Archive | —Musicians & Vocalists

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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Listening to Music – Erosion or Accumulation?

The title of this post comes from Russ Bremeier’s weekly Music Connection Newsletter from Christianity Today. It’s a helpful way to keep up on what’s happening in the Christian music world. Here’s the introduction to one of his recent emails: Have you ever noticed how an impression of a song or album can change with repeated listens? Thank goodness it doesn’t happen too often for me, but there are times when I’m nagged by the feeling that I got a review wrong because my opinion of the album has since changed. Depending on that change, I call it erosion or accumulation. Erosion occurs when an album I initially love begins to wear on me—not …

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Keyboard

Worship Leaders – Five Things to Remember About Skill

I’m in the midst of rewriting my book for Crossway. Things didn’t go quite as smoothly as I hoped last week. But my good friend, Jeff Purswell, saw I wasn’t doing well and offered to pray for me. I realized I’ve only been thinking of what I have to do and haven’t been focused on what God can do. That changes everything. I’m happy to report my attitude is much better this week. In any case, I don’t have much time for blogging. So I thought I’d post an excerpt from an unedited chapter. It may not even make it in the final version of the book, but I thought it might be helpful. It’s from the first section on “What Matters.” Just wanting to …

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Should I Take Piano Lessons?

I’m currently at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA, with 1600 men for “The Quest: A Journey Through Biblical Masculinity.” It’s a conference being hosted by Sovereign Grace Ministries, but we have a significant number of guests. I have the privilege of leading corporate worship three times along with my good friend Joseph Stigora. I’ve also been asked to teach a seminar on “The Pursuit: A Fresh Look at Courtship for Fathers and Sons.” I’m happy to encourage young men to give more thought to pursuing a woman in a way that pleases God, and challenging dads to serve their sons in the process. One of the highlights for me yesterday was meeting Shai …

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How To Benefit From a Conference

Dan left this question in the comments section of a previous post: I have been to quite a few conferences over the years and I always feel encouraged, rejuvenated, alive, etc. while AT those conferences… but then we go back to our churches – and over time, that zeal tends to be overshadowed, once again, by the mundane, the rut, the blahs, of real life/ministry. Any comments or suggestions on what we can all do to deal with that? Are conferences beneficial? They can be. And if we’re going to invest time and money into them, they should be. God can use conferences to alter a person’s life and ministry. They can also be a colossal waste of …

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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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Playing Spontaneously

Musicians have long argued about which is better for the church – musicians who play by note or those who play by ear. I’ve concluded there are advantages to both. I got a performance degree in classical piano that has enabled me to pick up a songbook, hymnal, choral arrangement, or lead sheet and figure out what’s going on fairly quickly. I can play for a variety of situations that require note-reading skills. On the other hand, I’ve been playing by ear for as long as I can remember. That enables me to play chord charts, improvise introductions and endings to songs, create a better flow between songs, and not have to rely on printed music. If …

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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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On Musicians and Reading Books, Pt. 3

Today I’m sharing two more reasons why Christian musicians aren’t known for dropping hundreds of dollars on theology books. 3. Studying God takes time. This is similar to the point I made yesterday about the study of theology being hard. We live in the age of instant everything. I still remember when there was no internet (much less wireless connections), e-mail didn’t exist, you had to wait a week to get your camera film developed, and microwave ovens were a novelty. My, how things have changed. We want to know God NOW. We want to have life-changing 15 minute devotional times, are drawn to the “One-Minute Bible,” and get anxious …

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On Musicians and Reading Books, Pt. 2

Yesterday I began a series on the importance of Christian musicians taking the time to study theology. Today I want to share some reasons so many of us don’t. 1. We don’t understand the purpose of theology. Theology informs our minds to win our hearts, so that we might love God more accurately and passionately. Some of us are suspicious of words like theology, doctrine, and study. We’d rather relate to God through stories, experiences, and feelings. We believe that all we need to get along is Jesus. I remember a speaker inviting a crowd to shout out their denomination on cue. The result was cacophony. Then he invited us to say the …

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On Musicians and Reading Books

I think I’ve interacted with enough Christian musicians over the past couple decades to make a general observation: Christian musicians rarely read theology books. Now, I know that’s a broad statement. There are non-musician Christians who don’t like to study theology, too, and some Christians musicians who actually love theology. You’re the ones who took offense at my earlier comment. “What’s he talking about? I’m ALWAYS reading theology books!” If so, you’re to be commended. But you’re the exception. When I’ve asked musicians what they’re reading, the response is often secular business bestsellers, novels, music magazines, …

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Blogs for Music

How do you teach 8 year olds that God goes on forever? How do you explain the Trinity to them? How do you help children understand what it means that God is holy? Why not use music? Last year we at Sovereign Grace Ministries released our first CD for children, ages 7 and up. It was an attempt to teach children about God through song. We called it Awesome God. I’ve noticed for some time that children often sing songs that assume they have a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That’s due partly to the fact that many adult songs are simply adapted for use by children. Also, many songs written today for congregational worship tend …

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