Archive | —Vocalists

Music – Gift or God?

Back in November I had the privilege of speaking at the Christian Musician Summit in Seattle, WA. In one of the main sessions, I spoke on the topic of Music:  Gift or God? and mentioned that I’d post my notes on my blog. I had forgotten until someone emailed me the other day asking for them. So here’s what I shared… Music is a very good gift. The 13,000 songs on my iTunes are testimony to that. My eyes have often welled up in tears as I’ve been affected by a lyric, a chord progression, or a musical texture. I’ve thanked God for the gift of music more times than I can remember. Whenever I think about my love for music, I’m reminded of …

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How Does a Worship Leader Cue the Congregation?

A while back I received an email from Paul asking: One of the central roles of a worship band is to help the congregation to sing. Do you have advice on how a worship band can best cue the congregation? What kinds of things could I tell my instrumentalists and singers to do to help the people come in on the first words of a song or verse? How would you in general encourage congregational singing? Paul’s question highlights one of the differences between leading a group of people to praise God from their hearts and simply playing and singing music for them. While people can certainly join along as we play our songs, it’s helpful when we make …

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Finding the Right Key to Sing In

Chris recently wrote me to ask a question about the tension between congregational-friendly keys and leader-friendly keys. I have a upper-mid range tenor voice and though I can sing lower fairly easily, I find that if I transpose a song to a “congregational friendly” key the song loses energy, sometimes significantly. I want to serve the people in my church well and I am willing to put up with less energy if they are more comfortable singing along, but if the time of singing is musically flat, I wonder if it may be more detrimental to the overall “experience” (for lack of a better word) than to have people stretch vocally or sing in parts. Any …

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Is Talent Overrated?

I just finished reading Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, by Geoff Colvin. Fascinating book. Giftedness is a topic that I’ve thought about a lot. Are we selling ourselves short by assuming that we’ll never be as good a keyboardist, vocalist, guitarist, drummer, or whatever, as the people we esteem? Colvin begins the book by examining the lives of several famous “greats,” including Tiger Woods, Mozart, Jack Welch, and Jerry Rice. He says that most people think their greatness arose either from a) hard work; or b) talent. Colvin says neither, and uses scientific and anecdotal evidence to support …

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WorshipGod08 Seminars Now Available

Over at the Sovereign Grace website, we’ve finally posted 29 WorshipGod08 seminars for you to listen to or download for free. . . . Here’s the list: Band on the Run (Bob Kauflin) Building Bridges: Pastors and Worship Leaders (Bob Kauflin) Caring for Your Sound System (Darryl Wenger) Copyright Law and Church Music: The Eight Keys (Paul Herman) Drumming for Worshipers (Jordan Kauflin) Electric Guitar Workshop (Dave Campbell) Foundations for Bass Players (Don Nalle) Foundations for Keyboardists (Jon Payne) Growing Your Team for the Glory of God (Jon Payne) In-Ear Monitors (Doug Gould) Leading and Caring for …

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Encouraging Spontaneous Singing on Your Team

I received this question from Steve: In the past year or so I’ve been encouraging the vocalists on our Sunday morning worship teams to feel more freedom to sing spontaneously between verses or musical lines. They hear me speaking or singing during a song and a few of them are beginning to grow in freedom. I think it’s generally been a positive contribution to our corporate worship. However, on a few occasions it’s misfired: we’ve spoken/sung over the top of each other, what they contribute wasn’t clear, or it wasn’t musically fitting. And on at least one occasion a vocalist’s contribution had the effect of momentarily blurring …

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Worship Team or Songleader?

I received this question from Dennis: What would you say are the benefits of a “worship team” (several singers leading at the front) as opposed to one “songleader”? From what I can see, at least one major benefit is, to have many voices projecting the volume of a song *AT* the congregation, to help them catch on to it. This has been especially helpful when learning new songs. Are there other benefits of a worship team, in your opinion? No church ever needs to feel as though their corporate worship is less biblical, authentic, effective, or genuine because they don’t have a “worship team.” God doesn’t give us specific direction in Scripture …

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When the Soloist is Out of Tune

I received this question from a leader who recently had a young girl sing a very off-key solo in his church. He had worked with her to improve her pitch, but it was to no avail. Her parents didn’t recognize how poorly she sang, so he wrote: How do you deal with a scenario like this? Singing is evidently not a gift that this girl possesses, yet her parents encourage her. I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone in this family, but should I continue to allow her to sing in services? If not, how would you recommend dealing with this issue should it arise again? I have no problem being “confrontational,” but I certainly don’t want to dash hopes or discourage …

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What Do We Wear to Worship God?

A leader sent this question to me: Recently there have been some people offended by some of the appearance of the worship team. We are seeking to glorify God in our response. We do not want to go beyond what the Scripture says. What are some of the standards that you would hold for your worship team? I’m assuming that “appearance” refers to what someone is wearing. I appreciate this person’s desire to follow God’s Word when it comes to the attire of those who lead congregational worship. Unfortunately, God isn’t as clear as we might want Him to be, which is a good thing. Can you imagine if God told us exactly what a godly person should …

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Managing Multiple Musicians

Not too long ago I received an e-mail from someone whose music team has grown, resulting in less-gifted musicians still on the team. He asks: Do you set thresholds for talent/ability that must be met in order for people to participate in the leading worship?  What about ‘good people’ who don’t meet your thresholds? As a corollary, how do you manage multiple musicians who ‘pass muster’ wanting to play the same part?  In other words, do you have 4 guitarists every Sunday, or do you rotate your players? Every growing church will eventually face the issue of too many instrumentalists and/or vocalists. Here are a few suggestions and ways we’ve …

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How Do I Improve My Voice?

This question comes from Joe. I appreciated his desire to grow in the often neglected skill of singing. How can a pastor-to-be improve his voice to be prepared to lead congregational singing if he is called to a small church where he is the sole staff member? I took the liberty of asking some of the vocally gifted folks in Sovereign Grace churches how they would answer this question, and here are some of their responses, starting with those that require the least time. 1.  Sing at home, taking the words out of the song and just singing on AH  or OH to have the voice open up and get comfortable. Later on, add the words. 2.  Practice …

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