Unaccompanied singing has its place, but quality instrumental accompaniment has great potential to enhance the musical experience of singing together. Being a good church musician requires teamwork, concentration and a focus on the end goal of passionate congregational singing.
Make sure you will be ready to play the songs when you come to rehearsal. Don't hesitate to ask for any sheet music or recordings you need. Look up fingerings or voicings for chords you don't know, practise the beats with a metronome.
Keep your music in order – nobody wants to wait around in rehearsal for you to flip through your “semi-alphabetical” folder!
Work closely with the lead tech – you and they are working towards the same outcome. Don't hesitate to ask for adjustments to your foldback mix, but remember the overall level of your foldback needs to be conservative to avoid spoiling the congregation's mix. Feel free to share thoughts about the front-of-house mix with them, but remember that they are listening from the congregation's perspective and you're not.
Be clear on the order of songs and make sure you'll be able to find the right music in time (especially for back-to-back songs)
Be ready to start! The song leader doesn't want to be stuck up the front with the congregation waiting while you get back from talking to a friend at the back.
Follow the song leader – the congregation will!
Be ready to play at the right times. If there's a song straight after a thanksgiving or a confession, it's best to be in position during the thanksgiving or confession.
When you finish one song, get the next song's music ready so you don't have to scramble for it later.