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Archive for May, 2009

Nancy Beach has a post about a colleague that believed they needed to ask a Worship Band member to step down in order to take the team to the “next level.” I’ve been there.

To start, there are 2 main things I look for when selecting new Worship Band members. First there needs to be a heart attitude of worship, and a desire to be a servant. Second there needs to be clear gifting in the area they desire to serve in. Both of these things are necessary. Sometimes we invite someone into the Band when only one of these qualities is developed, and use the opportunity to move them along where they are lacking. Sometimes it isn’t immediately obvious that they have what it takes in both these areas. When you’re not sure, you have to go slow. Ask them to come to rehearsals, but not to lead on Sundays. For vocalists, ask them to sing in the choir for a few months before singing on a mic up front. See how that rubs them. Their reaction (and whether they even stick around) will clue you into where their heart is.

But what about someone who is not up to par in the musical/technical side. Here are my suggestions in handling that:

1. Let them know the expectations. Tell them you expect a degree of excellence in the presentation of music, and this requires practice apart from band rehearsal. Bottom line – a musical mistake equals a potential distraction in people connecting with God in worship.

2. Be specific. If it is a stylistic problem, tell them how you want it. If it is a technique problem, give helpful suggestions how to improve. Offer to help via lessons outside rehearsal. You can’t just tell them it’s not good enough and not provide a chance to correct it and grow.

3. Put the burden on them. Let them know that unless they get help and improve, we don’t have a place for you to serve here

4. Offer another venue for them to continue to serve and improve in. There are usually other places that need musical leadership: children’s church, youth band, small groups, prison ministry, etc. Let them serve somewhere else.

In the end, a band is only as good as it’s worst player. If efforts are made to improve and nothing is working, you have to cut the cord. Tell them, “We love you, but God has not gifted you to serve in this area. We know He has somewhere else for you to serve here.”

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Read “Worship Band Tune Up, part 1” here.

2. In guitar driven worship, the keyboard should use pads and strings so not to conflict with the rhythm of the guitar.

Depending on what God gives you, your band may be more guitar driven than keyboard driven. The instrument “driving” the band is the one that the lead worshiper usually plays. It’s also the instrument that starts most songs, and sets the rhythms that other instruments play to. If you’re blessed, you have a band that can be both guitar and keyboard driven, depending on the need of the song. Then you can add variety and depth to your worship music.

When the guitars are instrumentally “driving” the songs, the keyboard has to be played differently. This requires a keyboardist with sensitivity. They have to know when not to play notes in the left (bass) hand. They have to know when to switch pads so not to compete with the tone of the electric guitar. They have to know when to drop out altogether.

Humility is truly a wonderful contribution to a Worship Band.

So if the guitars are playing a heavily rhythmic strumming pattern, the keyboard should play something else and not try and copy the rhythm using a piano patch. Simple, single-note melodies work well in this setting. If the guitars are playing a flowing, eighth-note, finger-style pattern, the keyboard should play long, sustained notes/chords. If the guitars are playing palm muted, chunky riffs, the keyboard should find alternate voicings for the chords and look for countermelodies in the pockets between chord changes.

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From Tony Morgan

Rather than looking at the Web through the eyes of a Facebook and YouTube and Twitter user, though, we’re still looking at the Web through the eyes of a Sunday bulletin reader. That approach works for the people who are already attending our churches. It completely ignores the people who we are trying to reach.

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Download the songs from Faith Inkubators HEREmusicguildsamplerart:

At Faith Inkubators, we believe in memory work. We also believe that memory work doesn’t need to be work. That’s why all of our ministry resources teach Bible verse memorization with verses—verbatim—set to music.

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Technologies for Worship Magazine had a great little tip from John Chevalier on how to build a Worship Band. I’m going to break apart his points and riff on each of them.

1. The bass should always play in sinc with the beat of the kick drum. This is key, as about 60% of your sound comes from these two instruments.

“Always” is a relative term. As will be the case in all of these tune up posts, these rules are flexible and should be taken more as guidelines. There are “always” occasions when they should be ignored.

The final comment about 60% of the band’s sound being generated by bass guitar and drums is a good and important statement. Unless of course, your band lacks either bass or drums. Again, there are occasions when these guidelines do not apply. But when bass guitar and drums are present, you can not underestimate the importance and function of these foundational instruments. They lay the chordal and rhythmic framework on which all other instruments and vocals are constructed upon.

It is also wise not to separate the bass guitar and drums into different sections or layers, but to think of them as 1 cohesive unit of tone and rhythm. I like to think that the bass guitar exists primarily to give tone and melody to the kick drum. When the kick drum is “punched,” the bass guitar provides the color and pitch to that impact. This combined sound has to be strong, just like the foundation of the house, so that everything that rests on top of it is secure and finds it’s place.

803573_31924336Drummers and bassists that play in sinc are rare. They are rare because it takes a relationship. It is much more than mechanics. It requires friendship and partnership. Of course, the bass guitarist needs to be positioned on stage so that he can keep an eye on the kick drum. That’s a basic thing in order to keep the sound tight. But the really good teams are able to anticipate each others playing. As I’ve been known to say, “the bass guitarist needs to know what the drummer had for breakfast before he sees him.”

In my 10+ years of worship ministry, of all the groups I’ve led or played in, I’ve only experienced this drum/bass sinc-anticipation playing maybe one time. It takes time to build. And it takes discipline for the drummer to play a beat consistently the same way so that the bass guitarist can follow along. Discipline is also needed from the bass player to accent the rhythmic pattern initiated by the drummer.

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From Technologies for Worship Magazine

Start with the kick drum. Generally, the kick will produce less volume than the other drums, and the dynamics of contemporary Christian music rely on a strong kick drum sound. Improving or amplifying the kick drum will produce the most immediate impact on the overall drum set sound for the audience. First, check to see if the kick drum has a front drumhead or not, and if it does, see if there a hole cut in the drumhead. This will determine how you can place the microphone. If there is a front head with no hole on the drum, place the kick drum microphone about 2” in front of the drum head, between the dead center of the drum, and the edge. Aim the microphone straight at the drumhead. If the sound is too “boomy” perhaps the drummer can place a blanket or some other form of muffling inside the drum to “deaden” the sound.

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From an interview with Jordon Cooper for TheOoze.com

The pragmatic churches have become institutionalized – with some exceptions. They responded to the sixties and seventies, created a culture-driven church an don’t get that the world has changed again. Pragmatics, being fixed, have little room for those who are shaped by the postmodern revolution. A clash is emerging. The younger evangelicals will not have a voice in the pragmatic, fixed mentality. Stay there and your spirit will die (there are some exceptions, pray for discernment). Many pragmatic churches, like old shopping malls are dying.

Very few people under 30 are in pragmatic churches. The handwriting is on the wall. Leave. Do a start up church. Be a tentmaker. Build communities. Small groups. Neighborhood churches. Be willing to let your life die for Jesus as you break with the market driven, culture shaped, numbers oriented, Wall-Mart-something-for-everyone church. Be an Abraham and take a risk. God will show up and lead the way.

Grab the complete article here.

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