As someone who has been working in churches for well more than a decade, I can tell you that one of the most difficult and frustrating aspects of worship ministry is finding musicians. You never have enough. Never. And all it takes is for one person to get sick, or have to travel for work, or go on maternity leave to completely mess up your plans. So, the ultimate goal is to have depth within your stable of musicians. Having multiple drummers, guitar players, keyboard players, etc... is ideal, but it's also extremely difficult to attain. Why, because good musicians are few and far between. And here in Wilkes County, they seem to be even more rare.
When I first got to MPBC, I assumed that since this was an area known for blue grass music that there would be a plethora of musicians to choose from. I was wrong. It was me and our church pianist. That's it. Now since then, we've added a lot of really talented musicians, but it never seems to be enough. And to be honest, I think it's been a few years since we've added an instrumentalist who had just recently joined the church. In this area of North Carolina, if you can play an instrument, there is a very good chance that you are already playing in a praise band in a church. So, we don't get a lot of musicians joining the church wanting to get involved. We do get a few singers, but almost never an instrumentalist. So, the question becomes, where do we get more musicians?
Well, here's my answer. We train them. I don't know if another drummer, guitar player, or keyboard player will ever come along. So, instead of waiting on them, I've decided to train people who are already here to do it. And so, I give lessons. And when I give lessons, I tell my students that my ultimate goal in them learning an instrument, is that one day they will get good enough to play with the praise band. I've been doing this for a couple of years and I'm just now beginning to see the fruits of my labors.
A couple of months ago we had 2 young ladies audition for the band and they both made it. One plays acoustic guitar and the other one plays piano. What's neat is that I taught our new acoustic guitar player how to play She has been taking lessons from me for a couple of years and has gotten really good. I've also worked with the other young lady who plays piano on how to play certain songs with the band. She has been taking piano lessons for a while (but it is more of a classical style), so I have been trying to help her get used to how songs are played within the current Praise and Worship style we use at church.
What's great is that this past Sunday, I didn't have to play the piano or acoustic guitar. I just got to sing. I couldn't tell you the last time that happened. And hopefully, as we train more and more people, there will be more instances where I just get to sing. Maybe there will even be a day where I don't have to be the back-up drummer anymore (I am currently teaching someone to play drums-I know, scary!).