Archive | Music Technicalities

Can I Change the Lyrics to Your Song?

  People sometimes ask us if they can change the lyrics to Sovereign Grace songs. A common request we’ve received is to change the “gates of gold” phrase in the third verse of Steve and Vikki Cook’s song I Will Glory in My Redeemer, because Rev. 21:21 says that they’re gates of pearl. Others want to add verses to songs (like The Gospel Song) or rewrite entire lyrics to songs, which is a bad idea. It’s like demanding someone enter into a co-writing relationship with you when you’ve never met each other. And it’s not very often that the new or additional lyrics are an improvement on the original. So with very few exceptions, our …

Continue Reading 55

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 …

Continue Reading 22

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 …

Continue Reading 31

Resources for Your Worship Team from WorshipGod11: Leading, Songwriting, Tech

Last August at WorshipGod11 we offered 40 seminars for pastors, musicians, leaders, vocalists, instrumentalists, and tech teams. Today and tomorrow I’m posting the descriptions of a few that might serve you and your team in the coming year. Right clicking on the title will download the MP3, and of course, right clicking on the outline will get you the…outline. Leading Putting Songs Together – Bob Kauflin (outline) Why do you choose the songs you do? What factors go into deciding whether one song is better to use than another? What’s the difference between lyrical flow and musical flow? How can we use songs to effectively care for people’s …

Continue Reading 12

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. – …

Continue Reading 22

Interview with Greg Hagan on Becoming a Better Guitarist, PT 1

The main guitarist for our upcoming Risen album (due out in mid-March) was Greg Hagan. Greg lives in Nashville and when he’s not playing in the studio also tours and has had years of experience leading congregational worship in his local church. I appreciated his work ethic, his knowledge of chord voicings, his proficiency in different styles, and his sense of melody. But he’s not only a versatile and phenomenal player. He’s a humble man and was an absolute joy to work with. I also learned that Greg had attended a GLAD concert when he was a teenager that helped open his eyes to the ways different kinds of music can be used to glorify God. …

Continue Reading 9

How Do I Get New Song MP3s to My Band Members Legally?

Tim wrote me to ask a question every one who works with music in the church has probably asked at least once, if not a hundred times. I was wondering how you handled the distribution of burned CDs in your music ministry. Is there anyway to do this legally? I would love to download and distribute songs on mixed CDs for two main reasons: 1) To help my musicians be familiar with new songs before rehearsal 2) To encourage Christians I am counseling to listen to songs that admonish/encourage/help them worship God in the specific area of their spiritual life that they are struggling in. I sent Tim’s question out to some of the guys who help …

Continue Reading 26

Looking for a Synthesizer?

Recently, someone contacted me about purchasing a synthesizer. My current knowledge of electronic keyboards is woefully outdated, so I passed the question on to Roger Hooper, who is the synth-player in my church and a long-time friend. He’s also a gifted composer and film scorer. Here’s how Roger responded: If the purpose of the keyboard is to do the non-piano stuff, you’ll save a lot of money going the non-weighted key bed route. I am primarily a pianist, but I’ve found that in either playing in the worship band (I also play out in the DC area), a non-weighted action is much better for playing organ parts, and the synth parts as well. Korg, …

Continue Reading 24

Software for Managing Songs

A friend of mine, Jordan Liggitt, has developed a software program for managing songs. It’s part of the Gospel Software site which produces “online tools to ease church administration.” The specific software for music is in the songbook section of the site.  I asked Joseph Stigora, worship pastor at Covenant Fellowship in Philadelphia, to give me his thoughts on it, as he’s been using it for a while now. Here’s what he said. For years I had been looking for a software that would allow me to input our own song sheets and transpose them instantly.   Those were my only criteria, really.  I was using a program that allowed for that but it had …

Continue Reading 18

Sibelius Upgrade Discount

In a previous post I extolled the virtues of the Sibelius notation software. Some of you wrote that you were thinking about upgrading. Just wanted you to know that through Dec. 12, you can upgrade to Sibelius 5 for $85 if you own a regular copy, or $65 if you own a student or educational copy. Check it out here. …

Continue Reading 0

Developing Arrangements Quickly – Band on the Run Video

Over the years I’ve tried to streamline our rehearsals. Part of it is knowing that folks have other things they’re involved in. Like being with their family. But the other part is that sometimes we just don’t have a lot of time to rehearse. So I’m always looking for ways to maximize that time. At the WorshipGod08 conference I led a seminar called “Band on the Run” that tried to address this issue, covering topics including context, feel, instrumentation, and structure. The seminar was also designed to help churches that were less familiar with arranging songs for a band. Below is a video of the seminar that lasts about 75 minutes. You can download a …

Continue Reading 15

How Do You Teach an Inconsistent Melody?

A friend recently emailed me and expressed a dilemma he was facing when teaching new songs performed by an artist who varies the way he or she sings the melody. My friend asked: When do we go with the lead sheet, and when do we go with the CD melody?  And when do we go with what is simple and consistent and when do we go with what is sung on the CD? I’ve faced the same dilemma. While I’m grateful for many of the new congregational songs that have emerged in recent years, they’re not always sung in a way that makes it easy for a congregation to pick them up. Phrases are elongated in one verse and not the other, melodies are changed, and sometimes …

Continue Reading 8

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 …

Continue Reading 12

Finale or Sibelius – Notation Software

I received this question from a WorshipMatters reader: I’ve heard good things about both Finale and Sibelius as far as notation software goes. Now, I understand that, perhaps depending on the needs, one software might be better than the other. Is it possible to give a quick run-down as to “which should I (i.e. my church) choose if it wants notation software?” Does it matter? What are the different strengths/weaknesses? Let me start by telling you I’m a Sibelius fan. Here’s my story. I used Professional Composer in the early 90′s for notation and then switched to Finale in the early 90′s. Not too long after I moved to Covenant Life Church …

Continue Reading 24

Are We Responsible for Musical Literacy in the Church?

I’m getting questions every week now on topics related to worship and music. I wish I had time to answer each one, but I can’t get to them. But thanks so much for writing and assuming I might have an answer to your question. I received this question from Stephen: What effect do you see the “PowerPoint driven church” and American pop culture having on the musical literacy of your instrumentalists, and potentially on the future of the church? Being a worship pastor in a somewhat “emerging” church (AKA rock band and candles with historic Christianity), I am beginning to see the great need for “reproducing” musicians who are musically literate. …

Continue Reading 8

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes