Archive | —Training a Team

Guiding your team in technical aspects of music and preparation for congregational worship.

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Ten Reasons to Share Musical Opinions Humbly

I’ve been musing recently about how we express our musical opinions. Why do we feel so strongly about songs, bands, and styles? And why do we draw conclusions so quickly? Nope. Don’t like it. That stinks. I can’t stand that kind of music. You like that stuff? Is there anything wrong with raving about the music/artists we love and being swift to trash those we despise? If we’re Christians, yes. Let me suggest ten reasons why musical forbearance might be good for our souls. 1. Being a self-appointed music critic is often just a sign of pride. Using outrageous or exaggerated words to put down certain songs, styles, or artists can be a symptom …

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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 …

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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 …

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Preparing the Next Generation of Musicians

Where do the next generation of musicians in the church come from? What can we can do to influence, inspire, and train the young people in our church to develop and use their gifts to serve the church for the glory of God? It doesn’t matter whether we’re in a church of 50, 500, or 5000, we can begin to think about how we can pass on what we’ve learned. …

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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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Choirs in Worship

In an earlier post I mentioned a question left in one of the comments. Collin wrote: With my limited experience I am able to lead a full band on Sunday mornings but it stops there. Our church has many capable individuals that would be involved in a choir but my limitations keep me from taking the plunge and just going for it with some simple choir pieces. Do have any suggestions, for someone with my limited experience, how to go about leading a choir? Should I hold off and wait until I have proper training in leading a choir? I know a choir would serve our worship time so it is something I would like to see on occasion on Sunday mornings. In …

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Great Training Videos for Your Band

Zach Nielsen, whom I’ve only met once but felt an immediate kinship with, hosted a Church Band Seminar a while back for church musicians. He invited three Nashville musicians (Tim Rosenau on guitar, James Gregory on bass, and Scott Williamson on drums) to talk about and demonstrate playing music for congregational worship as part of a band. While the video clips aren’t the best quality, you can hear what’s being discussed, and both the content and attitude of the players are worth checking out. They cover topics including Listening to As You Play, How to Play a Chord Chart, Leading in Rehearsal, and much more. To check out all the videos go …

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Non-Christians on the Worship Team?

Recently a discussion developed over at the New City Church blog about a paragraph in my book. Here’s the paragraph in question: Even though musicians aren’t necessarily “elders” or “teachers” their presence in front of the congregation week after week implies that their life is worthy of emulation—not flawless, but demonstrating the fruit of the gospel. When that’s not true, the church gets the message that worship is more about music than the way we live. Likewise, when non-Christian musicians are used, we’re implying that the art of worship is more important than the heart. (p. 230) The comments focused around the topic of …

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Evidences of Grace in the Blogosphere

Yesterday, the blogosphere became a better, more Gospel-centered, and funnier place. That’s because my mentor, friend, and hero CJ Mahaney started a blog on the Sovereign Grace website. The by-line is “C.J. Mahaney’s View from the Cheap Seats & Other Stuff.” His co-blogger is Tony Reinke, who not only has his own blog, but has recently been hired by Sovereign Grace to capture and export much of what CJ says and does. Although CJ has authored a number of books, his greatest gifts are in the speaking arena, publicly or privately. Today’s post, “Perceiving God’s Work,” is a great example of what Tony has been assigned to do, and the content …

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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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How Do You Manage Membership on a Worship Team?

Recently I was talking to Jon Payne, the worship pastor in the Sovereign Grace church in Gilbert, Arizona. He brought up a question he had been asked about how to handle membership on a team. The particular issue was managing how long people should be on the team, given changing church size, addition of new members, seasons of life, and other factors. I thought his answer was worth sharing here at Worship Matters, so I’ve adopted it here. Each fall we have a meeting where I “fire” everyone. I want them to know I don’t assume they should automatically continue serving on the team. I give them several weeks to pray about their decision, …

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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. …

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Sheet Music or Chord Charts?

Kyle wrote in to ask this question: I am about to start leading a worship team that consists of a good number of talented people and a variety of instruments. To this point, the band has used printed sheet music for all of the songs they play; this means that someone has manually entered everything into a music writing program (Finale) and printed everything out. It also means that for any given song, A) Musicians have four to six pages of material to deal with, B) creativity and freedom of expression are squelched a bit, and C) introducing new songs to the band, and to the congregation, will be very difficult.I have been used to working from …

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Quality or Quantity on the Worship Team?

I recently received this question from John: We currently have four worship teams, giving 15-20 people a month a chance to lead in music, either by singing or playing an instrument. I’d guess that a quarter of these people are very skilled musically, and have been split among the four teams. We’ve discussed cutting the number of teams down to one or two that would be much more musically adept; the downside of this is that many “moderate” musicians would no longer have a chance to share their musical gifts as a part of worship. We want to be sensitive to everyone, yet provide the highest quality music possible for all of the obvious reasons. What …

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Book Review – The Art of Worship

Last week I had the privilege of speaking and leading worship at the Calvin Worship Symposium in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Why I chose to go to Michigan in January is a question I still haven’t answered. On Thursday, I taught an all-day seminar called Musical Arranging for God’s Glory. I shared thoughts not only on ways we can arrange music, but suggested three biblical reasons behind the choices we make: to serve the word of Christ, to serve the context, and to serve the congregation. Hosting me that day was a gentleman named Greg Scheer, whose book, The Art of Worship: A Musician’s Guide to Leading Modern Worship has recently been published …

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