I have been blessed by the lord with the talent to play keyboard, brass, woodwinds and just about any other instrument or combination you can think of, as well as being talented in writing and arranging; however, ot is painful to listen to me sing.......is there any hope of becoming a worship leader or should I just stick with being in the band?

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I actually played on a team for a Christian Conference where the team leader was a piano/keyboard player that doesn't really sing. He was still able to pick out the songs, set practice and guide the general direction of the team, but left the actual execution of the vocals to two other people (male & female vocalist). This went really well. I also know a amazing cello player who does a thing where he will 'start' to sing or lead a song, but then lets his team carry it through. So he has even more control. In that case, he also does much of the talking between songs and introductions as well.

I think often there can be a team leader and a lead vocalist. It happens in the secular industry as well. In the band 'Santana', Carlos Santana doesn't actually sing, but is still very responsible for the musical direction of the team and composes most of the music and song layouts.

So with that said, I think it's where you think you are being called. If you feel called, then go for it. If you feel a passion for it, I think the church is always looking for 'leaders'.

p.s. have you thought about vocal lessons? Maybe that's a route. It's never too late to learn some new skills (or unlearn some bad ones)... not everything is innate. =)
Hey Bill, I've heard a number of worship leaders who sing poorly, but I don't think I've seen any that can't sing at all. Have you ever thought of taking vocal lessons? You might be surprised at what is hidden inside, but just hasn't had the chance to come out yet via good training.

But...if in the end you still are struggling with vocals, then I would encourage you to find a worship team where the leader can sing but can't play any instrument. Become their 'right hand' on the keyboard, so that they can put power and feeling into their singing, knowing that you've got them covered. I've seen some voice-only worship leaders who struggle because the band isn't feeling the song, and therefore not making it very easy for the worship leader to really enter into the worship time.

Take a look at this video of Bishop Garlington, and listen to the piano player in the background. He is amazing at matching music to the Bishop's preaching. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wOoQHE8qJs I've heard Pastor Garlington preach and it was amazing to have that piano all through the message - it added so much. I talked with Garlington afterwards, and he said his piano player had been with him 16 years! Talk about a matched team.

Maybe this will be you? God's blessings as you seek Him.
Agreeing with Wayne. When we first started our worship band, we were aiming for a "singalong" thing and I knew that I was NOT the person who could stand up in front and be all enthusiastic and goofy, so we brought in somebody else to be the "song leader" person. But I picked the songs, prepared the chord charts, set up the PA, all that other "leader" stuff, and eventually, when Paul went off to do other things, I stepped into the song leader role (I think by that time we'd figured out that we didn't really want a campfire singalong type service, so my less enthusiastic style worked out okay. Plus, by then, I knew the bass parts well enough that I could play bass and sing at the same time :-)

Now, if you're aiming for a paid staff position as "worship leader" at a church, lack of singing may be an obstacle (especially in smaller churches where they're probably thinking, "if Bill is the only person who shows up this week, we can still have church..."), but there are ways to deal with that, too... I know the last time our church hired a worship leader, we brought the candidates in and had each of them play for a little while with the band. So you just need to be ready with enough of a variety of songs that you can say to the band, "okay, we're going to do (current hot worship song), who knows it and would like to sing lead?" and if nobody knows it, be ready with "Lord I Lift Your Name on High," too. And be able to transpose in your head so that you can move the song up or down a few steps so that it's comfortable for whoever is singing." Basically, if you come into an audition and can make the band members feel like, "hey this is somebody who will help us do well, who will give us a chance to sing lead now and then" you may score higher in the band members' minds than the person who comes in who plays and sings really well and expects the rest of the band to just follow them.

And, of course, keep working on your own singing so that on that Sunday when Bill is the only guy in the band who shows up, you can still have church :-)

I've seen cases where the "leader" is not the lead vocalist. I've led worship myself that way. (no one wants to hear me sing!)

I remember visiting a church where the piano player didn't sing a note, but was totally in charge and directing the team. I don't know that someone would specifically hire a worship leader who couldn't sing, but it can be done.
A Bible college nearby has a worship team that travels around and the leader...a guitarist who doesn't sing.
Thanks for the input and encouragement...vocal lessons are a great idea!


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