The following is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of Worship Musician! Presents: Tips For Tight Teams by Sandy Hoffman, which will be available this April from Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group. Pre-order now.
Last night we rehearsed. One minute we were singing and shouting the contemporary “Rock of Ages” by Rita Baloche, the next, we’d morphed into our old familiar garage band persona, covering a Beatles tune of course: “Chains, my baby’s got me locked up in chains, and they ain’t the kind that you can see” (from the 1963 album Please Please Me).
This happens often in our rehearsals, and for a very good reason: we’re gellin’! What may appear to the uninitiated as dabbling in the secular, or at best, time-wasting reminiscences, can actually become quite an effective exercise, greatly enhancing team cohesion and flow.
Just imagine this: you’re walking down a long, gravel driveway, ending at an old, dilapidated, whitewashed garage. There’s a dirt floor. Music of a most extraordinary nature is emanating from every termite hole in the place. Enticed by the sound, you are compelled to investigate.
The door swings open, and suddenly you’re face to face with a gnarly bunch of guys (it’s probably Saturday night). Each one has an instrument in hand, and every one of their facial expressions is different. Some are focused and serious, some are smiling, others offer warm greetings while still others completely ignore you. They’ve convened for a singular purpose: to jam. They are there to allow their musical imaginations to run wild, undistracted by charts or direction or spectators. They are truly a garage band!
Webster’s calls jamming “an impromptu performance by a group of musicians that is characterized by improvisation.” In the worship vernacular, I like to think of it as improvisation by inspiration. No matter how we define it , one thing is certain: when our worship teams spend time jammin’ together, it really helps us gel.
Jamming brings unity of sound, dynamic sensitivity, freedom from inhibition, interpersonal consideration, and often it stimulates some pretty amazing creativity. Coupled with inspiration from the Holy Spirit, we get to enjoy a win-win-win situation! Spiritually, relationally, and musically we are growing when we’re jammin’ to gel!
Tips for Tight Teams instructs and equips today’s worship musician to function on the musical, relational, and technical levels expected of 21st-century worship team leaders and members. Rooted in Sandy Hoffman’s “Ten Top Tips for Tight Teams” curriculum, the goal of Tips for Tight Teams is to elevate skill levels to the point where the worship team is no longer a distraction to the people it endeavors to lead into worship.
With over 40 Tips for Tight Teams articles to date, Sandy Hoffman is a regular columnist for Worship Musician Magazine. Connect with him on Facebook or visit his TipsForTightTeams.com website.