At our church, we have what we call a ‘band-leader’ rostered on each service. This person will have a microphone that can be heard by the whole band on stage, via their in-ear monitors. It’s the responsibility of the band leader to musically direct the service in support of the worship leader. Here are some of my thoughts in my own approach to band-leading here at C3 Oxford Falls.
As a band leader you need to think…
It’s important to have a holistic view of the service you are directing the band in. Your outlook needs to be wider than just a song, a set, or even a service but also the series your church is focusing on and the season it is in. This will guide your decision-making process, and ensure that everything you’re doing is in alignment with the leadership around and above you.
When you’re directing a band, you need to be able to ‘speak the language’ of instruments other than your own. The difference from just playing in a band to directing one is not just knowing your own parts but everyone’s parts, and making sure they fit together. It’s super important that you are able to articulate yourself to the other musicians around you in a way that they can understand clearly.
We need to have our spiritual eyes open! We always come musically prepared, but it’s just as important to be spiritually prepared too. Take the time to let the Holy Spirit speak to you before you speak to your people. There will be times that you’ll need to discern the atmosphere you’re leading the band into, to guide your decision making. This way when the worship leader, meeting leader or preacher is looking to go somewhere, you can be right there with them.
Don’t be afraid of ideas! Have you done this song every week for the past month? Change it! Different arrangements and instrumentation can give a song fresh life and keep it alive for not only the congregation, but the band too. This is also a great way to give your team some ownership, by asking for their ideas in the process, and working out the arrangement together.
A song is like a train, it’s going to keep moving on the same track until you call something! Be succinct and articulate when you talk. The time for lengthy explanations is in sound check, not during the set. Set up new sections with enough time to spare and with as little words as possible. You can still be encouraging and to-the-point at the same time. This is especially important when things go wrong. Stay calm, and QUICKLY decide your solution, then communicate it straight away.
Remember to be encouraging, be bold and have fun!