Archive for the 'Practice' Category


It’s all about rhythm!

Call it what you like, I’m  musician so I’ll call it rhythm possibly even “groove!” I’ve noticed my life taking a different rhythm lately. Tonight was a huge example of that! For years the rhythm of my Thursdays were something like 10-12 hour days sticking around church all day because it was too much of a hassle to leave and go home and come back again for worship practice. Feeling spunky I might get a Smoothie around 5:15. Getting home around 9:30 or so I’d grab some left over dinner and eat on the sofa catching up with Project Runway and The Ultimate Fighter with Rae. It’s not something I thought about…it’s just what I did.

Well, tonight was the first time I did that in quite some time. I felt like I was dying on the way home! I was tired, cranky, hungry (I even had my Smoothie!), even disoriented (see crazy tweets!)

SO WHAT IS RHYTHM?!? You know it, even if you can’t describe it. It’s when you find yourself tapping your foot, bobbing your head, or jumping up and down. It’s a particular pattern of a beat or accent that recurs over time.

As with a song, our lives find a certain rhythm. Tonight’s irregular pulse in the rhythm I’ve found my evenings has had me notice a few things that have become rhythmic in my life that I am certainly grateful for:

  • My new mornings: I’m trying to save some $$$ and am really using my own coffee maker instead of trucking to St. Arbucks so much! It’s given me some pep in the morning b/c I am certainly NOT a morning person!
  • My new soundtrack: there is a sudden influx of some great music in my life but none more entertaining than my good friend David Loti’s new solo project Amalgam. Chloe asks for it every morning on the way to day care and has become special to the both of us singing along to his crazy songs!
  • My Wednesday Men’s Small Group: It feels new only because I missed so much in the Summer because of camps. This group is the source of my sanity and an audible voice of God’s wisdom speaking into my life each week by some great men!
  • My new attitude: Rae says I must be man-strating because I’m in this crazy cleaning craze! Cleaning the house, my desk, and my office at church! It’s nuts! Sounds silly but I’ve even been cleaning up around here! (Notice the “Under Construction” sign above?) My Google Reader is streamlined and working insanely well!

I’m sure there are others. This has been a great exercise to take note of what’s going on around me. I’m looking forward to a new one that Rae and I will be tackling with Mud next month in reading through the New Testament in September!

What about you?


Sunday Setlist Nov. 16th – Youth Style!

Tonight we had another Youth worship service and it was wicked sweetness!!! Here we go: 

  • Tell the World – Hillsong United
  • We Won’t Be Quiet – David Crowder*Band
  • Never Let Go – Crowder
  • activity to wrap up our Road Signs series
  • Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall
  • How He Loves – John Mark McMillan

Today was just super special in so many ways but for the purpose of this post, I’ll restrict it to these songs 🙂 

I’m beginning to think that not all Youth led worship services require the most boisterous and wild and crazy songs there are. I’m finding we have as much, probably more, on the mid to low tempo songs. I think it’s because we’re in the adult sanctuary and it kind of gobbles us up and it just seems silly to go bananas in there…or I just don’t have alot of wild and crazy students…but I find that hard to believe. 

The special songs of the night were the last 3. 
It was our first time playing Crowder’s Never Let Go but after I intro-ed it, I heard a student go, “HEY! They play this song on KLove!” It was pretty funny. This is a special song for me and most of us here. I heard Crowder wrote this in response to Hurricane Katrina. Well that’s a subject near and dear to our hearts here in Louisiana and I’ve been dying to play this tune. I gave it the feel off the live Remedy Club Tour CD, but picked it on the guitar rather than on the piano.

I’m SO GLAD I don’t play Marvelous Light for the adults and that I do have some semblance of crazy students. They love ‘lifting their hands and spinning around!’ It’s my most favorite thing to do! However, note to anyone leading this song on guitar and spinning around in the process: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS pay attention to where your guitar cable is. Otherwise you come dangerously close to ripping your guitar off your shoulder or wrenching the cable right out of the guitar 🙂  

How He Loves…So much to say about this song that I’m leaving it for another post. It’s beautiful, it fit my ‘hurricane theme’ for the night! HAHAHA. And the students responded. I blew out my voice on “When I think about the waaaaay!” going into the last Chorus but I did NOT CARE! It was crazy awesome. 

I absolutely love doing worship with students. It’s much more raw and it’s so cool to see students trying to figure out how to worship! However, I did realize that I need to approach this with as much diligence as our morning adult services. We’re doing some pretty complicated stuff and I’ve taken for granted the quality of musicianship from my few “adult” musicians that step in. My goal has been a way to engage the students IN and WITH worship. And I’m resting on the crutches of some of the adults for the sake of busyness and laziness on my part. I need to remedy that for next time. 

How was yours? 

Fred’s carnival is already underway! Get involved!


VIDEOconfessional of The Worship Debacle of May 18th

I was so excited about this past Sunday, I’ve honestly been excited about the past few Sundays but not all have turned out the way they were intended. This Sunday is a GREAT example of that so why not open it up here: The Worship Debacle of May 18th! Below you’ll find some live video with text commentary from Sunday.

Here is a montage of the 1st 2 songs of the 2nd service, check it out:


  • Great contemplative prelude video
  • Good moody swelling songs for worship
  • Great offering video by Amena Brown
  • Life-changing message
  • Incredible closer: Mission’s Flame by Matt Redman


  • Great contemplative prelude failed. Probably the least successful prelude we’ve done in a while. While those already in the sanctuary probably totally dug it, it did not get people in from the Gathering Area.
  • Worship songs troubled by key player getting to practice late coupled with the bass player missing the 1st song during the 2nd service. So for the 2nd service I was totally not worshipping! In fact I started praying during Be Thou My Vision: Lord please allow worship to happen despite me because I am just not having it! Then I was convicted that I should be having it to which I argued: Tough I am just not having it!
  • Amena Brown was incredible. Message was good. Mission’s Flame was awesome! However, Amena Brown + Message + Mission’s Flame = Incoherent goop. Unfortunately, we did not do our duty to thoroughly examine these elements and with poor planning gave poor execution and an service that did not flow. However, I wonder who actually really could tell? I’m sure they didn’t see the awful disconnect but I always wonder if its the difference in people leaving going: “WOW” versus people leaving going: “Hmm.”


Are you bitter and lonely?

Do you sit at home in a dark living room with a Hungry Man and your cat watching The Best Week Ever?

Do you grumble at the old lady in front of you smelling like moth balls in the check out line who drops her coin purse and can’t move forward until she collects all the pennies?

WELL not any more! Now for the low low price of a moment’s reflection, you, YES YOU can order a Change of Perspective!


Here’s what happened last night: I say yes to far too many things, grant it I’m getting way better but it’s still a problem. So instead of enjoying an evening at home, I spend another almost hour on the road and an hour at the church on another evening during the week for our special River Kidstuf service we’re having this weekend because I’m the worship leader/dancer with the kids. It was a huge “waste of time.” I told our children’s leader that I couldn’t stay all night but I’d come and be supportive and run through my parts and stay as long as I could. We didn’t even run through the musical portions of the service at all! The entire evening was spent with the actors!

Did I:

  1. Piss and moan about what a waste of time it was for me to make it all the way back out to church for nothing!
  2. Smile yet secretly piss and moan to everyone else in a passive aggressive manner to ensure internal struggles and anonymity between the usual worship leader and team against the actors and director!
  3. Ponder why it was that God would have me spend a night away from my family to be at rehearsal!

Honestly, I entertained number 1 for about half the drive home (and it’s a long drive home too!) Then, something that our pastor touched on before Christmas snuck into my noggin and I began to ponder what purpose I could possibly have had to be present at a rehearsal where I was asked to attend but seemingly yielded nothing of benefit or relevance to me at all. I tried to think positively and honestly the rehearsal was chaotic and discombobulated and simply all over the place. I decided, being one who runs a rehearsal each week for our worship team, that I would ask our children’s leader her interpretation of practice and see if there was any way I could help.

And we had a home run folks! A quick change of perspective led to a great discussion this morning. There are alot of elements that our River Kidstuf service uses to which she doesn’t have a lot of experience in yet has felt it needed tightening up. She was wide open to feedback and we practically began finishing one another’s thoughts and sentences.

This is an easy principle, one I’m sure I’ll be tested more thoroughly on later, that by simply changing my perspective and truly believing that God has me where He has me for a particular reason or purpose can dramatically alter the way I view my circumstances. Now don’t hear me saying that I want a WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? attitude about my circumstances, more of a WHAT’S IN ME FOR IT? or…WHAT AM I IN IT FOR? or…I suck at catchy slogans but you get the picture.

It’s fairly easy to get caught up in ME that I overlook what God’s got planned for others that He’s for some reason to include me in. Setting ME aside, allows me the perspective of what God’s got in store.  I missed my wife and kiddo, for the 1st time ever Chloe actually asked me to stay when I was hopping off the sofa from the TiVo-ed Charlie and Lola episode as I put my shoes on! It broke my heart! But I believe that practice did have significance and purpose and I’m glad I went.


I once was blind but now I see…or hear…

If I could find my power cord to my camera you would have some goodies but alas I’m a dork and my camera is dead and I can’t find the cables.

Tonight I was able to do something that I’ve been wanting to do for some time now and realized afterwards that I needed to do it along time ago! That is, get out from in front of the room. Do you know what you sound like at your church? I’m not talking about how well you played or any of that, I mean do you know what is truly falling on the ears of your congregation? It truly is an important and pertinent question!

My sound team is made up of volunteers of various level of expertise and I know it gets out of whack sometimes. I had a buddy of mine who leads worship for me when I’m out of town come and lead worship for me this weekend while I am in town and I decided I would run sound tonight at practice and for Sunday. It was insane. I learned all sorts of horrible things as well as truly how wild it can be back at that board! HAHAHA. Wow. I can’t stress the education that I got from it and how “ear-opening” it was to be back there. PLUS it was a ton of fun!

Quick pre-practice run-down:

  • Re-organized the board to make things more intuitive as to where they are laid out
  • Looked at sub group organizations
  • Printed new board and snake masters
  • Line checked all the channels

Quick practice recap:

  • dB check and recheck and again and well this was just constant throughout
  • dabbled in some eqing
  • after preliminary ‘mix’ walked room listening for dead spots!
  • Identified that the pastor has the worst spot in the room to ‘hear’ the music!
  • mixing, mixing, and more mixing! I honestly would mix a song and wander the room. PFL channels and then see if I could find them in the mix. Bring them out and let them disappear to hear the difference. I must have done this with almost every instrument.
  • Fiddled with our effects processor just a tad. What does ‘Grand Hall’ truly sound like on the lead vocals 🙂

So I’m curious…what do you do? Or is this even an issue for you?

Next week, I’m taking the entire week off. My buddy is leading worship and I’m going to set up shop in the corner and just play guitars and maybe sing background in a mic. Maybe just to myself! I CAN’T WAIT!


Your Grace is Enough -> Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

Took longer than I thought to get this together. I hate the recording but I think you’ll get the idea. I can only take short videos with my camera so I had to redo it a couple of times and basically kept just the parts important to the transitions. By all means, if and when you do this with your congregation make sure you feel out the lengths that you find appropriate.

Let me know how it comes out if you choose to use it.


How do you plan???

Work’s tough. We all have plans and systems to help us become more efficient and effective. Yet for some reason when I joined the church full time, I figured I could just ‘do it.’ What an awful proud dumb thing!

So Los pimps out which I almost subscribed to this past weekend.

The boys at Northpoint pimp out whose interface is ‘cooler’ and ‘hipper.’

So I’m curious: What are your thoughts? What do you use? What helps?

I’ve become aware that I’m either too ADD, unorganized, naive, in-experienced and such to be able to sit in my office and plan all this out. We have Worship Planning meetings weekly but I need to get out to Starbucks away from distraction and some of these tools these sites offer look extremely enticing.


Worship Confessional April 29

Video Highlights:

We are in ATL! Thirsty starts tomorrow!! WOOHOO!

Yes, that is Miami Ink in the background 🙂

Yes, I look ragged and apparently speak out of the side of my  mouth…kind of…weird, I haven’t watched me speak much before these videos 🙂


  1. All over the world – A – Redman
  2. Beautiful One – G – combination of Camp and Hughe’s style. Campish feel with Hughe’s tag ending.
  3. Mighty to Save – A – Hillsong
  4. I will not forget You – G – old school goodie
  5. I stand amazed (How marvelous) – G – Tomlin’s revamp
  6. Nothing but the blood – A – Redman

3 GUITARS! Is there anything better??? What’s your team look like? Do you make do or prefer your set up??



I had practice this morning for our monthly youth service that is happening tomorrow and all I can say is: WOAH SLAP YO MOMMA! 🙂 HAHAHAHA.

Thank you Lord for putting me in this position b/c I think I’m in a rare one. I use mostly high school students to play with me when doing this b/c A) They then buy into it more B) Their friends want to see them play C) They’re playing music glorifying God and that’s incredible for high school students! But let’s be honest, in high school you didn’t have a ton of experience or skill 🙂 Our line up looks like this:

1. Lead vox and acoustic guitar – Me

2. Drums – Foo – non-high school – he’s my anchor of confidence of like 6 years, probably the last to replace w/ a HSer if that ever comes 🙂

3. Bass – Billy – 10th grade

4. Electric Guitar – Partlow – non-high school
Caleb – high school 10th grade (maybe 11th)

5. Keys – Lizzie – high school 9th grade

6. BG vox – Stephanie – 10th grade

Now check out the songs we’re pulling out:

  1. Let God Arise – Tomlin – A
  2. Tell the World – United – as recorded, I don’t play on this one so I don’t know the key – F#?? A??
  3. Ever Move I make – Crowder – G
  4. Our Love is Loud – Crowder – E
  5. Take it All – United – as recorded
  6. Here is Our King – Crowder – A

None older than 10th grade and they are killing it!!! So, I want to record some of it and get a video up here for ya’ll. OH and I’m interviewing Caleb on his Jekyll and Hyde tomorrow just for you Superman! GET READY FOR IT!


New Song Cafe

So the New Song Cafe this week is Brenton Brown interviewing Chris Tomlin with his song, “How Can I Keep From Singing.”

I happen to like these dealios, I watch them often to find out how artists are doing certain phrasings and how they’re using chord structures. This one was more funny than anything. Tomlin capos up to play a G formation in the key of Bb. He even makes mention that we’ll probably not capo that high. Turd. But it’s a G formation so not a whole lot new here.

2 things, and please don’t send hate comments my way, you see how big a Passion Head I am so this comes across like seeing your friend on TV and laughing at how he’s got that cow lick in the back because he tried so hard to get dressed up for the interview, it’s all in good humor people.

1. Brenton Brown…Herman Munster anyone??? He is so dang rigid sitting there!! Hilarious.

2. Vests are there to protect us. Life vests protect us from drowning. Bullet proof vests protect us from dieing. Sweater vests protect us from pretty girls Chris! That will not help your singleness 🙂

Check it out seriously, it’s a great song and the beginning Chris shares how he and Matt collaborated to write this song.

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