Playing on a Worship Band...

Posted by: GracieCat

Playing on a Worship Band... - 01/08/13 08:46 PM

I've been gone for awhile and have really changed the focus of my practicing and playing...

Anyway, I'm starting to alternate with the keyboardist in our church band. He's very talented and leads from behind the keys. (It's a little intimidating knowing I don't have his skill, but it doesn't bother me.)

I don't have near the experience on the piano as I feel I need. I know my chords, and have no problem playing with the team. Problem is when there is an intro that is piano led. I get nervous, my heart beats so hard I play too fast and I can hardly get my fingers to move. They keep telling me it will go away and I'll become comfortable playing in front. (It's been a few weeks now.)

In practice I'm not nervous. I'm also not nervous playing WITH the band in front of everyone. It's when I'm leading into a song by myself. (We have an acoustic guitar, bass guitar and drummer...contemporary music.)

Does the nerves go away so I can actually play? It's only been 4 weeks in front of everyone. I've been practicing with them for 5 months.

Just looking for encouragement or words of wisdom. I think things will get better as I get comfortable up there. I hope it's soon!
Posted by: Charles Cohen

Re: Playing on a Worship Band... - 01/08/13 11:58 PM

I agree with you -- "stage fright" tends to disappear with experience, so you should be OK. Give it some more time.

I played in a samba band for several years, and got used to performing in public. But it was a bit of jump from that, to being a (very audible) part of a trio doing religious chanting. After a while, I got used to the mic.

I have heard stories of orchestral musicians -- experienced people -- who had such bad anxiety that they took beta-blockers to slow their heart rate during performance. I'd consider that a last resort.

. Charles
Posted by: peterws

Re: Playing on a Worship Band... - 01/09/13 09:18 AM

Let it ROCK gurl! Sock it to `em . . .Hold nothing back. He held nothin back for us . . . I used to lead worship although I coundn`t and still can`t sing; I started the vocals and stopped as soon as the rest of `em fired up!

What is there to fear? The congregation are for you; so are the rest of the band. . . .keep it simple to begin with! Very best wishes . . .
Posted by: Brian Lucas

Re: Playing on a Worship Band... - 01/09/13 01:28 PM

Originally Posted By: GracieCat
I get nervous, my heart beats so hard I play too fast and I can hardly get my fingers to move. They keep telling me it will go away and I'll become comfortable playing in front. (It's been a few weeks now.)
Yes and no. Yes, it gets easier the more you do it. But it's not just a nerves thing. Sometimes when I watch a recording of myself playing solo I think "Man, that is fast". But at the time, it felt normal. The problem is an adrenaline rush that makes fast seem normal.

What you can do to overcome this is to practice with a metronome considerably slower than the song actually is. I've found that getting into a slower groove while practicing helps me stick to the original tempo. For the performance, if there's a drummer, have him/her count it off. I often have to rely on a drummer because to this day I still tend to rush when the adrenaline is pumping.
Posted by: GracieCat

Re: Playing on a Worship Band... - 01/09/13 04:02 PM

Very good idea about practicing with the metronome slower than what it should be. Two weeks ago I started asking the drummer for the BPM of each song we play and I note it. I'll just slow it down when I practice. Good idea!

Reminds me of a story my mother used to tell about my older brother. He came home from school one day and told her that he was the best singer in the class. She asked him how he knew that and he said he knew because he was always the first to finish!

Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Playing on a Worship Band... - 01/09/13 06:33 PM

"Stage-fright" never disappears. Olivier still got nervous even in his last few years.

BUT it's just a normal nervous reaction to the release of adrenaline. Happens to all good (conscientious) performers.

You'll find once you've overcome a few mistakes and you know that you DO overcome mistakes it's only the moments before you start that you get nervous and the 'butterflies' are not actually unpleasant.

I've done years of theatre, playing gigs in a band, singing in public and when I read at mass I still get nervous during the Gloria but it's gone before I reach the lectern.
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: Playing on a Worship Band... - 01/09/13 10:07 PM

Well, playing in a worship band is an awesome opportunity. I love listening to the awsome youtube video songs that we used to sing in church. I still go to youtube and search of the best of worhship songs of 2007 and then go forward and they will give the best 10 songs of that year.

Firstly, you have God on your side. In my case, I am so bad that even Satan won't take me so there is no chance that Jesus or God will save me. But we all die alone, so it is important to live your life fully.

When you play the piano, the first thing you learn is to practice and practice. Remember how torrible your piano playing was on the first day of learning the piano, and now look at you. We would all love your opportunity to play in the worship band so remember to enjoy these moment because in six months you will have more experience and be very relaxed.
Posted by: Charles Cohen

Re: Playing on a Worship Band... - 01/11/13 01:06 AM

There's an 18-page chapter on stage fright in this (well-reviewed) book:

"The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness" - Gerald Klickstein

Might be worth reading . . . I don't have it, yet.

. Charles
Posted by: Sand Tiger

Re: Playing on a Worship Band... - 01/11/13 05:53 PM

Certainly it gets better, however, the nerves never go away. The musician's way book and blog is a good resource for performers. An old blog entry had this four part way to begin:

center - connect - count - begin

http://musiciansway.com/blog/2012/06/launching-the-first-phrase/

The book has stories of different methods that some performers use to help with nerves. Some use breathing and visualization. A deep breath before starting is cliche, but many forget to do it, or think they don't need it. When I get very nervous, closing my eyes helps me. Obviously this may not be a good idea when playing in a band vs. playing solo.

Good luck. I'm sure you'll grow into it. If you were truly terrified, you would have never have accepted the gig. Understand that perfection tends to be a dream for most musicians, and only the most trained ears in the audience tend to notice any flaws that the perfectionist musician may feel is a big mistake.
Posted by: riley80

Re: Playing on a Worship Band... - 01/11/13 07:23 PM

If you are setting the tempo, sit for a few seconds and 'hear' in your mind how you want your intro to sound - then play away. I find this always tends to slow things down to a non- nervous point.

Is this a paid position?

Just for Whom are you playing, and I don't mean the church. Keep that in mind at all times.
Posted by: Densi826

Re: Playing on a Worship Band... - 01/11/13 10:06 PM

Believe it or not I actually worship Lucifer and like to lead to lead worship rituals as well. The key thing is to remember is that Thor is watching everything you think.
Posted by: Densi826

Re: Playing on a Worship Band... - 01/12/13 02:24 PM

On a different note (as my last one had a sightly intoxicated tone) I have no idea on how to lead worship. Some of us have just got different/no gods.