How to Know When to Sit Out

by | Aug 25, 2020

“The best musicians are those who know when they shouldn’t play” – Russell Easter, Jr., my mentor

One of the most challenging things for a musician to do…is stay silent.

Have you ever noticed that?

Every now and then I catch myself fiddling around with whatever instrument I am playing at the time while our worship leader (Ahem, Matt) is waxing eloquent in a speech to the choir. 🙂

And while I may joke about that, it’s really serious stuff.

And, how stinkin’ rude of me to even make a sound during those times. Yet, it’s almost a reflex.

But what I’m talking about goes wayyy beyond playing around while others are talking (although, that really is a simple, but important lesson).

Self-awareness is key.

What do I mean by that?


The fact is, you are likely not the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Perhaps the hardest thing for any high achiever to come to terms with is there is always someone who can do it better. Even if no one knows them.

You should peruse downtown Nashville sometime.

I have had the honor of traveling to Nashville in a tour bus, on someone else’s dime, to record in the Sirius-XM radio studio…

All while passing homeless musicians on the street who could EMBARRASS me if they picked up my instrument.

It’s really crazy…to think they have SO MUCH talent, yet almost no opportunity.

The point is…you are not God’s gift to music; music, however, is God’s gift to you.

And that means it is a “talent” you have been given to steward and use for his glory.

That, of course, means it should be used wisely and in such a way that would honor him.

Not for show. Not for vainglory.

At church the other night, a mixed group was singing “Holy Water” along with a soundtrack. (Talk about an awesome song.)

It’s a jam, that’s for sure. Matt asked if I was going to play. I told him I would if he wanted me to…but hadn’t planned on it.

Did I want to? YES. It’s really a cool song.

But I know when NOT to play.

And I knew that, in that particular context, I would I not be adding something, but taking something away.

Be it attention, be it musically, etc. It would have been more distracting than helpful.

So again, self-awareness is the key. In another context, I might have said yes! In this context, I said no, because I knew better.

If you struggle to know when/when not to play, you are not alone…I would love nothing more than to help guide you through that, as a member of Worship By Numbers™.

While the core of Worship By Numbers™ is a learning a better way to actually play music, the entire course is structured around creating a well-oiled worship band.

You’ll not only improve your musical chops, but elevate the rest of the group at the same time.

It’s free for your first 14 days! Here’s the link:

Steve Schramm

Want to ditch the Sunday morning butterflies and FINALLY feel like a confident worship musician? Our FREE video training will show you exactly how.

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