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Worship Team Auditions: Step-by-Step Process + Templates

I think most of us at some point may have experienced this:

You’re the worship pastor, the worship leader, the music minister, and you have some people on your team that can’t cut it. Their musicality is not great, they show up unpracticed and late, and yet somehow they have managed time to stop and grab a Starbucks. Their attitudes drain the life out of practice time, and they just don’t seem to take instruction or work with a team very well.

How did we get here? Either we inherited this worship team mess or we created this mess ourselves. None the less, it’s time for auditions!

In this article I will cover:

I’ll also include some templates in a downloadable pack to make the process easier.

The most important thing to remember about auditions is this: it’s always easier to add a member to the team than to take them off. Thankfully, God hasn’t required us to use a specific instrument or vocal part in praising him, so we shouldn’t feel any pressure to add a drummer, guitarist, pianist, or alto ASAP to the worship band.

Auditions will certainly look different depending on the size of the church, the skill level of the current musicians, and the discernment of the leader. 

New Church Or Church Plant Auditions

For a new church, I’d recommend a more casual audition process. 

  • You could invite any musicians who are interested over to your house to play and sing on a regular basis. This way you can see how well they play, get to know them, and their character without any expectation of being included on a Sunday morning. 
  • While the standards may be lower in a new or smaller church auditions, I’d make sure that everyone is skilled enough not to be a distraction. 
  • Finally, look for people who are eager to support your leadership, not people who feel they need to display their gifts. Remember that pride on the team will only cause problems later, and it’s a contradiction to our intentions to bring glory to God, not ourselves.

Below is an outline of how you can run an audition in an established church.

Before The Audition

Here are some things you need to do at least a couple weeks before the audition. You want to make sure you are prepared before audition day arrives.

1. Select A Date And Time For Auditions

The whole audition may take a couple hours. This depends on how many musicians have signed up. It usually takes 10 to 15 minutes to audition one person, so if you have 5 people sign up, you’re looking at about an hour to an hour and a half with transition times.

2. Create A Way For People To Sign Up

An easy option is Google Forms. It’s a free service that Google offers where you can make a signup form and include all the questions you want people to answer before the audition.

If a good old piece of paper is easier for you, then go for it! Get that table set up in the church lobby and have people sign up.

Musicians could also email the worship pastor to sign up for the audition.

Instead of specifying what instrument(s) you are looking for, you may want to just hold an “open audition”. You never know who might walk through that door!

Worship Team Audition Signup Sheet Template

I’ve made an example of a worship team audition signup sheet, which you can download in the pack at the end of this article.

Download Template Here

3. Communicate With People Before The Audition

Email everyone who signed up to let them know when and where the audition will be and what they can expect to happen. People will want to be as prepared as possible, which is awesome. You may want to send the music ahead of time as well. With this email you can also add another form for the potential team member to fill in. This form will give you a bit more information about the person, their desires with worship, and some of their musical history.

Sample Worship Team Audition Email Template

 You can download an example of the email I usually send in the pack at the bottom of this article—copy and adapt for your auditions.

Download Template Here

 Worship Team Audition Info Sheet Template

You can include these info sheets in your email to collect additional information from people who are auditioning for your worship team. Get the download in the pack at the bottom of this article.

Download Template Here

4. Assemble An Audition Panel

An audition panel is one of the things that will separate a formal audition from just listening to someone play. It’s probably best to have three or five people on the audition panel (preferably an uneven number). Your audition panel should be other worship team members, like worship leaders, vocalists, or instrumentalists who are either on your team or others you know and trust. You don’t want the decision to lay only in your hands. There is safety in numbers, especially when it comes to having someone fail an audition and you need to communicate that with them. 

Day Of Audition

The day of the audition is finally here. Here are some ideas on what to do the day of the audition.

Auditioning Singers

  • Ask them to come with voices warmed up and ready to sing.
  • Have them sing a well-known worship song that you will pick for them.
  • Take some time to figure out their vocal range and decide on the best key for them. Make sure it’s a key they feel comfortable and confident in.
  • Be on stage playing the song during the audition, and callout different parts of the song to see how they flow with the music.
  • Ask them to sing a spontaneous song or even a bible verse over a chord progression of your choosing. This can test their ear and their flow as a singer.
  • If there are any weaknesses or mistakes, kindly point them out and have them play the song through again, and see if there are any improvements.
  • Encourage them with the strengths you saw in them after the audition.

Auditioning Musicians

  • Give them a few minutes to get their gear setup and prepared, whether this is an acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drum kit, or another instrument.
  • Lead them through a well-known worship song, watching that they confidently follow the chord charts and make smooth transitions.
  • Have them play the song in different keys, transposing in their heads.
  • Have them play lead-line melodies or a spontaneous song.
  • If there are any weaknesses or mistakes, kindly point them out and have them play the song through again, and see if there are any improvements.
  • Encourage them with the strengths you saw in them after the audition.

When auditioning a potential team member for the worship team, remember that you’re not only looking for technical ability, you’re also looking at their musicianship. Pay attention to how it felt playing with them. Was it smooth sailing or did it seem like they were struggling or fighting the flow of the music?

It is better for your worship team to consist of you and a keyboard player than a worship team full of musicians that can’t play or worse off, don’t care. I am quite happy to have a smaller worship team that is tight than a huge team that doesn’t know what they’re doing. It’s ok to build your team slowly over time. 

Make sure that you and your audition panel have a plan figured out. Try to establish exactly what you are looking for, and the type of standards you are expecting. Are you looking only for perfect pitch and tone? If they make a mistake, are they out? It’s best not to be too picky, but you also don’t want to be too lenient either. 

Worship Team Audition Scoring Sheet Template

This is a really useful sheet you and your panel can use to score the auditions. Download this and the other audition materials below.

Download Template Here

After The Audition

The auditions may be done, but the tough work is just beginning. Here is what you should do after the auditions.

1. Confer With Your Panel

Chat with the panel immediately after the auditions, assessing each person’s strengths and weaknesses in a way that honours their audition.

2. Send An Email With Your Decision

When you and the other leaders have figured out results, send an email letting people know the results within 3-5 days of their audition. One of the best ways we can honor those who audition is by following up in a clear and timely manner.

The email can be simple but should include: encouragement on their audition, whether or not they passed the audition, and the next steps in the process.

Remember that sometimes instead of “no” we can respond with “not yet”. Are there some tips you can send them? Perhaps it’s a suggestion of lessons? If the musician does put in that work you have suggested, this shows not only that they are teachable, but willing to put in the work and effort.

If you feel that they will be better suited for another ministry instead, suggest that to them as well.

Worship Team Audition Templates

Download all the templates mentioned in this article here:

Conclusion

It may sound cliché to say, but prayer is also a big part of this audition process. Ask the Lord to direct you in this decision process as well. As worship pastors it’s our mission to not just lead our worship ministry well, but to lead the worship team in submission to the Holy Spirit. He will be your best friend when it comes to building your worship team.

I have had incredible musicians audition, but after praying I had a sense from the Holy Spirit that it wouldn’t be a good fit. Later on, things came out that confirmed this decision. Going through the worship team audition process gives time for both you and that musician auditioning to get a feel for whether this is really going to work.

In the end it’s important to emphasize that musical skill is not the most important thing. Character and skill must go hand in hand when finding a team member.

For more on worship teams and church planting, sign up for The Lead Pastor community here!

Other Worship Team Audition Resources

Read about Bethel Church’s worship audition process.

See an example of a worship audition application from Elevation.

Check out Hillsong’s great article on building a worship team.