ADVICE !!!!!


Silver Member
I got a call on Wednesday night to fill in for a worship band. The music director was very nice and sent me all of the music to learn for rehearsal on Thursday. I forgot to mention the service was going to be on Saturday and Sunday. I busted my ass learning five songs even wrote out some cheat notes, he said there will be charts there. I got there for rehearsal and got the charts, They were just the lyrics for the songs, I have never seen that before. We started to play the tunes I learned and found out he made his own custom changes to the songs that I was not aware of. The director kept telling me to play louder. I was playing with proper dynamics. The drum kit I was using had pitted pin stripe tom heads that looked new.
and a broken crash cymbal WOW! I should have brought a baseball bat. Bottom line I did not get the gig. I was told I was a finesse player and should stick with playing Jazz. I am not a jazz drummer, I just use proper technique and don't beat the *&^% out of the drums. I just was not what he was looking for no biggie. All of you drummers out there don't get mad or second guess your playing if you don't get the gig. Practice push on. It's not personal, Bands are looking for a specific type of player. I was not It. Thats my advice.
Larry what do you have to say LOL.


Senior Member
Yesdog, I know exactly what you mean! I play for my church's praise and worship team and your experience sounds very familiar- minimal charts, last minute changes, and crappy equipment. As a drummer you can really feel like a second-class citizen in a church environment like that. It's one of the most challenging groups to play for.
There have been more than a few times that I have gotten frustrated to the point of quiting because of the aboved mentioned issues. I just keep on because, for me, it's a service of my talent to my church and faith.
I absolutely agree with you, don't get discouraged and keep looking. You'll probably enjoy being a part of The Blue Man Group much better anyway! ;>)


Platinum Member
I've been playing in worship bands going on 10 years here, and what you describe is standard working practice in most worship bands (in fact, you're lucky you got the sheets you got. Most drummers don't get handed anything because they don't need lyrics or chords.)

The first thing I ask the MD is, what version of the song he wants us to play. Then I go straight to YouTube. There is a frightening amount of contemporary worship available on YouTube for free with pretty decent sound quality, at least good enough to pick out the drum parts. I never stay 100% true to those parts, because usually the praise team is either missing instruments or doing the arrangement slightly different, and also due to missing electronic drums or effects, but it's a decent starting point.

At rehearsal I am listening extremely closely to the evolving arrangement and making notes all over my sheets (if I have them) or in a notebook. For songs I've done over and over, no issue, and sometimes I won't bother. But for a new song, I will take notes.

After rehearsal and before the first service I am making up a one page sheet with song order and arrangements in shorthand (V1, V2, CH, BR, CH +VOL, CH -VOL, 4 BARS END). If I need to I will jot a shorthand version of the beat. I tape this to an up tube on a stand or, if I'm behind glass, directly to the glass right above my hi-hat.

At one church I was fortunate enough to get piano sheet music for almost everything. That may or may not help you if you can't read.

As far as the drums: I very rarely show up at a church I've never been to and am pleased with the drumset I find. They are usually communal instruments that have had the minimum spent on them, and most non-drummers don't maintain them, don't really take care of them, and don't seem to understand that a little more money and a lot more care can immensely benefit the praise band's sound. So if I had been in your position, I might have shown up with my own snare, pedal, and a few cymbals in a bag, based on my experiences.

The fact that you had an MD who kept saying "louder", the broken cymbal, and the Pinstripes, points towards one of these churches that's all about sound and fury. In my mind, I know what that signifies, but it's a style that's out there. Were the drums miked, or were they expecting you to project through a 500-person room by yourself?

In closing, not every worship scenario is like this; many churches have great MDs, professional sound, and have been lucky enough to get a pro-quality drum kit with some decent pies under some microphones. I hope it was informative, and keep in mind that while this guy was looking for Dave Grohl, there is almost certainly a church out there looking for Dave Weckl instead. Thanks for your post!


Staff member
Good story YD, a lesson for all. I know absolutely nothing about praise bands. We simply don't have anything like that here. The last place you'd see a drum kit or amplified band is a church. Usually some guy playing an 800 year old pipe organ accompanied by a tiny choir & a congregation that can't sing.

Did go to our local cathedral a couple of years ago, & listened to a really cool organist playing the whole ELP, Pictures at an Exhibition score. He was playing a 900 year old organ with 60ft bass pipes. The pedal notes brought a tear to my eye, such power!

Sorry, got off thread there a bit.


Platinum Member
Doggie, it sounds like no one lost. You checked it out, they didn't want your style and you didn't want theirs. Lesson learned.

Edit: Not heard of a praise band in Oz either. Nor are marching bands big here. Actually, music isn't big here full stop!


Silver Member
Just to be clear this thread has nothing to do with worship bands. I am sharing how I handled not getting a gig that I auditioned for. I am also in 2 other bands. This was a situation were musical styles did not match and had nothing to do with ability. So when this happens don't take it personal. I'm sure there are a lot of drummers on this forum who did not get the gig. Cheers YESDOG