When Church drummer doesn’t listen

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A good friend of mine in Alabama recently ended a church drumming gig after twenty-five years.

Leaving was bittersweet, but he was no longer enjoying it. Twenty-five years of a single gig is something to be proud of.
I did the same for 20+ yrs plus street ministry.
Understand the burn out.
 

Burps

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Its not about the performance
I totally agree! In one sense. I know what you're getting at, and you're right.

But couldn't it also be true that it IS about the performance, in another sense? It's true that playing church music is not meant to be "entertainment." But if the music is distracting, for whatever reason, isn't that a problem? If someone leads a song in church, they should have the talent and ability to do it well. Too many times the one without much talent is up there singing, while the truly gifted one is sitting in the pew, not using their gift for the blessing it gives others. It can be the same with instrumentalists. Sometimes the person up there is a novice or isn't really ready to play at a good level, but the one who truly has the gift of playing well is not up there playing good music for the benefit of the church.

Sometimes the sound-tech people don't know what they're doing either, and some don't seem to care, and as a result can make it very unpleasant for the congregation. Too often we settle for mediocrity, and that is not a good thing. It's true that we are all not the greatest musicians or singers. We all have different degrees of ability. I understand that. But we should be striving for the best that we can do. Sometimes it won't be that good. But we should always strive to give our best since it IS about Who we are supposedly doing it for.
 

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I totally agree! In one sense. I know what you're getting at, and you're right.

But couldn't it also be true that it IS about the performance, in another sense? It's true that playing church music is not meant to be "entertainment." But if the music is distracting, for whatever reason, isn't that a problem? If someone leads a song in church, they should have the talent and ability to do it well. Too many times the one without much talent is up there singing, while the truly gifted one is sitting in the pew, not using their gift for the blessing it gives others. It can be the same with instrumentalists. Sometimes the person up there is a novice or isn't really ready to play at a good level, but the one who truly has the gift of playing well is not up there playing good music for the benefit of the church.

Sometimes the sound-tech people don't know what they're doing either, and some don't seem to care, and as a result can make it very unpleasant for the congregation. Too often we settle for mediocrity, and that is not a good thing. It's true that we are all not the greatest musicians or singers. We all have different degrees of ability. I understand that. But we should be striving for the best that we can do. Sometimes it won't be that good. But we should always strive to give our best since it IS about Who we are supposedly doing it for.
Totally agreed.
 

Dumpy

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I used to be invited to play at a church. I went to one rehearsal and saw what would have qualified as a band dictator and saw myself out. I could just tell that I was going to hate every moment as the band dictator was condescending in every way possible and it wasn’t going to work for me. I am certain this isn’t every church gig by any means, but I saw everything I needed to see in one rehearsal. After being the figurative frog in boiling water in several previous situations, I learned to see a bad situation from miles away, PLUS I was a not a member of the congregation. No place to go but down, unfortunately.

I’ll go to church where they play organs, thank you :)
 

WesChilton

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I played in a Houston church band for about a year... that was more than I could stand. After that I started working at a studio that made backing tracks for churches that couldn't afford bands (as well as commercial music and radio bumpers). WAY cooler gig. I did that for almost 5 years before I moved up to Boston.

This is just my observation, but anyone who doesn't think that church music is absolutely about entertainment doesn't understand psychology or church politics. LOL.
 

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True,but money or performance are not the objectives.
I hear ya, but there's just not enough pros to go around. But really, it's OK. There's room for all kinds in music, which is why it's important to keep music education in schools. There is true value (cultural, recreational, etc.) in having a large number of people in a society who are able to play music for a variety of situations that shouldn't require anything more than a hobbyist. Like, gather around the piano/guitar to sing Christmas songs, songs around the campfire, play Happy Birthday, or play songs from that old Hymnal at a funeral. Sadly, fewer and fewer kids take private piano or other instrument lessons starting at a young age, and a shrinking pool of capable musicians just isn't good for anyone.

I will say though, a hobbyist can really up their game by learning new songs and performing weekly in a praise/worship band if they really apply themselves. I took on playing piano (luckily I took lessons as a kid, and studied both classical and jazz theory in college), and went from awful to pretty dang competent in a couple of years of intense weekly preparation, practice, and performance. Nothing like a truly attentive and participating crowd to light a fire under you and make you better. You just have to be the kind of person who wants to be better.
 

Mcjnic

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Well ... it also depends on your church.
There are plenty of very well established musicians playing worship in the church.
They don't do it for money ... obviously.
Spend some time checking out the different churches that have some of these insanely talented people playing and singing.
That'll put the sparkle on your shine.
I can think of one really cool church in Tenessee ... some AMAZING talent leading worship there. Recording legends.
There are quite a few others ... wanted to mention that one. Literally, blew my mind.
Also, plenty in Texas, Florida, Arkansas, etc etc etc.
I think we have a natural blinded focus on topics like this because it's our sphere of existence.
It's the "I don't see it on my street, so it must not be" kinda thing.
Considering the volume of churches out there ... you're odds of finding highly talented musicians is pretty darn good.
Your odds of finding recording legends like the ones I'm speaking of ... probably less so, but they are there. Just ask someone.
 

Tornado

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Well ... it also depends on your church.
There are plenty of very well established musicians playing worship in the church.
They don't do it for money ... obviously.
Spend some time checking out the different churches that have some of these insanely talented people playing and singing.
That'll put the sparkle on your shine.
I can think of one really cool church in Tenessee ... some AMAZING talent leading worship there. Recording legends.
There are quite a few others ... wanted to mention that one. Literally, blew my mind.
Also, plenty in Texas, Florida, Arkansas, etc etc etc.
I think we have a natural blinded focus on topics like this because it's our sphere of existence.
It's the "I don't see it on my street, so it must not be" kinda thing.
Considering the volume of churches out there ... you're odds of finding highly talented musicians is pretty darn good.
Your odds of finding recording legends like the ones I'm speaking of ... probably less so, but they are there. Just ask someone.
It definitely depends on the church. The big ones that have the amazing musicians absolutely do pay them, though it isn't the primary motivation. However, most US churches have fewer than 100 weekly in attendance, and something around 90 percent are fewer than 500 members. The megachurch with the pro level players, sound system, lighting, is the minority by far.
 

Mcjnic

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It definitely depends on the church. The big ones that have the amazing musicians absolutely do pay them, though it isn't the primary motivation. However, most US churches have fewer than 100 weekly in attendance, and something around 90 percent are fewer than 500 members. The megachurch with the pro level players, sound system, lighting, is the minority by far.
The church I'm referencing there in Tenessee is actually small. Holds maybe a hundred? It's just a small city church that happens to have some ridiculously talented people living close by.
I've honestly never attended a mega church.
Most all the churches I'm speaking of are relatively small ... maybe 300 max for the biggest?
Heck, even my local church has some incredible musicians every now and again. Recording artists that step in occassionally.

Here's some friends of mine that makeup the worship team at one of the churches in Tennessee ...
That's Ron Hemby (Imperials), Aaron and Johnny Minick ... ridiculously talented worship team.

 
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lossforgain

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This is just my observation, but anyone who doesn't think that church music is absolutely about entertainment doesn't understand psychology or church politics. LOL.
I'll agree that there are churches where politics (human interactions) rule, but anyone who's in it for spiritual reasons would agree that's not supposed to be the point at all. Some churches get it and some don't. The Christian music industry has an entertainment component by its very nature, and there are some who focus on the "music business" angle. Then there are some who don't. Just like in @Dumpy 's post above, where he had a bad experience, he said I'm sure not all churches are like that -- we can't paint everyone with the same brush when it comes to what it's like to play music in church. I was just having a conversation with someone else here about the different church-playing experiences we've had. And man, I've had a wide variety, so I can only imagine how many different situations we could come up with if we were all being specific.
 

Dumpy

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I'll agree that there are churches where politics (human interactions) rule, but anyone who's in it for spiritual reasons would agree that's not supposed to be the point at all. Some churches get it and some don't. The Christian music industry has an entertainment component by its very nature, and there are some who focus on the "music business" angle. Then there are some who don't. Just like in @Dumpy 's post above, where he had a bad experience, he said I'm sure not all churches are like that -- we can't paint everyone with the same brush when it comes to what it's like to play music in church. I was just having a conversation with someone else here about the different church-playing experiences we've had. And man, I've had a wide variety, so I can only imagine how many different situations we could come up with if we were all being specific.
Absolutely not painting with a broad brush. There were other components in this decision, as well. And maybe if I would’ve known the other members of the congregation (besides the person who invited me). In the end, this should be for a higher purpose.
 


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