Ten Ways to Improve Your Worship Team

Featuring Mark Cole Posted on April 1, 2008

1. Model worship.
Real worship is contagious. As you follow after God and really worship Him, you are teaching your worship team to worship. Your actions speak much louder than your words. When people realize that you are passionate about God and passionate about worshipping Him, it will motivate them to seek that passion for their own lives. Jesus taught by example. He preached, cast out demons and healed the sick. What did his disciples do? They preached, cast out demons and healed the sick. If Jesus had just talked about it and not done it, they never would have learned. They learned by following His example.

You life, especially your relationship with God and your passion for worshipping Him will speak volumes. By all means teach about worship, but more importantly live it out. When people see you worshipping and praising God with your whole heart, it will spark a hunger in them.

2. Model musical excellence in your worship.
Good musicians have a way of helping other musicians come up to their level. It doesn't happen overnight, sometimes it takes months and years. If you continually model excellence with humility, it will inspire you musicians to a higher level.

3. Encourage your musicians to take lessons on their instruments.
I've seen whole groups improve dramatically as they all decided to take lessons and improve. Find out who are the best teachers in your area and take lessons. It’s always great to have a Christian teacher but if none are available find the best teacher, whoever they are. Great music principles can be learned from most teachers.

4. Constantly put great new worship songs in front of them.
A fresh flow of great music will inspire your musicians. Nothing will sap their motivation faster than just playing the same old stuff over and over. There is so much great music available. The leader just needs to do his or her homework and listen to the great worship recordings that are available.

5. Give them tapes and CD's of the music you want them to learn in advance.
One of the main ways musicians learn is by copying other musicians. Most musicians learn easier from listening than by reading music.

6. Give your musicians well prepared charts.
I never go to rehearsals without full charts for the songs that I'm going to do. This can be as basic as just having the words typed out with the chords marked over them in appropriate places, to having proper melody and harmony lines written out in proper musical form. In 1993, I decided to write full vocal, rhythm and brass charts out for my worship band and it made a huge difference. The players reading ability increased dramatically and the overall sound improved many times over.

7. Have great rehearsals.
There is no substitute for good rehearsal time. Expect full participation in rehearsals and demand excellence. I try and treat my players like professionals. Professionals are expected to show up on time and be ready to play at the appointed time. Don’t waste your musicians' time. Their time is just as valuable as yours. It goes back to the Golden Rule, "Treat others as you want to be treated." I don’t want to feel like an evening of mine has been wasted because someone didn’t do the proper preparation. If the musicians see that the rehearsals are energized and valuable they will make time in their lives to attend.

Keep your rehearsals well paced. Always have more music ready than what you have time to rehearse. If you feel things dragging, shift to something different.

8. Work on getting a great vocal sound.
Investing time into your vocalists will pay off with rich rewards. As they are trained to sing with excellence, they will be more equipped to lead with confidence and sing from their hearts. Here is a quick list of things to consider.

- When you work with the vocalist make sure they are doing the following things correctly.
- Singing in tune
- Holding the notes the same length
- Singing the proper rhythm
- Breathing in the same place
- Memorizing the music
- Enunciating the words correctly
- Singing the right harmonies and melody
- Listening and adjusting to blend properly
- Not rushing the tempo or dragging
- Using proper microphone technique
- Smiling and using good body language on the platform
- Remind the singers to worship as they sing

9. Develop a great rhythm section.
Getting a great rhythm sound from part-time musicians can be challenging. Here are a number of areas to work on.
- Make sure all the instruments are tuned properly:
- Make sure everyone listens to each other:
- All players need to develop a good sense of time.
- Decide which instrument will be the lead sound on that particular song.
- Use metronomes to count off the songs.
- Each player should know how to read a basic rhythm chart.
- A rhythm section needs to develop a wide range of understanding for different musical styles.
- Rhythm sections also need to learn to play by ear.
- Understanding where the ‘kick’ and ‘snare’ go in a musical style.

10. Teach on worship.
Our job as leaders is to make disciples. As musicians we want to not only train people to be good musicians but also great disciples of Jesus. Learning to be a worshipper is a life long calling. Teach your musicians about worshippers and worship in the Bible. Encourage them to read books on worship. Bring them to conferences where there are great worshippers and worship leaders. Show them videos and DVD’s of great worshipping churches. Most of all, teach them to fall in love with Jesus every day. True worship grows from our love relationship with the King of King and the Lord of Lords.

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