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Offline browntree

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I really don't know what to do...
« on: June 22, 2010, 02:58:50 PM »

I'm going to start by saying I believe church is the only place that allows terrible musicians to play...

I have become so frustrated with our music ministry, I don't know what to do.  Over the years, I've watched it diminish... I've watched the church run off talented, professional musicians and I've watched them bring in under-skilled musicians who simply cannot cut it.  Each time I try to give my opinion on how the music ministry is in shambles, people just look at me like I'm making it up.  As an example here's what I'm talking about:
-the pianists don't attempt to learn the songs like the cd. 
-the pianists work the transpose button like a two-dollar hooker, forgetting to reset it before songs.  Choir singing in the rafters because the pianists are idiots.
-the drummers don't learn the intros/outros or breaks of a song.  The idea of locking in with the drummer is just that...an idea.
-I learn the song like the cd, but can't even play the bass line because the songs become so disjointed and convoluted. 
-there are NO musician's rehearsals.
-A/V always has the piano up above everything else no matter how many Sundays people say..."I don't hear any bass...all I hear is piano". 

When I try to bring up the fact that all of this is bad, bad, bad, I get the typical look..."humm you think you are better than everybody else..." I feel as if I'm being forced into resignation... there are some Sundays I'm am absolutely embarrassed because I know it sounds like noise!  I refuse to contribute to noise.  Short of quitting, what more can I do?  Why is there an idea that half-doing is ok for God?


Browntree


And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. I Chronicles 15:16

Offline phbrown

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2010, 03:15:27 PM »
I believe we had a similar problem once (I was fairly young)

So what happened was we had a workshop. the church brought in someone else who is impartial. Everyone was excited to learn something new and to be better. Everyone was on one accord because we all knew we would get better if we put in the work.

The person in charge of the workshop touched on a lot of things that we as a whole were struggling with.

Drums not being tuned properly
Certain sections of the choir not singing correctly
Ennouciation
How the pianist is supposed to play the song

We only learned like 1 - 3 songs (I can't remember) But as long as you let someone else do the talking they just might listen.

You could always pitch it as
"Everyone, I'm glad we are all trying to praise God with our various gifts. I heard there was So and So doing workshops for choirs. If we were to do that we would be even better."

Offline kevmove02

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2010, 03:21:36 PM »
I feel your frustration. It is hard to be tolerant of mediocrity when you know it can be better. I have faced similar situations over the last couple of years. This is by no means the only way to approach this situation, but it worked for me.

1. I asked the Lord to show me His heart in the situation, then I asked him to show me my heart.
2. I asked the Lord did He want me to stay or leave.
3. I asked the Lord who should I start working with. Once that was accomplished, I asked who was the next person, and so on, until we saw change for the good
4. WE asked the Lord if He was pleased with the changes, then we vowed never to let things get so bad.

So, my brother, is there at least one person you think you could collaborate with to change the atmosphere? Maybe come in for a rehearsal or work on a song together, that the others just happen to hear? I am a person who normally just puts my shoulder to the grindstone and could care less if someone gets trampled in the process. But following the Lord's leading and working with just one person had a tremendous effect on me and brought great change. Why? Because by example, we showed everyone else that the extra effort was not just worth it, but was necessary in order to show others that a spirit of excellence was essential. We had to simplify what we played until everyone caught on, but it did two things: it made people step up or step away, not because we told them to leave, but because they knew they couldn't commit to the effort to play well together. So I pray that you will find just one person to help you make a difference, which becomes two people and so on... stay the course my brother.

Offline Torch7

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2010, 01:45:13 PM »
If you have done everything humanly possible...... Pray!

Offline ddwilkins

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2010, 02:47:24 PM »
Man we are experiencing that as well.
Keep God first and he'll do the rest!!!

Offline bigblackdrummer

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2010, 06:38:59 PM »
Yo I had the same problem.... I went with the music Pastor because he was my old high school music teacher and he needed help to I followed him there.... He decided it was time to move on but the Church wanted me to stay on.... All I can say is that it was nothing but low class musicians, low class worship, low class mentality... Now this is a huge Church with a top of the line system!!!! This is what I did;

I went to the Pastors and people who mattered and talked to them about it, I had most of the Church behind me... Nothing changed..... I volunteered my services (I am a working professional) they turned it down...... I left the Church!!!! I had to.... It was a hindrance in the way I worship and against all me beliefs when it comes to worship, I found a Church that needed my talents and had the high standard of worship I was looking for and use to. I do agree, Church is one of the only places where they will use the worst musicians they have....
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Offline SavnBass

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2010, 10:11:23 PM »
I'm going to start by saying I believe church is the only place that allows terrible musicians to play...

I have become so frustrated with our music ministry, I don't know what to do.  Over the years, I've watched it diminish... I've watched the church run off talented, professional musicians and I've watched them bring in under-skilled musicians who simply cannot cut it.  Each time I try to give my opinion on how the music ministry is in shambles, people just look at me like I'm making it up.  As an example here's what I'm talking about:
-the pianists don't attempt to learn the songs like the cd
-the pianists work the transpose button like a two-dollar hooker, forgetting to reset it before songs.  Choir singing in the rafters because the pianists are idiots.
-the drummers don't learn the intros/outros or breaks of a song.  The idea of locking in with the drummer is just that...an idea.
-I learn the song like the cd, but can't even play the bass line because the songs become so disjointed and convoluted. 
-there are NO musician's rehearsals.
-A/V always has the piano up above everything else no matter how many Sundays people say..."I don't hear any bass...all I hear is piano". 

When I try to bring up the fact that all of this is bad, bad, bad, I get the typical look..."humm you think you are better than everybody else..." I feel as if I'm being forced into resignation... there are some Sundays I'm am absolutely embarrassed because I know it sounds like noise!  I refuse to contribute to noise.  Short of quitting, what more can I do?  Why is there an idea that half-doing is ok for God?
Browntree

I am certainly not a stellar player... and we have musicians of varying skill levels at my church.. but the above is just.... totally unacceptable... How can you have no rehearsals... ? Sure not everyone reads.. I don't.. not well anyway.. but I can follow chord charts.. but in the absence of this.. you need so e starting reference point.. if not sheets then the CD.. That's too bad..... because these people are obviously not playing for anyone but themselves... not the congregation.. and I am in no position to judge.. but if this is what they want to offer up to GOD...  Umph... That's too bad...  :-\ I feel for you.. because it is hard to just swallow it and say "Well I'll offer up mine...." when you know the plate is is on is so dirty...
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

Offline floaded27

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2010, 10:40:55 PM »
Each time I try to give my opinion on how the music ministry is in shambles, people just look at me like I'm making it up.

when i read this i was like "Browntree, since when u go to my church?" lol

Its not that church is the only place that allows terrible musicians to play, its the only place where the people who make those decisions cant tell the difference!!!!!

what you probably should do is record the musicians playing the songs and play it back for them to prove its how u say it is. Maybe even play the CD version right before or after to show the difference. U know what, dont even say its ya'll. Just be like "I want you to hear something i recorded" and after they make their criticisms about it u can say "that was US on sunday!" and then they'll feel stupid.....hopefully.

now some songs, everybody cant do like the CD due to the limitations of either the choir or the musicians themselves, but thats no excuse to just throw out everything. thats how my organist is. I dont think he's done an intro a day in his life until I got there. I remember playing and the director looked at me and said "what are u playing?"  and im  like "ummmm.......the INTRO!!!!". thats how so used to not doing intros they were. It was to the point where the drummer didnt even know how to count off, because he never was required to. I had to teach him that when i started playing. see how some people's laziness can corrupt so many others.
For my God... let "Golden Axe" prevail.

Offline Torch7

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2010, 11:08:47 PM »
I really wont to chime in to this post, but for fear of a flame war starting I will reserve my opinions on the matter... I have been on all sides of this scenario, and seen it from different perspectives.

I would recommend anyone, who sincerly wants to worship God in a church setting check out this book.
http://www.amazon.com/Worshiping-Artist-Equipping-Ministry-Worship/dp/031027334X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277352319&sr=8-3

I have only gotten a few chapters into it, the creative arts team at Church is doing a weekly study in it.

Offline ssab

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2010, 11:26:51 PM »
Thx my fellow bass players. I don't feel alone anymore.

Offline browntree

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2010, 11:57:39 PM »

Its not that church is the only place that allows terrible musicians to play, its the only place where the people who make those decisions cant tell the difference!!!!!

You have said a mouth full right here.  This is so true. 

Let me be clear about some of the things I said.  Ultimately, all the things I've described in my initial post hinder our level of true praise and worship.  If you wonder why people aren't on their feet and giving praise, it might be because of them wrong notes and sloppy playing. 

Our church is going through major transitions right now, but I've attempted to discuss this with deacons, MOMs, and even the pastor/clergy.  I really am the only versatile, committed musician that's left.  Everyone else has left because of the things we've listed and because of terrible pay (don't get me started there).   It was a totally different story about 5 years ago.  Spiritually our music ministry was exploding and you could hear it in the music.  BBdrumer, you made a great point about being a hinderence to worship.

I am seriously considering stepping down from the music ministry.  I think the people at the church really like what's happening at the church (like you said floaded27).  I just feel like my continual participation condones the poor actions.  Maybe they will take me seriously when they attempt to replace me only to find out what I've been saying is right.  I even feel like my level of musicianship is declining.  It's tough being the only one who wants to get it right...all of it...

We as Levites are responsible for leading in praise and worship.  If we can't do it in excellence then who can???

It's good to know I'm not alone, and it's bad to know I'm not alone.

Browntree


And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. I Chronicles 15:16

Offline dhagler

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2010, 07:41:26 AM »
While I agree wholeheartedly with what has been written before--and still experience most of it--let me offer three slightly different perspectives:

1. In many cases, the individuals in question (other musicians, minister of music, sound board technician, etc.) are in those positions because
    a.  the Church can't find someone else more qualified
    b.  the Church can't find someone willing to do the job at the salary being offered
    c.  there is favoritism, nepotism or "tenure" in play
2. As musicians we have standards. Standards for our level of musicianship, standards for how much we practice, standards for how we feel the music should sound on Sunday morning. So do others. Their standards may be higher or lower than ours, but they have them. In that regard, "half doing" is subjective. The challenge is to find a group of individuals whose standards are more or less the same, and hopefully those same folk are of the right Spirit to actively participate in a Music Ministry. (See #1)
3. Very often the Music Ministry is no different that other Church ministries in terms of disorganization, lack of communication, and folks being on different pages. Attend an Usher Board meeting and you will probably hear more of less the same issues (some people don't wear the right uniform or don't take up collection properly or don't come to usher practice or...you get the idea)


I come home from rehearsals and wife will ask me, "How did rehearsal go?" My response is usually, "Sunday is going to be a train wreck.", and then I go into all the things that didn't go the way I think they should have gone. But the key word in all of this is "I". None of this is about me. It is all about Christ and lifting up His name in praise. There's no way that I can ever know if He is pleased with what we do on Sunday morning, but I can check myself and my attitude and have a pretty good idea of if He is pleased with what I do on Sunday morning. Yes, all those things that bug us are going to happen, and if we leave our church and go to another, the same things will likely happen there too. And yes, we should strive to be the best we can be as part of a ministry and enourage others to give their best as well. But when it is all sang and played, we can only control what we do and how we present ourselves in that ministry.

Continue to come here and vent, family, because then you know that you are not alone. We are a wonderful support group one for another. Pray without ceasing, for the ministry, for the individuals in the ministry, for the congregation, for the pastor and officers. Continue to maintain your standards, for others are watching and learning from you.

Finally, wash your hands and pray before you play. God will take care of the rest. :)

Offline Kelz-Da-Basshead

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2010, 11:52:07 AM »
We dont have musicians practices at my current church either but all of the musicians learn as much of the changes and extra things as we can before compng to practice.  Then about fifteen minutes before practice we get together and decide what we will do and wont do but because the band is on one accord it sound professional.  You dont neccesarily have to play songs verbatim on the cd. because alot of times what people dont realize is that the cds are recorded by pros who put in alot more practice time than we do per song.  They have no other job or classes just the music.  So its also possible that sometimes we set the standard too high. if you know other musicians are not capable of certain parts you cant expect them to find some hidden talent in two hours.

sometimes we even add stuff as a band that is not in the cd. but the thing that makes the music sound great is not always the licks and fancy transitions but the presence of a solid band instead of a group of musicians, because in many gospel songs with many complicated transitions and passages those parts are actually not necesary and sometimes added to the recording in the studio after the live part has been recorded. most non musically inclined people wont even notice that those parts were left out on sunday but they will notice that the band seemed disconnected for some reason or the other.
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Offline kevmove02

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2010, 12:44:17 PM »
Why are you still there? If you think you can fix it, then do something about it. If not, then walk away. I guarantee that you're not making the situation better as is, because of all the discord. Would you play for a sports team that never practiced or didn't play very well? There are two places where no matter how bad things get, people never leave: church music ministries and the place where they work. If your job is causing you misery, find another one and if the music ministry is hindering your praise....

Offline SavnBass

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2010, 09:14:46 PM »
I think your idea of recoding it and playing it back is a good one. Also... it is not so much that the musicianship is so bad that is the real issue.. but that no one seems to want to make it better. While it is true that it isnt about you.. you also have to ask yourself.. and those others.. what the poor quality of the musical offering says to those who you are serving.. If they can't see the need for change.. then perhaps you should move on.

Quote
We dont have musicians practices at my current church either but all of the musicians learn as much of the changes and extra things as we can before compng to practice.  Then about fifteen minutes before practice we get together and decide what we will do and wont do but because the band is on one accord it sound professional.  You dont neccesarily have to play songs verbatim on the cd. because alot of times what people dont realize is that the cds are recorded by pros who put in alot more practice time than we do per song.  They have no other job or classes just the music.  So its also possible that sometimes we set the standard too high. if you know other musicians are not capable of certain parts you cant expect them to find some hidden talent in two hours.

I am confused though.. when you say you don't have musician's practices.. do you mean you just have one practice for everyone? That's what we do... at least for the praise teams...  we don't have seperate musician's practices either if that's what you mean.. but everyone tries to come prepared and everyone holds everyone else accountable to a degree... we all have bad days... or days where we just make a mistake.. Like one day I got the list and it said "Great God".. so all week long I rehearsed the one whee the ladies start off... "Glory and honor dominion and power, now and forever oh LORD GOD magnificent..." and I was pumped .. because it was a complicated song.. but I had it down pretty good... but when I got to rehearsal we were doing the one that starts off with that Arabian nights guitar line... and is more rockish.. needless to say I was let down... and to make it worse I had never even heard the song... I got it down by Sunday .. but...

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

Offline browntree

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2010, 08:26:30 AM »
Why are you still there? If you think you can fix it, then do something about it. If not, then walk away. I guarantee that you're not making the situation better as is, because of all the discord.

I think your comments above pose an interesting question. I'm not really the kind of person who jumps ship because there is trouble.  And yes...I would play for a terrible team (if I'm getting paid).  I'm a paid musician of the church, with the key word being "a"... I'm one of many.  I've tried to lead by example and motivate others to be cohesive musically and spiritually, not exacerbating the situation through discord. 

However I think it's probably time I move on and allow someone else to assume the position.  I heard a good sermon a couple weeks ago on moving on so God can bless you and bless someone else.  He talked about not "staking claim" on positions in the church (1c from dhagler). 

Browntree


And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. I Chronicles 15:16

Offline kevmove02

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2010, 08:39:35 AM »
browntree, what if God has you there to mentor one person in the midst of this sea of mediocrity? Imagine that there is someone there who is meant for something far beyond the current situation, and the only way they will get out is if you "cover" them so they don't walk away with a bad experience?

Offline browntree

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2010, 08:49:52 AM »
browntree, what if God has you there to mentor one person in the midst of this sea of mediocrity? Imagine that there is someone there who is meant for something far beyond the current situation, and the only way they will get out is if you "cover" them so they don't walk away with a bad experience?

Good point...and I've walked in that for the past few years. I've been stressed out!  I've been playing there now 10 years, and I know God has more for me.  I've asked and desired more, and I am preparing for more.  I don't know how it's going to come, but I know it's coming.  I'm continuing to pray about it.  I don't usually do or make rash decisions (usually...lol). 

Browntree


And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. I Chronicles 15:16

Offline phbrown

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2010, 11:08:52 AM »

Why are you still there? If you think you can fix it, then do something about it. If not, then walk away. I guarantee that you're not making the situation better as is, because of all the discord. Would you play for a sports team that never practiced or didn't play very well? There are two places where no matter how bad things get, people never leave: church music ministries and the place where they work. If your job is causing you misery, find another one and if the music ministry is hindering your praise....


browntree, what if God has you there to mentor one person in the midst of this sea of mediocrity? Imagine that there is someone there who is meant for something far beyond the current situation, and the only way they will get out is if you "cover" them so they don't walk away with a bad experience?

...

Offline kevmove02

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Re: I really don't know what to do...
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2010, 01:31:14 PM »
phbrown, not quite sure how to respond...
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