This is a very hard thing for me to even post, or talk about....I worry about 'judging' others, and I greatly fear causing a problem or hurting anyone's feelings.  What is the best thing to do???? If my church worship team has a drummer who plays like a marching band through songs that 'I' imagine should be played quietly, sweetly, Holy? This is a person who I love dearly and is greatly loved in my church....He has a heart for the Lord that I admire and strive to 'be' like.....I greatly look up to him in both friendship and leadership.  But I feel that his playing is disruptive.....I am not 'on' the worship team, and I do not even want to 'talk to' any other of the worship team, in fear of 'sowing' negative seeds into our team.  I certainly 'could not' do better.....meanwhile I just pray...

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I don't think it's important enough to say anything. Unfortunately, you're not "in" with this team and what you're describing is more or less a matter of opinion anyhow. It's a common theme - I had to teach our drummer to play differently - more quietly - through some of our songs. It took time, but we're now at a better place. Just my 2 cents.

I totally agree with Stevo here.  Your WL, I'm sure, has enough on his plate and enough complaints.  Encourage heavily, but keep your opinions on the dislikes to yourself...

I agree with Stevo. Trying to steer from the backseat can be a pretty hazardous approach. Perhaps just pray for a change (without letting it become an obsession in your prayer life); ask that the drummer can get a gentle steer from one of the team members or will hear something that inspires him to experiment with a more varied approach.

If you have any musical credentials yourself, it might be time to see if you can join the team (not just to fix this one issue but to share the load and be in a position where you can have more influence). If not, perhaps you should take up drums ;-)

Remember that principle of walking a mile in someone's shoes (and not because that means you have their shoes and you're a mile away!).

You're a musician and he's a musician.  You're brothers in Christ  go talk to him.    Though  the important thing (as I'm learning)  is to listen.     

Talk about God and life. Do not talk about his drumming.  But you do share in music so talk about music.  You can talk about the music you like and the music he likes.  Maybe he'll listen to something different and so will you.  That way both of you extend your knowledge; of God, other people and music.



If you guys have a channel of communication from the congregation to various ministries, that could be helpful. In other words, if they are used to getting comments and suggestions, who is the person that receives them? The band leader? I get comments from time to time for us to consider. 

If I get what you're after - you think the drummer should adjust his playing when the songs warrant it. Quite and gentle for quiet songs, more robust for faster songs, etc. Is this correct? It reminds me very much of our drummer who was very good when he came on board, but we had to work with him to understand how to play with the spirit and mood of the song in mind. It took time, but we got there and he's superb.

It did occur to me - you mentioned that he's a friend? Do you already have rapport with him? 

You can't go wrong by praying about it, and through prayer perhaps God in His infinite wisdom will give you an opening to talk with this person or come up with another solution altogether.

I know by other posts you have written that you are a very diplomatic person and if you decide to talk, then I am sure you will do it with sensitivity and a tactful approach.

Some musicians are fabulous at what they do, and I am sure this guy in one of them, but unfortunately they can lack  sensitivity when it comes to worship music. The guy you talk about sounds a lovely, sensible person who probably hasn't got the first clue that he is coming on a bit strong.

When I have had to deal with situations such as this, and it is never easy, I tend to get around hurting the persons feelings by being very positive and complimentary about what they are doing and then get around to saying something like 'I liked the quiet gentle song that the worhip band did, but it's sometimes hard to keep it gentle when you have a talent like yours. I was hopeless at keeping it down when I first started out, but I'm learning'.  In other words, it's dropping a huge hint and giving the other person food for thought, without actually accusing the person.

It may or may not work, but just a thought.



These replies are all wonderfully receptive and encouraging. Thank you for  such kind and balanced answers.  I think I am going to take the Ecclesastical approach...."to everything there is a season".  There are many people involved who I just love too much to cause discomfort and risk sowing discord.  So I think I am going to just be patient and 'eat' my opinion for the time being.  I have not doubt that if 'I' hear it....the rest of the team also hears it, and so does my friend.  I know that his heart is to give his very best to the Lord in every thing...including worship.  I will have to include this in the promise that 'He'.....will bring to completion that which He started in us.  Thank you everyone.

Every drummer I have worked with was passionate about both drumming and their role in making good music for worship.  Every drummer I have worked with came from some other background than church; unlike a vocalist or keyboard, you can't just set up another set beside the main set for a drummer to apprentice (we tried that once~~~<(:-{   ).  One had grown up on big-band, followed direction marvelously, but the rock guitarists hated his style; another was the marching-band sort whose drum-heads were deeply pitted from his pounding; another was a philosopher who told me, "Greg, the nature of drums is to be loud.  They don't sound good any other way."  Yet another knows subtlety, but insists the youth will flee from the church in droves if he plays quietly, so loudness is "missional."

An additional factor is that drumming is quite a complex set of actions, approximately as complex as playing an organ, sometimes moreso -- it's hard to find a drummer who can make a breath-pause or effective decrescendo, two activities which keyboardists, singers and guitarists can do instinctively.  The mechanical difficulty of playing fifteen instruments in coordination, two of which use a pedal, makes it a daunting thing to try to adapt to new styles.

Yet he is a friend, and loved throughout the church.  I think (I think I think) that if you talked with anybody, it would be ONLY the leader of the worship team (or whatever pastor is ultimately responsible).

If I myself had a similar situation, and was actually leading, I would probably let all current songs be just as they are and introduce some soft new songs, explaining to the team that we're going to "build them from scratch", giving each person a role (the drummer's would be to just do cymbals in the background, and something with brushes on the chorus) - or "orchestrate" it, where the drummer just provides touches of tone here and there -- anything to introduce the concept of subtlety from the ground up.  Hearing onesself create beautiful, delicate tones that make atmosphere for the whole group may transfer over to the louder pieces.  Way better than someone saying "tone that thing down!!"

I'm also fantasizing about listening together with him to some excellently done worship song CD over dinner and and pointing out the good qualities of singers, guitarists, drummer... on most worship CD's you can barely hear the drum, but its background presence supports everyone. (Secular as well -- I've listened to lots of Beatles, but I don't know what Ringo Starr actually sounds like -- you can never hear him, just feel the rhythm).

And if the worship team leader or senior pastor likes the way he plays or the way the team sounds together, than zip it and enjoy the marching band!  (There are lots of worse things on this planet than marching bands, and two of them are trouble and dissension).

Speaking of marching bands, the school I work at is having trouble getting enough guys to join jazz choir, but (in a town with Scottish founders) is starting a Bagpipe Class.  As I said, there are lots of things worse than marching bands.

That idea of orchestrating a new song from scratch is brilliant. Taste and see that subtle can be good on the kit!

Thanks!  Yesterday I could not play "Queen" and other rock favorites to the satisfaction of some genre-intensive teenagers, and I was feeling very non-brilliant.  You made my day.

>> That idea of orchestrating a new song from scratch is brilliant.

Why?  Should not every congregation be capable of arranging songs to their own need?  Or even writing their own?

As for writing their own, would that every congregation discover the poets and artists and respect, encourage and grow what they do! While Commercial Christian Music produces a great number of excellent songs, I have long felt that we are remiss by not accepting our own (Jesus found that problem in Nazareth).

Until three or four years ago I didn't even know about terms such as "cover band" or "tribute band."  Now, to my chagrin, I am encountering more and more the idea that duplicating every detail of the recorded song is a cherished goal in some quarters; and you can get in trouble for making your own arrangements.  It's nice that people respect the composer, but it can get a little silly. 

On those iPod things, youngsters especially listen to music all day -- literally!  Where once the recorded music (if you were fortunate enough to have a song on a recording at all) formed a general idea-basis for your group to create its arrangement.  Now, you have an army of older children for whom the music is identical in all cases -- they will sing songs for each other, a capella, waiting out the instrumental breaks patiently, dancing and snapping their fingers to the instruments that are simultaneously playing in their heads at the same monotonous tempo.  This is real.  It is not all bad; it gives us a solid collective consciousness of a song.  But it's quite a challenge to the creative person.


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