Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How to Be a Successful Worship Band

After years of working with band players in various churches, participating in numerous worhsip services in various churches, hearing worship bands at conferences, and evaluating worship leaders and worship bands, I have begun to assemble a list that aspiring worship bands may find useful in order to be successful. There are some thoughts in this list for most members of the band, though I'm sure I could have given more thought to the Dobro player.

  1. Pick keys that are too high for guys to sing, and too low for women to belt out.
  2. Show off your chops by jumping the octave at a repeated phrase. Make sure no one else can possibly match you.
  3. Shout out "Christianese" phrases between songs. They don't have to fit the context, they just have to sound good, amen?
  4. Work hard at crafting all of your vowels so that you sound British or Australian.
  5. Never sing any melody the same way twice, especially when teaching a new song to the church.
  6. The only dynamic build you can ever use is repetitive eighth notes.
  7. Make sure you rush those eighth notes.
  8. Dynamics only exist in layers. "Quiet" is achieved mainly because only the acoustic guitar is finger picking at the moment.
  9. If you're a keyboard player, try to duplicate the exact rhythms the guitar players are playing, in the exact same register.
  10. If you're an electric guitar player, be sure to use all of your pedals at least once in a set, so as to disguise as much as possible the actual sound of your instrument.
  11. Be sure that your stage volume is so hot that you cannot be effectively mixed in the house.
  12. The form is ALWAYS V, V [add band], C, V, C, C, B, C, C, C, C [drums only], C, Tag.
  13. Never change keys in the middle of a song.
Alright, I've got us off to a good start, there's more, let's add to this list!

Friday, July 15, 2011

I used to be pretty good

While rummaging through my iTunes library the other day I came across a performance of Rachmaninoff's Prelude #2 in D Major. This is a recording of Yours Truly, performing at my senior recital at Cedarville University in 1994.

It's not jazz. It will take some work to listen to. I think this is my favorite piece from my recital. There were two significant challenges in this prelude. First, both the melody and the counter melody existed in the right hand. The challenge was to play the melody clearly while letting the counter melody sing sweetly over it without overcoming it.

The other challenge was maintaining left hand eighth notes while playing the right hand triplet counter melody (about a third in). It's vintage Rachmaninoff, really. I think it's not a bad performance--probably the best one from my recital, and if you asked me, I could not play it for you today. I still enjoy listening to it though.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

How Books Were Made (1947)

It is so fascinating to me to watch this laborious process. In a comparatively short time (since the original printing press) we have eliminated the need for all of these with e-pub books. No printing, no binding, no cutting, no gluing. Everyone can be an author. This comes with its problems too of course!

Take a minute to watch this video: