Archive | —Musicians & Vocalists

Do I Lead To Impress or To Serve?

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about moving to Louisville two years ago and helping to plant Sovereign Grace Church is the opportunity to train interns from Southern Seminary and Boyce College. I meet weekly with a group from each school to talk theology, focus on heart issues, and work on music and leadership skills. They also serve on Sundays and help out with Sovereign Grace Music. Young musicians and leaders are often overly self-conscious and nervous. While confidence comes with experience, we don’t want to overcome self by becoming more assured in ourselves. So one of  my goals for the interns is that they get to the place where …

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On God, Glory, Grace, and Grammys

As a professional musician for almost 40 years, I’m at least mildly interested in the Grammys each year. Who are the young artists that will be tomorrow’s legends? Where is music headed, if anywhere? What old artists are continuing to produce great music or making a comeback? Since this past Sunday, there’s been a disproportionate amount of online buzz about the show. I watched a part of it and was freshly grateful for a DVR with fast forward capabilities. In case you missed it, this year’s event included an overtly sensual duet between Beyoncé and Jay Z, a satanically influenced segment by Katy Perry, and a mass wedding for 30+ heterosexual …

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Adding a Pre-Conference Drum Class at WorshipGod East

Out at WorshipGod West I was talking to David Zimmer, drummer for Enfield, about our next conference, WorshipGod East, taking place Aug. 1-3 in Louisville, KY. I mentioned that we were offering three pre-conference intensives on July 31, 2:00-5:30 PM, for guitarists, sound personnel, and pianists. In the midst of the conversation he offered to teach one for drummers. He and Ryan Foglesong are already teaching two workshops on The Bass/Drum Connection as part of the conference, but David thought there was plenty more to say to drummers alone. So I said let’s do it. In this three hour pre-conference session, The Modern Drummer, David will …

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Interview with Patrick Anderson, Guitarist Extraordinaire

Patrick Anderson will be teaching guitar workshops at both WorshipGod West (June 27-29) and WorshipGod East (July 31-Aug. 3). I’ve known Patrick for a number of years now and have always been encouraged by his humble heart, love for the church, and superb musical skills, all stemming from his love for the Savior. He played on The Gathering and was a member of Enfield until he moved away from California. He shares a little about his life and the workshops he’ll be teaching below. 1. Briefly share your testimony of conversion with us. I came from a loving, though broken, home. Church involvement was minimal in an ELCA Lutheran church and …

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What I Learned from Playing a Fender Rhodes Piano Bass

We’re now three weeks into the startup of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville. I’ve been having a great time getting back into the pattern of leading every Sunday, planning out the order of the service, having weekly rehearsals at my house, being part of the set-up and take-down teams again, and getting to the Sunday meeting a lot earlier than I’ve been getting there the last few years. And I love it. Except maybe for the “getting to the meeting early every Sunday” part. One of the things I’ve missed as I’ve handed off regular Sunday leading to others is being involved in the day-to-day issues, challenges, joys, mishaps, failures, and …

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Looking for a Keyboard/Piano?

People occasionally email me asking if I have any recommendations for a keyboard, especially one with a great piano sound. Rather than respond and reveal that my knowledge of electronic keyboards dried up somewhere in the mid-90s, I immediately forward the request to my good friend, Roger Hooper. Roger used to head up the keyboard department at Washington Music Center, and now does freelance arranging, scoring, playing, and tech blogging. He’s a brilliant keyboardist and synth player, and writes some great music as well. If you have a chance, check out his latest film soundtrack, The Road We Know (also available on iTunes and Amazon) Roger …

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The Piano in Contemporary Worship, Part 3

Last month I posted two sessions from the pre-conference workshop I taught at WorshipGod11 on the Piano in Contemporary Worship (Part 1 and Part 2). We finally finished editing the third session. This one took a little more time to edit because people were regularly walking past the window of the door in the video, which is a bit distracting. My good friend Dave Mackenzie performed his video wizardry and edited the movement out. In this session I deal with many of the specific questions I’ve been asked over the years. Those include: chord coloring inversions playing hymns developing your chord vocabulary introductions transitions playing …

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The Gathering is Coming to Southern California Jan. 28

This past August we recorded The Gathering: Live from WorshipGod11. It’s a collection of 15 songs that progressively tell the story of the gospel and our response to it. From my perspective, it’s one of the best albums we’ve done to date, both in terms of song content and creative musicianship. I’m happy to announce that we’ll be doing it all over again (at least singing the songs) in Orange County, CA on Saturday, January 28. A few of my good friends from California (Ryan and Jonathan Baird, and Eric Turbedsky, pastor of Sovereign Grace Church Orange County) emailed me about putting together an event that combined teaching in the afternoon …

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Resources for Your Worship Team from WorshipGod11: Instruments, General, Children

Yesterday, I posted some of the workshops from WorshipGod11 for leaders, songwriters, and tech teams. Here are a few more that focus on instrumentalists, leading kids to worship Christ, dealing with burnout, and the leader’s prayer life. Donald Whitney shared on simplifying your spiritual life and using Scripture as a basis for your prayers. There’s also a seminar for women taught by my wife that addresses facing every season of life with faith. Enjoy. Bass, Drums, Guitar Strengthening the Drum/Bass Connection, PT1 – Ryan Foglesong and David Zimmer (outline) The foundation of the worship team is the rhythm section composed of the drummer and …

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The Piano in Contemporary Worship, Part 2

Here’s the second part of the pre-conference piano seminar I led at WorshipGod11, focused on playing with a band. Dave Campbell and Neil Stuckenschneider helped me out on guitar and bass. I’ve included the outlines notes after the video. Playing with a Band Be aware of the audio spectrum. Guitars – 80-880 Hz Bass – 40-260 Hz Vocals – 110-660 Hz Piano – 27-4200 Hz Fills. Distinct and memorable Don’t tread on others Octaves Use your LH wisely. With the bass player Around the bass player More with just a guitar, acting like a kick drum Not at all Acoustic piano vs. electric keyboard More overtones …

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The Piano in Contemporary Worship, Part 1

Last summer at WorshipGod11 I taught a pre-conference seminar for intermediate level pianists to help them develop their skills while playing with or without a band. In recent years I’ve taught more on the theology of congregational singing than the practical aspects. But I still enjoy teaching on the practicals. So here’s a video of the first installment, with notes included below. General Principles Excellence. Excellence in all dimension of worship expression, including music, must not simply be defined by cultural standards of sophistication, but by the ability of the expression to strengthen, deepen, and develop faith. – …

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Ryan Foglesong and David Zimmer Talk about WorshipGod11

This past June I was out at the Resolved conference in Palm Springs, CA, where the music was ably led by John Martin and Enfield. They’ll be joining us for one of the main sessions at WorshipGod11. Ryan Foglesong and David Zimmer play bass and drums for Enfield and will be teaching two seminars at WorshipGod11 on Strengthening the Drum/Bass Connection. Here’s what they had to say about their role with Enfield and what they’ll be covering at the conference. If you’ve been thinking about coming to the conference, you have until midnight tomorrow (July 31) to register online. …

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stock image hands palying a full sized piano keyboard

Should We Play Music Behind People Praying?

Someone in my church recently sent me an email asking why we play music behind different portions of the Sunday meeting (prayers, baptisms, readings, etc.). It’s a good question. We can be influenced by our musically addicted culture, as well as our traditions and practices, to believe it’s impossible for God’s Spirit to move in people’s hearts apart from music. That kind of thinking makes music a mediator rather than a means. God can use music to do his work. But he doesn’t need music to do his work. So the direct answer to the question, “Should we play music behind people praying?” is “not necessarily.” It can easily be mistaken for …

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Training Video for Jesus Lives

For a few years now I’ve wanted to produce training videos for Sovereign Grace songs that would break down a song into learnable sections for guitar players. They would also serve guitarists who have a hard time translating a full band album arrangement into something that can work for their small group. Matt Richley and Nathan Edwards (behind the cameras), two of three interns we’ve had this year, have been working on this project and finally finished the first one. In this video, Matt unpacks how to play the song “Jesus Lives” from our recent album, Risen. We’re already working on more videos and in the future hope to produce a few for …

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Interview with Greg Hagan on Becoming a Better Guitarist, PT 2

Yesterday, I posted Greg Hagan’s answers to two questions about how to become a better guitarist. Greg not only has years of experience using his gifts to honor God, he’s able to articulate what helped him grow as a player. He’s a great example of a life-long learner, described in Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” Here are the other two questions I asked Greg to answer. What 3 practices have most helped you grow as a guitarist? 1. Listening and visualizing the fretboard. As you imagine a guitar part or melody, or listen to a recording, visualize …

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