23
Jan
07

Thursday Night Thoughts

So, I started my first ‘regular’ installment of this blog a few weeks back and have already fallen off the proverbial horse. Being a Lead Worshiper and being a blog about worship, I thought I’d add in my 2 cents debrief of my worship practices that happen on Thursday nights for all you worship leaders (although as I previosly alluded, I prefer the term Lead Worshiper.)

This past Thursday night was great. I’m still settling in from Christmas so no extremely new tunes yet. This week looks like this:

  1. Let everything that has breath (I know, I know but it’s topically on point with the sermon.)
  2. Our love is loud (I KNOW but it’s fun.)
  3. Holy is the Lord
  4. Wholly Yours (Do you like what I did here with 3 and 4!!)
  5. All creatures of our God and King (2 from DC*B)
  6. Word of God speak – ala Kutless

So, it was a good night because it wasn’t anything too surprising. Although we have a couple of the guys who hadn’t played Wholly and Word of God. Let’s discuss knowing parts.

I’m a big fan of replicating the CD as much as possible while still throwing in your own personal tastes and intricacies to enhance the song for your particular worship congregation. But notice that it begins with knowing the CD. I mean this is a song someone was given inspiration for, recorded, produced, and published. They knew what they were doing. Let’s face it though, your typical volunteer musician doesn’t do what I do which is listen to the CD non-stop to learn what’s going on in the song and then rehearse your part with the CD and then by yourself to work out your part. They have a 40 hour a week job, family, dog, paper, favorite TV show, and internet addiction as well playing in my worship team. So I take it upon myself to learn their parts as much as I can. This provides me the ability to direct and encourage the band members in the manner in which I would prefer the song to be played. This may sound tyrannical but hear me out here:

One of the guys had never played Our Love is Loud with us before. So upon first hearing the song, during the verses he was playing a great but syncopated rythm that bounced around and went up high during the progression. After our run through, I asked him to play more driving quarter notes on the low end notes during the verses. This, to me, is essential to keeping the beat because the guitars almost completely drop out and it fills better with the drums and the sparse vocals. Without it, we seemed to loose some momentum there.

Beforehand, I would have no idea what any instrument other than my own is doing in any particular song. Then I’d find myself asking why the song sounded so thin? Maybe its the bass player, maybe its the guitarist not using delay or picking instead of powerchords, or the keyboardist picking out a part that the guitarist is already playing and she should be using big fat pads instead? Who knows. But you definitely WON’T know unless you’re familiar enough with the song.

I believe knowing parts is essential. If you don’t have all the musicians that the original artist used to record or just plain want to do it your own way then it’s still of utmost importance to know which direction you’re heading and how you want to get there. I know my bass player knows how to play his bass better than I could ever instruct him. But looking at the whole picture instead of one instrument allows me to instruct the band to hopefully achieve a greater over all sound.

And you know what the big pay off is? When we’re discussing parts and the direction and who’s to play where, and one of the band members has a suggestion that’s just crazy off the wall incredible and even I didn’t see it coming! What a great thing to have happen. It doesn’t always, which is why I prepare, but when it does it’s such a huge success and a wonderful thing. So encourage ideas from your band. Don’t be afraid to take ownership of how the song should sound as a whole. Definitely give direction to your team. I think people want to be led. It lets them know they aren’t showing up and wasting their time but showing up to someone who has prayed, prepared, and come excited to worship with them.

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4 Responses to “Thursday Night Thoughts”


  1. 1 Brandi
    January 23, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    I like the set-up…will ours be better?? LOL, I’m just kidding!! I like what ya did with 3 & 4….HaHa, Nice!! So, it better be for sure next week cause me n Hal were so excited to be coming this weekend but, I guess we can wait out another week.

  2. January 23, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    You could always come in 2 weeks in a row πŸ™‚
    Yes our set up will be similar. With someone on keys too since you haven’t learned anything yet! LQTM

  3. 3 Anonymous church goer
    January 23, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    I have attended many of your worship services and think you and the RCC Worship Team seems to love playing in His service. I dig the upbeat current stuff and appreciate your perspective on the nuts and bolts of the musical worship experience. An additional observation is that the e-guitar always seems to light me up: man that’s a cool instrument. I look forward to welcoming your guests in the coming week(s).

  4. January 24, 2007 at 9:24 am

    Thank you for your kind words Anonymous. I am very fortunate to have such a talented worship team but more importantly a group of people who love playing ‘church’ music. I mean I believe just about any of them could be out playing in clubs, bars, halls, etc. but they make the commitment and the time sacrifice to be available on Sundays for worship. That’s a great thing.

    Thank you too for your feedback. (I have a Human Resources degree so I LOVE feedback.) I’ll check the electric guitar level at practice. I can’t ever get enough of Jim so I’m a lil biased, but now that I know I’m not the only one, I can take another look πŸ™‚


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