have played for a lot of churches over the years. The quote above nails it. She is lazy and/or incompetent as a leader. I have worked with leaders that really didn't have the qualifications (no musical ability/ knowledge other than a good natural singing voice) and they at least attempted to provide chord charts. Often in the wrong key for their voice, but all that had to be done was to find the right key and transpose. In your situation I would have just looked at her and said, "I need chord charts, or I'm sorry, I can't play today." And then I'd have just quietly left when they weren't provided.
  13. progrmr


    Sep 3, 2008
    Columbus, Ohio
    I'm playing a service tonight for the first time in years - for two weeks I've been prepping the 5 song list (easy) and had everything set.

    Last night I log into the planning web site just for the heck of it - find out they swapped one of songs with another song I don't know with a simple but very prominent bass line and didn't tell the new bass player.

    The band doesn't practice until 4:45pm tonight and the service is a 6:30pm so at least there's some time to prepare with the rest of the band. But I don't like feeling unprepared to play.

    I've been down the road of the OP before...I'd get out of that situation before suffering anymore frustration.
  14. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Hand her a song book and tell her to find the ones without musical notation. Without the music, it's just lyrics, not a song. She should have had someone transcribe the melody, at the very least. The rest can be added after the fact.

    She's writing new songs? She needs to learn about how music works.
  15. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    If she can tell me what key, and chords she is going to sing, no problem (so long as it stays very simple, which most of these church progressions seem to be).
    So if she called out Verse in C to G, Chorus in A, then go to B for the Bridge. No problem, So long as those are the only chords.
  16. Huh? Other than this you really haven't posted enough info to answer or comment -
    My answer is very confident.
  17. Beersurgeon


    Jul 16, 2010

    I think this is the mentality of a lot of worship team leaders. I have been playing for a church for 1 1/2 years now and the team leader will only post the music after I ask for it. When I joined, he stated that the music will be out by Monday, Tuesday at the latest. This is far from the truth! I usually have to ask for the music on Thursday. With my job, the back half of the week has been the heaviest and I have been working the weekends for the last couple months. I'm the type of person that likes to be prepared and have my parts memorized. Not being able to do this has caused me stress!!! And I think I'm the only musician that practices and comes prepared for service were the other musicians wing it every Sunday.

    I haven't played since January because of work and I don't think I'm going to play anymore. It doesn't help that it is a 30 minute drive one-way without traffic and that there are several churches in my neighborhood. I'll be able to go to church in 2 weeks. And in the mean time, I'll be praying to see where God wants me. Church means community to me and I feel I belong in my community.
  18. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    I guess I'm lucky to have been raised around mostly self taught players/singers who may or may not know what key they are in. I went on to play for a while with a genuine country bluesman and he was the same way except he would often change key, tempo, even complete arrangements of his songs depending on his mood.

    Because of all this I can follow a singer or rhythm guitar player out of the gate on new material with little or no problem.

    Learn to recognized the basic chords played by a rhythm guitar player and you will be surprised at how far that will get you. After that it's a matter of ear training.

    Last open jam I attended we had a lady get up to sing. It was her first time in public and she had no idea what key or anything. She could carry a tune so it was just a matter of letting her sing a little of the song to pick up the key and progression. It also helped she was singing songs that were pretty standard for female vocalists so most of us knew them once we heard them, we just had to get with her on the key.

    It can be tougher if the songs are original, but it's really not that tough if you can get past the annoyance of working with someone who is not quite up to your level of professional standards.
  19. I can work last minute with a chord chart to a song I never heard before. I can work without a chord chart if given a copy of the recording of the song a day or two in advance, so I can work it out myself by ear. If it is a standard (played to death) chord progression I can probably pick it up after the second try given the rest of the band knows the song.

    But a just a page of lyrics to a song might as well be be a page from the phone book or the Gettysburg Adress. If I had chops good enough to pick out the chord progression from an average vocalist singing it and the first time I heard it... I would probably be an awesome professional session guy and not the common schlub volunteer guy that I am.

    I would be bugged. I would be seriously thinking about packing up and stepping off at a station at least one town before before the trainwreck. I am certain some 100% full time professional musicians could pull this off, but it was poor for the church music leader to not do her homework and provide charts or a recording in advance.
  20. The composer wasn't the best person to be the MD, at least that much is clear. Perhaps OP should have taken on that duty. Then the thread would be about how the session was rescued instead of a whine and general TB character assassination of the composer.