Nigel’s Music Director’s Tips [from Hillsong Collective]

ImageAnother good read from Hillsong Collective:


You need to know your team, understand your musicians’ skill level and capabilities, know their limitations, etc. Build trust with your worship leader. You’ll be able to read better where they’re wanting to go and what they’re trying to achieve in the service.


Work with your worship leader beforehand to be prepared with ideas for songlists/keys of songs/transitions/arrangements/tempos/etc. It’s important for me to obviously know my own guitar parts, but also the other parts the rest of the band need to play.


Have a holistic approach to your musicianship. Always challenge yourself to be practicing and sharpening your skills in different facets of music. As a guitarist, knowing how to play is one thing, but knowing how to create different palettes of sounds and getting the best from my gear is another. Also, for me, I’ve found it extremely beneficial to master Pro-Tools – amongst many things; it’s given me a greater understanding of how instruments, parts, frequencies, etc need to work together and not just individually, to create great music. Which leads onto my next point… 4. KNOW THE LANGUAGE – learn how other instruments work and interact, and learn the language associated with each different role. You don’t need to be able to play every instrument, but you need to be able to effectively communicate to your team in a language that they understand (drummers/singers/audio engineers, etc)


Be several steps ahead of what’s happening. It’s like approaching a busy interaction while driving – you don’t wait till you cross the intersection before checking whether the light is red or green. As an MD, you need to be worshipping with one eye open, anticipate the different sections of a song, transitions, and moments to effectively guide your team through it. Example – you may only be halfway through a bridge, but you’re already thinking about what’s coming next (repeat bridge, down or up chorus, instrumental etc).


We are here to serve, and we are ultimately in submission to our worship leader and senior pastor. It’s not our gig where we attempt to pull off the latest, coolest intro or arrangement! We are here to help facilitate what’s best for the service and help our congregation enter into the presence of God.


You don’t have to have all the answers. Even if you’re unsure what to call, make the call confidently! That way, at least your whole team will go with you together… thus avoiding a possible train wreck! Rather than feeling the need to be calling every single detail, trust your team and their ability.



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