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I’ve been working with teenagers and youth bands for the better part of fifteen years, teaching them about the musical aspects of worship and how to play as a group. I’ve really tried to find resources that would help me in this venture. I’ve been to worship music forums, discussion groups, looked for books and searched websites, and never found any resources I felt were adequate for working with younger musicians. I ran across a couple of e-books, but I really didn’t feel they were specific enough. Several colleagues in youth ministry were asking me “how do you get started with a youth worship band” and so I decided to share my experiences, not as an expert, but as someone who had tried and failed many times. The result was my e-book “Starting a Youth Worship Band from the Ground Up.” Teenagers have less musical experience and sometimes more enthusiasm than their adult worship counterparts. They also are typically not as far along in their spiritual journeys. So that makes working with youth bands a sort of horse of a different color. Things must be approached in a different way or they will get frustrated and lose interest.
The book discusses where to find musicians, what setups to use (since teenage musicians are sometimes hard to find, and what to do with those kids who play the trumpet in the marching band but have never picked up a guitar), where to find instruments, where to find music, scheduling rehearsals, and how to make it all work. It also shares some of my successes and failures in working with teenagers including an all-out mutiny we had at one church that nearly split the youth group in half. My only hope is that these experiences will help any youth worker who wants to get his kids more interested in music. Another thing about the book is that I tried to write it in layman’s terms with the non-musician in mind. So if you’re a youth worker who doesn’t sing or play an instrument, I hope it will still be relevant to you. Besides…it’s free. It’s not like you’re out any money!
I want to thank my friend Russell Martin for hosting it on his site Fork In The Road Music. This is Russell’s personal blog site and is also a hub of great worship-related articles including conversations about worship and worship leading, graphics and photos that can be used in worship backgrounds, and some of Russell’s “instrumental reflections” which are musical compositions he writes that are inspired by various seasons and events in Russell’s life and the life of the church.
In his “Worship Leading Conversations” Russell does an online call-in talk show (using telephone calls and a chat room interface) on Sunday nights, then he reposts portions of the conversation on his blog. I was honored and delighted to be his first guest and discuss working with youth bands.