I don’t know about you but over the years of my ministry one of the things I have dreaded has been worship team auditions. I came to realize that I felt this way because I didn’t have a good audition process. So this is how most situations would play out:
“Hey my name is Monica and I would love to be a part of the worship team.”
Me: That’s awesome! What kind of experience do you have?
Monica: Oh I have a bunch. I’ve been singing my whole life.
Me: Great! Why don’t you stop by the church this week and you can audition for me?
Fast forward to the more times than not very painful one on one audition. During this I would often kick myself for not having a better system to add people to the team. They would finish the audition and I wouldn't have the guts to tell them the truth about their singing or playing. So, I would often say, “Welcome to the team” and I found myself with people on the worship team that didn’t need to be there. Thanks to shows like American Idol and The Voice everyone thinks they can be a star, and somebody has encouraged them along the way that they are awesome. They may be awesome people but they can’t sing. So, here are 5 ways to help you set up your process to make auditions enjoyable and profitable for your team.
1. Only hold auditions once or twice a year.
I have open auditions for the worship team every January. I always want to know what the team looks like going into the new year. Sometimes I will do a second audition in August, according to the needs. This really saves me from all the random, individual auditions all throughout the year. I go into January with the number of people I need to have on the team to function properly. For our current situation, 15 seems to be the number of vocalists that work best.
2. Have a sign-up page
It’s very important to have a sign-up page. On this page you can get their information and story before the audition. We generally ask for normal contact information but also want to hear about their musical background and about their spiritual journey. This will also allow you to send them charts, Mp3’s and other info about the audition. Here is an example of our sign up. Worship Team Application
A few years ago I implemented a new idea that quite possibly may be the best idea I have ever had. Those who are interested in auditioning can upload an audition video to the application. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can be as simple as a phone video. What this does is give you the ability to weed out those who are not likely to have a chance to make the team. It also saves you time and it saves them the embarrassment of auditioning in front of a bunch of people.
4. Live audition
After you determine those who may have a chance of making the team, you invite them to the live portion of the audition. During this section we go American idol style and have them sing something acapella. After I hear everyone sing we gather together in a big circle and I call 3 individuals at a time to sing in parts. This part of the audition includes all members of the vocal team as well. This helps me see how they blend and how well they hear parts. I also like to teach them a new song to see how quickly they can pick things up. Being able to learn things quickly is a must for our team.
5. Send an email announcing the new team.
The final step is to pray and consider who is a good fit for your team. Then, begin looking at getting it down to the number you want. When I have my final list I send everyone who auditioned an email thanking them for auditioning and I post the list of the new team. Here is a sample email. I hope these five steps will guide you toward having an easier and more effective audition process.