WorshipDrummer - Tech Setup

What To Do When Things You Can’t Control Go Wrong on Stage

jonmanna Journal, Pro WorshipDrummers 0 Comments

This Post is written by Josh Freddy who play drums for Vertical Church Band. You can find him on Instagram and Facebook.

Josh FreddyI like to strive for perfection when it comes to playing drums and everything else that comes along with it. From correctly angled and positioned hardware, to musically tuned drums and cables being plugged in right. However, there are things that you can control and things that you cannot control. 

Let me explain what I mean from a recent experience. So, I was at a conference where I was playing drums and running tracks for our worship set. We had enough time to setup and sound check the night before our session the next morning. Everything sounded great during rehearsals and I felt relaxed and prepared going into the session knowing that all the important elements for the set are functioning smoothly.

Morning hits, we are on stage and we start playing the first song. As I’m playing the first song I realize how vigorously the drum stage was moving when I would play the kick drum. Praying that nothing goes wrong and simultaneously looking nervously on every drum as they shake, my computer that is running tracks falls off the road case and lands on the drum stage. Obviously I freak out and quickly check for three things. First, did anyone see that? Second, is the screen cracked? Third, is the firewire cable still plugged in? Thankfully, no one saw that and the screen was fine and the cable was plugged in. So, I gently pick up the laptop with my left hand and make sure it sits in tight as I try to play the ride and snare with my right hand.

Several minutes in, something different happens. But this time its worse. We are playing our 3rd song and all of a sudden the tracks and click disappear in the ears and in the house. Frantically looking to see what went wrong, I glance down at my computer and see that the firewire cable is unplugged. Obviously I freak out but at the same time I had to stay relaxed to lead the band and finish playing the song. (By the way this is still not the worst part yet). So, after I finished playing the song I quickly try to analyze and fix the problem as the worship leader is talking over “a quiet moment and transitioning into a sweet moment”.

I plug the cable right back in, go into Ableton’s preference, find the interface and click ok. The minute I do that (as the worship leader is praying) the track to the previous song starts playing really loud in the house. (Yep. It happened. The situation every musician fears; Loud noises during intimate moments). I quickly realize what had happed and instantly hit the stop button as I put my head down in shame, haha.

5 Takeaways in Situations Like These:

1. Don’t panic and keep playing.

When something goes wrong during a song on the stage, don’t panic but stay calm and play the song. The minute you panic, you will get nervous and maybe even mess up the song. So, stay relaxed, lead the band and play your parts. The last thing you want to do is stop playing and try to fix it during the song.

2. Think straight and fix the problem.

Think straight and solve the problem step by step (Like hit the stop button in ableton before you plug in the firewire cable). If you can fix it by yourself, find a time in the set when you can do that. (Best times are in between songs). If you can’t, try to communicate to a production person without causing too much distraction on stage.

3. Admit the problem and pick yourself up.

Admit that something went wrong and don’t act like everything is fine. Chances are that people noticed it too. In moments like these, as a worship drummer you want to allow the spirit to lead. While you are fixing the problem, ask the Holy Spirit to guide and calm you and take control of the situation.

4. We are imperfect But God is perfect.

Situations like these serve as a great reminder that we are nothing and that we are imperfect. We need a God who is perfect and One who is sovereign to lead and work in us. He wants righteousness from us not perfection, so stop beating yourself when there are little mishaps in your service to Him.

5. It’s an imperfect event for a perfect event.

My worship pastor, Andi Rozier says, “Every worship set is a rehearsal for the great event in heaven.” I love that because it’s so true. Not that this allows for us to be lethargic in our playing, but that we are gearing up and preparing ourselves for the best and the most indescribable worship experience of our lives. Ever.

I hope you can learn something from my recent experience. What have you been learning lately? Let us know in the comments.

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