Because in the actual, local church, every musician isn’t skinny and in their twenties. In most cases, praise band members represent a wider age span. I’m not faulting big churches for hiring beautiful teenagers to lead worship, but we have to understand that leading worship in the real world is very, very different.
There are benefits and challenges to musicians both young and old and I think it’s helpful to think about those that when it comes to your team. Do you know what sort of “age obstacles” your folks face? Do you have a plan to help them grow as musicians and Christ followers?
For the purposes of this post, I’m speaking of young players who have achieved a technical proficiency that would grant them the right to play in an all-church event. I’m not talking about teenager with two years of guitar lessons, but rather older teens and young adults who can hit their marks consistently.
+ QUICK STUDY: Most young players have good musical memory. They rarely need much in the way of charts or notation. Part of this is due to their ability to catch the “vibe” or overall direction of a musical piece without much explanation. Because they’re young, they probably listen to a lot of music, which helps them in a worship setting wherein a couple of different genres may be utilized.
– STUBBORN: Young players will often be resistant to varying views on what “success” looks like in a worship setting. One of the negative side effects of the modern worship movement is that it has taken a specific few valid, Biblical worship responses/expressions and prioritized them as the proof that worship has happened. You’ll find young musicians more easily discouraged by subtle or even subdued worship services.
In this context, “old” has more to do with experience than age. (Lots of guys in their 50’s buy guitars and try to learn classic rock tunes, you know.) The category we’re discussing is represented by men and women who have played in (and out) of church for many years.
+ POCKETS: Players with years of experience are wonderful at staying out of each other’s way. They years have taught them how to listen to the other players and find musical pockets to fill. Older players seem to understand both the give-and-take of live music as well as the value of simple parts played confidently.
– CYNICAL: Older players are a bit more suspicious of new ideas. To many of them, “real music” has nothing to do with fads, or what’s popular at the moment. Because of that, there may be push back when it comes to departures from what’s normal (or what’s been successful.) These folks have seen it all and they’re more than willing to tell you when they they you’re reaching too far.
Next week, I’ll be sharing some tips on how you can encourage and challenge your team understanding some of these age challenges.
We’ll end the post with a survey: What’s the average age of a praise band member in your church?