Is Your Worship Team Made up of Musicians or Artists?

Is Your Worship Team Made up of Musicians or Artists?

Posted by on Aug 18, 2011 in Church Music, Worship Leading | No Comments

Do you know whether you’re a musician or an artist?

No, it’s not a loaded question. “Artist” isn’t the better answer. But, it’s a different one.

For example, let’s say someone at your church tells you they play the flute and are interested in being a part of your praise team. Obviously, you say “no”, because the flute is a stupid instrument….just kidding. But, it’s important you understand what this person means by “they play the flute”. Does this mean they can proficiently play sheet music? Or that they can play recorded parts by ear and improvise within a scale, even in songs where the recording does not contain that instrument.

Those are 2 completely different players. And you have probably have some of each on your team.

The “musician” will spend time on their own before practice perfecting how the recording band plays every solo. They will work to match their drum beats and fills to the recording. They will strain to hear the female vocalists on the CD and try to precisely match their harmonies.

The “artist” hears things. They want to change things. Not because it’s better. But, because it’s theirs. They have a desire, not to recreate, but to create.

And when you force one of these people to be like the other, there is going to be tension.

Selah: Put Pauses Back in Your Church Services

Selah: Put Pauses Back in Your Church Services

Posted by on Jun 30, 2011 in Church Music, Worship Leading | No Comments

We work really hard on seamless transitions in our church music services. One song feeding perfectly into the next. Ending a song on the first chord of the following. Leaving no awkward space.

But in the process of leaving no awkward space, we also leave no thoughtful space.

In the Psalms, when you see the word, “Selah“, this literally meant to pause and reflect during this instrumental interlude.

You don’t have to have silence, even though you may find that extraordinarily powerful. You can have your synth player hold a pad. But consider giving the congregation some time to think.

Give them some Selah this week. After all, it’s biblical.

“God Songs” by Paul Baloche: A Review

“God Songs” by Paul Baloche: A Review

I’ve read quite a few instructional books on worship music. Paul Baloche’s “God Songs” is the only one I found even tolerable. More than that, I found it inspiring.

Immediately after finishing it, rather than moving to the next book in my stack, I thumbed back to the beginning of the book and started over again.

A beautiful mix of theory, songwriting tips and church music history makes this the most practical book I’ve ever seen for worship leaders who strive to be songwriters.

Many posts so far here at Relevant Reverence have been inspired by the ideas Baloche presents in the book. I am certain many more in the future will also. Thank you Paul, not only for your musical giftings to the church, but your leadership in helping promote the creation of better art.

The Lesson of the Ritardando

The Lesson of the Ritardando

Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Worship Leading | No Comments

I thought I had learned my lesson. In fact, we just talked about it last week. I learned not to add weird breaks into songs that would unintentionally trick the congregation into coming in vocally before we would.

Yet, this past Sunday, I felt inspired to change up the ending to a song. Rather than ending after the chorus, I wanted to softly tag the first two lines of the verse. In practice, it sounded awesome. Here’s the problem. Once we started the verse, why would the congregation think we were going to stop halfway through?

They didn’t. And kept singing a few words after I had stopped. I felt awful – like I had vocal juked them (inspired by Jon Acuff’s “Jesus Juke” analogy).

Luckily, there was a more densely populated second service to try and redeem myself. So, I added a ritardano (slowed down) those last two lines of the verse to make it clear that I was coming to a close. Everyone followed. I learned my lesson – again.