9 Worship Band Leading Mistakes: Which Ones Are You Making?

  • Written By 
  • Shalon Palmer
worship band leading mistakes

I’m going to be completely honest. Through my years of leading worship bands, I’ve flopped on my face too many times to count. Besides actually seeing someone get punched on stage, I’ve seen most problems that a band could run into.

Here are a few tips that can get you a long way!

1. Lead By Example

Simply showing up on time and completely prepared for rehearsal goes a long way when you’re asking others in your worship band to do it. Lead the way for excellence in every area of your life. The pressure is on you. It’s tough, but it’s the job you signed up for.

This means being fully prepared and doing everything you can to help others be prepared. And one last thing, please memorize the music, don’t read it!

2. Give Others Opportunities To Lead

As a leader, one of your goals is to raise up new leaders and help them grow to their highest potential. Whether it’s helping a new singer lead a song, assigning leadership tasks to others in the band, or letting another worship leader pick songs. People will begin to take ownership of something that they are responsible for.

Nothing will take your worship band farther than a group of empowered leaders. Not to mention it will help with your task management.

3. Assign Guitar Parts To Your Guitarists

If you have multiple guitarists, don’t make them guess who is playing what parts. I believe that the best way to do this is with WorshipOnline.com. We separate and teach the parts, so you don’t have to worry.  You’d be surprised at the tension it can cause guitar players just to wander if they are playing the leads or not.

Then things really escalate when they both show up wanting to play the same thing. I’ve actually written a full post on this exact topic you can find here.

4. Pre-Rehearsal Meetings

I’ve found that these meetings can be a game changer for rehearsal. Have this after everyone is set-up and ready. Having everybody’s full attention (while they’re not fiddling with their instrument) and talking through the set can clear up a lot of questions and errors before you even get started. You can also answer any questions in front of everybody, so you don’t have to answer it again later.

This is a great time to talk through unfamiliar material and make sure everyone is on the same page. This can really help rehearsal flow a lot smoother. I’ve also written a post on why you should have a post-worship meeting as well.

5. Not Practicing

I’m not talking about just practicing the songs for Sunday; I’m talking about really practicing your instrument. Get better at it! I’ll be blunt, so many “church musicians” are horrible. It’s time to raise the bar. Your worship band needs to have someone to follow that they can respect musically. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that great musicians attract other great musicians.

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6. Make Them Feel Important…Because They Are

People are our most valuable resource. Never take them for granted. It’s easy for volunteer musicians to get burned out. Appreciate them. Show them that you are willing to lay down your life for them. Every so often, have a sit down conversation with them individually. Buy them coffee or lunch and hear their thoughts and opinions.

7. Keep the Stage Tidy and Organized

I can’t tell how many junk piles I’ve seen hidden behind pianos, or clusters of cables on stages. This goes hand in hand with the excellence that God desires from us.  Speaking psychologically, an untidy stage can really set the atmosphere for other things like practice …or even attitudes.

8. Spend Extra Time On Transitions!

Transitions are how you go from one song to the next. Great worship bands have great transitions. Transitions can make or break a set. Remember to work on them.

9. Pray With Your Worship Band

Prayer is number one. Please pray with your band often. A worship band centered around Christ leads the way for a church centered around Christ.

We will always make mistakes; the important thing is to learn from them. And never be too prideful to apologize!

This list is in no way conclusive. I know that some of you guys have more tips for us. What did I miss? Share below in the comments!

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