Okay, here's a question for everyone... do you allow your team to use music stands on the platform during services? I know lots of people have opinions on this topic. I personally see a bit of both sides. I don't like a bunch of music stands across the front of the platform as it doesn't look good visually, but people using iPads on smaller stands that take up less real estate is less annoying visually. However, the biggest issue of course is how stuck people are in their stands. When I see a worship team where everyone is buried in their stand the whole time, it's frustrating. Someone that is so focused on a chord chart that they can't just worship and help to lead the congregation... that is someone that isn't fully doing their job in my opinion.

I don't mind if someone has a chart in front of them. I personally love having my iPad with OnSong loaded up so I have charts and my personal notes. However I don't look at it much in the middle of the service. It's more of an occasional reference if/when needed... usually to make sure I don't mess up lyrics. :) But I am aware and make sure that I'm not just eyes down on the screen all the time.

For some people, they can't keep their eyes off of their stands if it's there. They'll look just because it's there. Just like the congregation has a tendency to watch the screen for lyrics the whole time, even if they know the lyrics and don't really need the help. So some need to not have a stand so they're forced to engage and also forced to prepare more and make sure they really learn the music to begin with.

Just some of my thoughts. Anyone else? What's your experience, suggestions, etc?

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If the music is constantly changing week by week to suit the service/theme then music stands are a necessity. In my church we cover a years worth of music so it's almost impossible to remember the set lists. I find it doesn't hinder leading the worship.


I have mentioned about why some may need a stand etc, but here is something else to think about, that will either, be easy to accept ( because they are open minded and free in God) or get under some peoples skin, because, they are too vain or too entrenched in tradition or close minded.

Ok, I am going to throw up another thought that has been mentioned before, but to include it in this scenario too. That is WHY have a platform/ stage at all? It is not necessary at all for the musicians to play on one and be seem by the congregation, as they are NOT performing for an audience. Even in some church the pastors don't use the stage or raised platform to teach/ preach from as they want to engage the people.

Back up to the 60's churches used to have a "song" leader who would beat out the time , like a metronome up front, now we have drums and bass to do that. Also, choir groups would be on the side and they would stand and increase the volume and quality of the songs, as well as lead the congregation into worship (in tune), when they only had a pump organ and maybe a piano.

Things change, but (some) worship leaders are still trying to hold the alter for themselves. That sounds harsh, I know but some leaders, like some musicians have egos as big as the Hoover Dam,lol  and they don't need a platform as well. 

So, if you don't like seeing the music stands from the congregation side, take the musicians off the stage and put them on the same level as everyone else as they are, and should be treated as lovingly as everyone else.

When the worship leader invites the church to rise and sing she or he is already standing and can be seen and heard by all. And everyone knows what to do from there on, Worship God, not worry about what the band is doing or who is leading or who has music stands or using a 6th Gen. Ipad etc.

Just a thought.......


Funny you mention that Alan, we don't have a raised platform deliberately so that we are more in touch and part of the congregation, perhaps thats way the stands don't hinder our communication. ... Phil

If I am to drop the stand, I need to memorize. If I am to memorize, I need to know what. If I am to sound like the recording, most of the time I already know I am going to fail, as I am one instrument where four are required in many cases. If I am to play with others with the recording in mind, I need to know that they are going to make a similar attempt to replicate the section structure, feel and sound of the recording. This is not guaranteed. I need to rehearse regularly and repeat songs with others the way we are going to play them, because to play together well, we need to play together. Also, this is not guaranteed, as midweek rehearsals are often canceled due to people being unavailable. Talent, desire, and children's baseball games, musical productions, and health do not often synchronize, and our depth chart at each position is often one person. Therefore, most of the time I am prepared to improvise a vaguely recording-y sounding riff, or strum, or arpeggio, on the fly, especially when we are doing a new song which we are playing together for the first time one hour before the service starts, and especially since none of us are ready to confidently step in to a Nashville recording studio, and yet some of us are defensive enough about it to resist suggestions and change. And most of the time, I am not attempting to replicate the tones and effects of the song, but am trying to quickly improvise a sound that will work with what we have available at the moment we must play, something that will be less distracting than playing the recording's main simple delay riff with cavernous reverb along with dry keyboard or acoustic piano playing full CCLI chart and bass playing roots. And the tempi (because there never seems to be just one) being sped up, and the little syncopations being squared off to "hymnify" the songs for the comfort of an aging congregation.  The chord chart provides just that  little bit of comfort in these cases, which of course over time have become every case. So, then, for each song I have a few different ways to play depending upon who shows up at the last minute, the key idea for me being "prepared to improvise", which of course offends the sensibilities of many opinions I have read which equate improvisation with lack of preparation. But there it is.

I always would prefer to have that chart there in front of me and have never tried to make people on my teams NOT use a music stand. I encourage people not to get buried in it and stare at it the whole service though. :) Definitely is nice though to have the comfort of knowing it's there for that occasional reminder of lyrics or the progression of the upcoming bridge, personal notes, etc.


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