4 Essential Tips on Bass for Worship Teams

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Oftentimes, the quality of a song is driven by a good rhythmic pattern. While listeners get hooked with melody, ambient effects, or creative lead guitar lines, the song’s tightness and dynamics is what makes it fundamentally great. In contemporary music, the only way to achieve this is to have the bass and drums an inseparable pair. Below are some essential tips on how to achieve this as a bass player.

  1. Have an awareness of what the drummer is doing. This does not mean all kick patterns should be followed right down to the tee, but there should be an apparent awareness of what each other is doing. Observe what the groove interplay between the hi-hats, snare and kick drum. As the drummer uses both hands and feet, it is obvious that he/she can have more things going on than a bassist. You need to be aware of them and formulate a game plan on what your groove should be. In some occasions, playing slightly off may produce a unique feel and could unlock a creative atmosphere. Following the kick pattern is always a safe place to start with. As you get comfortable and sure with it, lay in some distinct fills and groove patterns in the repeated sections of the song. Before you finalize, agree with your drummer and so with the rest of the band.
  2. Do not be tentative. Keep your playing intact. Ensure that you pluck your strings cleanly and the notes sound clear. What usually differentiates a professional bassist from an amateur is their boldness of their bass sound and the clarity of their notes. There is no room to be a tentative bassist. The crowd easily feels an unsure bass lines In live occasions, hence, one of your main accountabilities as a bassist is to keep them engaged by not leaving empty spaces in the song.
  3. Know the right tone. This applies to all instruments. But specific to bassists, your tone can either make the band sound professional or novice. If you’re someone who started a band back in elementary or high school in your friend’s garage, you probably could still remember the way you guys sounded like. Most probably, the quality of the bass tone you had would be among other things you could easily point out. So what is a good bass tone? Well, a bass should sound low. This means you cant be clashing with the guitars nor with the keyboard tones. This may also mean learning to properly tweak your eq settings whether on the amplifier or on your bass guitar. Bassists may have varying taste when it comes to tone, but there is a common ground where good ones meet.
  4. Observe dynamics. As a bassist, you are the drummer’s co-pilot in driving the dynamics of the song. Be sensitive about how your intensity is affecting the mood of the audience. A good start is to understand the sections of the song. Normally, the second or third choruses should be the loudest. In some songs, there are bridge parts that have more energy and hence require added intensity. Some may have a down chorus or a down bridge, wherein you can have a window to play high on the neck for a short period of time. Learn to utilize your volume knob as a tool to fade in / out or create a swell. You can also use your bass guitar equalizer to emphasize certain frequencies on certain parts of the song. Think as if you are taking the listener for a ride where you don’t always jumpstart at full speed.

Hope these tips help you become a better musician. Remember, it’s good to enjoy while
playing, and it feels better to see people around you enjoy as you continue to develop
awareness of what you is doing.

Blog by Kim Ramos

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Overcoming A Common Pitfall For Worship Leaders

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As worship leaders, many times we find ourselves in the midst of confusion, pain, hurt and chaos. Many times we find ourselves facing a challenge that seems too difficult to overcome. In these situations, many times we find ourselves asking why and what could we have done to deserve such things. The difficult thing is because we hold the title of ‘worship leader’ or ‘worship team member’ we tend to try to hide our struggles and put on a ‘victorious Christian’ mask.

In my life, as a worship leader, whenever I face trials and challenges, I used to have a “pass or fail” mindset. In my own strength, I must do what I can to “pass” but more often than not, I find myself failing. It was a while before I realized that I set myself up in a vicious cycle with this mindset. I needed to get out. What could I do? This was my question. The answer to this question came quickly; a gentle reminder to my heart to remember who I am in Christ.

We lose our identity so quickly when we start seeking other things like career, success, relationships, technology, etc. When we seek things that do not have eternal value. If we focus minds or put priority on earthly things, we easily get entangled with the expectations of the world (Romans 8:5). We start wanting to do things our way, in our strength rather than relying on God.

For me, I had to go back to the basic truth: “I am a child of God.” Knowing who I am in Christ determines my perspective on life. Everything changes. Specifically in worship leading, when I stand on stage, I need my feet to be firmly planted on God (Our Firm Foundation), knowing that I am His child. This helps overcome nervousness; performance mentality and so many things that worship leaders deal with. It also helps us in how we lead. My view has changed and I see people in a different light. Often times I am moved with compassion, seeing people and understanding where they are coming from. Many go through life in pain, just trying to survive. Being on stage then doesn’t just become another time of singing but a holy, sacred time where God’s presence invades and changes lives, just as my life was changed.

Knowing who you are in Christ will not just give you peace, it will also help you figure out your calling and purpose in life. Knowing who you are in Christ is something that you need to be committed to. Start by reading your Bible, praying, spending time in worship.

Check out this list of who you are in Christ by Joyce Meyer, read it out loud every day, meditate on it and let the Word of God renew your mind and bring transformation to your life.

Blog by: Ginny Huyssen

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The Winning Combination: Gear & Skill

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The Winning Combination: Gear & Skill (Part 1)

Since this is my first blog here, let me start this series by telling you where I am coming from. I learned guitar and music with the mindset of “I have to practice enough, sound good enough and perform well enough to play in front of some audience”. In my first few months of playing, I already played in my church. A year after that, I played with my high school band Rage Against the Machine tunes! The ballgame has shifted, but the idea is still the same. In my thinking, you are a musician if you write songs, arrange songs, improvise and play these songs in front of an audience or at least involved in some sort in that process.

A perfect analogy would be the word “engineer”. You are an engineer when you build something from scratch and someone ends up using it. It’s the Engineering Process. So if you have built nothing, or have not been involved in any of its process, then you’re not an Engineer. Maybe you passed the board exams, and you got the title! So being more clear:

Engineers builds stuff for the user, Musicians play for the Audience (real or maybe online nowadays)

If you’re the type that do not want to be in the musician/audience dynamics then stop reading because this is not for you.

Now, addressing the other side of the fence, when you call yourself a musician or want to be in that world or maybe you think you are being called to be one, then there will be responsibilities. God will provide you the tools. You need to have the desire for learning to use these tools and become good stewards. Both gear and skill are tools but you acquire them at different rates.

Gear can be acquired easily sometimes, when you have the resources, the money to buy, or the forceful will to get it as fast as you can. How many times have we seen guitar players with a $4000 guitar, $5000 amp and a $10,000 pedalboard that sounds like garbage? A lot!

Skill, on the other hand is a wild and disrespectful animal, it does not want to be caught, it takes time and it will always try to escape. It takes years of non-stop taming! I developed my alternate picking for 10years, and I still am finding new ways to develop it more. Check out one of my video practice logs on my page to see how I keep up. John Petrucci said in one of his clinics it’s all about work ethic and conditioning. True that!

Here are my alternate picking heroes:  Steve Morse, Don Mock, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci Pat Martino and tons more!

You stop for a week? You rust out!

You don’t practice? You sound like garbage!

You don’t know how to set up your gear? You sound like a cockroach!

You don’t learn the songs? You get stage fright!

You come ill-prepared? You play 2million notes so the audience think you’re good but you’re not!

I digress from such long introduction and get to the Part 1 of this series.

Let us dissect the title and focus on Gear today! Under gear, let’s talk about pedals. Some people call it effect pedals or stomp boxes. It is whatever you put in between the guitar and the amp.

Pedal Choices: Let’s begin with what I use, (I mean I can only advise on things I use myself) when you are starting out, you get swayed by a lot of hype from the internet or the people around you who have “better” gear. The word “Better” means nothing. My first pedal was a cheapo distortion that sounded too harsh because the gain stage RC circuit was tuned at 3.5Khz, I had to open it up and modify that stage. Then you hear someone with a $300 overdrive who never worked on his subdivision picking rant online blaming his gear for sounding bad!

The most important pedal for me is the tuner, so get one first. Be it a clip on or the floor type. The next best pedal for me is not a pedal, but a nice clean power supply, clean meaning no 60hz hum, minimized EMI, RFI, EMI noise. Good ripple rejection and power factor correction with isolated outputs so no ground loops. What I use for my board is the T-Rex chameleon it has not failed me for 8 years, hundreds of gigs, different venues even outside the Philippines, I have recorded about 8 albums with it already. It’s beat up and been to war! If you get a good power supply, then everything you get next will be easy.

Gain based effects: Next up would be a nice overdrive, there just thousands to choose from, but I get one from my brother’s pedal store ElectricNim manila blues screamer (shameless plug!) Overdrives, if designed well will give a tube like saturation via smooth asymmetric clipping of the waveform, producing more even harmonics pleasing to the ears. My approach is set the gain to max and just use my guitar volume pot to change gain structure. It does not mean it will work for you though, you have to figure it out yourself. Most pedals will have 3 basic knobs to tweak:

GAIN – amount of drive, distortion

VOLUME – how loud you want it to be when you hit it, normally set based on the clean sound

TONE – most of the time, it’s the brightness. Too much and it becomes too bright, too low and you become muddy and dark.

I also have a booster from the same maker called “Electric Maya” it goes before my overdrive. It helps when I need more gain for soloing or if I want to drive the preamp stages harder. For boosters, you want it to be as clean of a boost as possible and it has to compliment your overdrive.

Overdrive or Distortion? For engineers, it does not mean anything. There’s no difference, both distorts the waveform via some sort of clipping via diodes or gain stage bias.

Time based effects: Next would be a delay pedal. I have been using the tc electronics flashback, and it has been serving me well. Note about the delay though, it is easy to overuse them when you don’t know how to use them, the thing is, the timing of the delay should always match the tempo of the song, also be careful with the amount of feedback and mix the you put in. It will depend on the venue and tempo. If you are too lazy to learn these terminologies, again, you will sound like garbage.

You can also add choruses, phasers Etc. Check out The Pedal Show to learn more about pedals.

Dynamics range effects: To help you control the dynamic range get a compressor. Compressors can be explained in 3 ways: electronically, aurally and mathematically. Check this link. Become familiar with the terminologies we use like threshold, attack, release and ratio.

Threshold – is the level at which the compressor kicks in.

Ratio – It’s the ratio in which you want to compress when the threshold is reached.  

Attack – how long do you want to wait for the compression to kick in

Release – how long you want to compress when the as soon as the threshold is reached.  

So if you got a compressor, and you randomly set knobs because you are too lazy to learn it, you will sound like garbage!

I use it a lot when I record songs to even out playing nuances, set to 3:1 ratio and enough threshold to cap the transients but not too much that it kills the guitar tone too much. I look for a very subtle compression that is almost inaudible. Attack and release settings will be based on the song tempo too.

Equalizers will help you cut or boost frequencies that need to be modified. Check this article. We use terms like LOW, MIDS, HIGH, LOW MIDS, HIGH MIDS, etc

Wah Pedals – stay away from this if you’re a beginner. It can make you sound rock or make you sound like a duck! :-) But I use the Jerry Cantrell signature Wah

So my entire pedal board is as simple as possible, so any problem I encounter live will always be easy to troubleshoot. Believe me, you can have a musical career with just this. The whole setup fits inside my luggage if I go out of town.

Guitar <- (tuner and awesome power supply) Wah – Booster – Overdrive – Delay -> Amp

PEDAL Investment: Buy what you can afford, don’t rush, don’t be in debt to get gear, always wait for the best price (there will always be a legal lower price when you wait)  

Multi-effects Pedals: I used Line 6 PODxt Live (again tons of gigs and about 5 full album recordings) for a couple of years over 10 years ago when it came out. The idea behind multi effects pedals is that you have to approach it as if it is individual pedals in one box. So not understanding what I presented earlier will give you a hard time using them. I had a good experience with the zoom G2R Richie Kotzen signature a while back, it’s cheap and it sounds good. It’s been discontinued though so I am sure they have come up with better updates. I think any multi effects pedal can be made to sound great if you dive into the learning curve and the endless hours of tweaking required for it to sing.  

Technology has evolved nowadays we can get awesome tones using ipads, I have been experimenting with Bias FX and Bias Amp simulation. Promising tones!

Translation: Translation refers to how your gear will sound with different venues, amps, settings, amount of audience, etc. If you decide the gear you will invest in, make sure you understand how it will translate. You can sound great in your church and bedroom, but when used in a different place, you might have too much 1khz or maybe too thin because of the lack of low end. Again, the things I discussed above will come into play. You need to have an idea what to tweak, what frequency to boost or cut and which knob to turn, all these things you have to decide while playing live or while the audience is waiting for you to set up.

Reading Manuals: No need explaining, read the manuals! Know what those knobs do!

Conclusion: Great musicians balance gear and skill and write songs with them in their heads, because that’s the winning combination! When you spend money buying gear (including the guitar), make sure you also invest time on knowing how to use it properly. You have a daily choice of becoming a gear slave or a real musician! Hope you always choose the later because it is more rewarding. People around you can buy and buy more gear, but if you focus on balancing gear and skill, you will meet these gear boys 10 years down the road and they will still be in that same boring stagnant skill state as they are before.

Do you need to know all this to become a great musician? No. But one thing is for sure, the more mature you become as a musician, the more respect you put with the learning process for both gear and skill. Have a vision in your head on how you want to sound and do not stop until you achieve it. In the next part we will talk about developing your skill as a musician. See you!

Blog by: Dennis Llante

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5 Important Tips for Songwriting

guitar-classical-guitar-acoustic-guitar-electric-guitarMany people want a simple formula for writing a song. Though there are methods and routines that people might develop, an important thing to remember is that it is a form of art. If we try to form an equation for writing a good song, it might work for some, but it will definitely not work for all. That leaves us with our own journey of discovery for songwriting. Who we are and what we do impact how we will write songs. Others can only give us tips and ideas to help us along our own path.

I really like the tips that John Chisum gave in an article he wrote, “The Seven Secrets Pro Christians Songwriters Use” (http://worshiplife.com/2016/04/07/the-seven-secrets-pro-christian-songwriters-use-by-john-chisum/). I like that he presents concepts rather than steps.

I would like to present some of my own thoughts in response to the question, “How do you write a song?”

Understand why you are writing the song.  What is the purpose? The purpose may call for different methods, different lyrics, and different melody. A contemporary Christian song is different than a corporate worship song. One of the major differences is that a worship song is meant to be sung by many, so it should be easy to learn, easy to sing, and should facilitate worship.

Be inspired.  Ideas can come from anywhere, so always be alert. It takes discipline to catch an idea, remember it, and develop it. The most important thing is we need to take the idea to the Word of God allowing an idea to become true inspiration. If it doesn’t line up with the Word of God, it will only be an idea.

Stay on Topic.  In the Philippines there is a wonderful dessert called “halo-halo” meaning “mix- mix.” The mix of many different dessert items combined to make one majestic dessert worked with halo-halo. It doesn’t work with song writing. Taking many cool sounding phrases, or currently relevant themes and putting them all in one song won’t make a majestic song.

Put you heart into it.  Any song that I have written has a story behind it. It’s attached to a time in my life as I journeyed as a worshiper and a songwriter. Though song writing has form to it, form alone won’t help you to write a good song. In the end, it has to come from your heart. Lean to be vulnerable when you’re writing a song. Combine heart and form to make something great!

Just do it.  Many people get stuck at the ‘how to’ stage. Worry about technique and where to start. It’s good to study technique and there are many good resources available. But at some point you have to stop studying and start doing. Break the ice! You may or may not like the first song you write, but getting started as a songwriter will be a victory in itself.

Blog by: Toby Huyssen

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Where Heart and Skill Meet

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Where Heart and Skill Meet
by Jenry Pawhay

                         

In any worship ministry, we will always struggle with seemingly opposite priorities and motivations. It’s easy to think of situations where one of these items win out over the other. I have seen situations where musicians are hired based entirely on their skill, with no thought for spiritual maturity or alignment to the vision of the church. And I’ve also seen situations, especially in smaller congregations, where a leader is all heart and the music is of objectively poor quality.

Ultimately, we all realize that a worship leader should both possess a heart and skill, but which do we place priority on? Development of skill limits distractions and facilitates a transparent worship experience, but a focus on anointing enables a leader with G chords and a capo to focus entirely on shepherding. So where do we end up in this tug of war?

The Need for Skill:

 I believe that worship is an act of the heart. Does that mean that I shouldn’t bother putting effort into my craft and it’s ok if I don’t play or sing well? Because after all, God doesn’t care what it sounds like as long as my heart is in the right place”.

 It may have been said slightly different one way or another when you heard it, but no doubt you’ve heard people make this statement many times. But is that really true? How does God really feel about the quality of the music we offer up to Him? Is it really even necessary to perfect it? Rehearse and polish our harmony and sound. Is it really worth it to train your voice and perfect your gift? Or is this all just vanity for the sake of our own egos?

Many don’t think He cares at all. In fact, some believe as long as you’re singing for, to, or about God, anything is ok. Often you see this argument come up when people are being pushed past what they can comfortably do with a minimal amount of effort and/or rehearsal. For some reason, most people really resent any extra work, training, effort or rehearsing to perfect music done for God. Let’s consider the following Scriptures:

I Samuel 16:17 “And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.”

Psalms 33:3 “Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.”

I Chronicles 15:22 “And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skillful.”

When you study the scripture relating to music ministry, one of the first things you notice is that almost every time scripture speaks specifically about a singer or musician, it always point out that singer or musician’s high level of skill.

Often times, it’s not a passion or even a concern for doing right by God that causes people to begin protesting against the work that goes into perfecting music ministry. It is the disdain for the work itself. The truth is, to play or sing skillfully in music ministry, it does take a lot of work. Anointed Gospel choirs don’t just walk into the choir stand and automatically sing like that. Exceptionally gifted musicians don’t just wake up playing that way one Sunday morning. It takes work and hours of practice. It takes higher levels of training and study. It takes going over parts over and over.

Not everyone has the same level of natural ability. And for those who don’t, could certainly get there with some extra work, or some training to hone their craft. But rather than do that work they would rather give themselves a pass by making the argument that “God doesn’t care about all that”, or “It’s not about being perfect, it’s about what’s in your heart.”

Ironically that statement about how God really cares more about what’s in your heart couldn’t be more true. God doesn’t care if your gift is perfect. What He does care about though, is whether or not what you’re giving Him is your best. That explains why those singers, musicians, and choirs who train and practice and perfect their musical gifts and ministries are often bestowed higher levels of anointing.

Heart in-tuned with God

         “What if… I’m a really good guitar player and come Sunday morning I bring a performance that would make Joe Satriani sound like a beginner, then can I disregard my motives, my devotion, and my personal journey of discipleship and worship?”

When you search the scriptures, you see skill given high regard in music ministry. But you also see that skill alone is not enough. David was famous not only because of his high level of skill, but because of the anointing on his music.

Guard our Heart… Proverbs 4:23 tells us the heart is so incredibly important, and its condition is so critical, that watching over it should be our top priority. The Hebrew literally reads, “More than all guarding.” The words of this verse are a reminder that if we are going to do what must be done, we must keep our hearts in tune. Guarding is a call that demands pro-activity because life starts in the heart. What directs the course of our lives is not merely the decisions we make, big or small, it’s what lies beneath those decisions.

                   Jesus said, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil…” (Luke 6:45).

Look to Jesus, as an example.

  1. Like Jesus, we are to do nothing on our own – Listen to God to guide us so that we are not just taking the initiative and following our own agenda as we do these things.
  2. Like Jesus, we are to be in close relationship with God – We are to be led by the Spirit. And so we can have a sense of what God wants in particular situations.
  3. Like Jesus, we are to do exactly what God wants us to do – Once we hear God giving us very specific instructions – that is exactly what we do. We are to be in complete submission to God. 

What is it that matters, is it heart or skill?

Worship is where heart and skill meet in order to bring the Lord a pleasing offering.  Heart and skill demand one another, constantly pulling us back toward Excellence, so long as we do not ignore them. It’s important to note that excellence is not perfection but bringing our best. It is an attitude or mindset that drives us to do the best we can with what God has put in our hands.

By Jenry Pawhay

References:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxji8jkZ2CQ – In Tune with God by Liliane Doukhan

Brad Kohring – https://hillsong.com/collected/blog/2016/09/heart-vs-skill-what-actually-matters-in-worship/#.WXWzoNOGOV5

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5 Tips to Learn and Teach New Songs to Your Congregation

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5 Tips to Learn and Teach New Songs to Your Congregation

As soon as the line-up is given by the worship director, ideally no later than a week before the service, you need to get yourself familiar with the song. Here are some things you can do to help with mastering a new song you are preparing to lead at your next service:

Read lyrics out loud:

Audibly read through the lyrics of the song from beginning to end. If you don’t have it already, you can download the lyrics of the song from the internet (make sure the website you are getting it from is a reliable source so words will be accurate). You can choose to print the copy or keep it in your computer or smartphone. Read aloud the words of the song from start to finish. Check for correct and comfortable pronunciation.

Understand the song:

Learn the Scriptural background of the song. Find out what the story is behind how the song was written. This will help you understand it better, and will allow you to instantly connect with the song. By connecting with the song in this way, you will often find it easier to memorize.

Know the melody and form:

Master the melody of the song. It is possible there are different versions of the song with melodic variations, and a completely different song form (verse, chorus, verse 2, chorus etc.). Make sure that you are learning the version your music director is intending for the group to learn. If you are not sure, do not be afraid to ask. A simple question to clarify concerns can save you having to relearn parts or struggling to unlearn an incorrect song form.

Memorize:

Memorize the lyrics of the song. Once you’ve done the steps above, I guarantee memorizing the words of the new song will be that much easier to do. Effort should be taken to commit the song to memory. It is hard to lead a song that you as a singer are struggling to sing. You can pay more attention to leading and less attention to trying not to sing the wrong words. If you rely on a screen prompter and it goes out, you will stumble, and if you have to constantly glance at a music stand with lyrics in front of you, it can be distracting for your congregation. More than likely you will sing the song for many months so take the time to learn the lyrics.

Teaching the song:

Now you are ready to introduce and teach the song to the congregation. Relax and smile. At this point, you know and have mastered the song by heart. It is always good to talk about the Biblical background of the song as you introduce it. You can play the song before the service formally starts so people are already hearing it and becoming familiar with it. Additionally, you can begin to use the new song as a special number a couple weeks in advance of formally introducing it. If the song is a cover, you can play it before and after services over the PA system as people arrive for and leave the service. Sing the melody confidently and enunciate the words clearly. It is also important that our emotions reflect the message of the song accurately.

It may be an intimidating experience to teach a new song, but as you do your best in the process and trust in God to guide you through the whole experience, watch how well the congregation will receive this great new addition to your worship service.

Psalm 96:1, “Sing to the LORD a new song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth.”

Blog by: Cylynn Huyssen

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Musicians On A Budget: Make the most of your gear as a church keyboardist

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Musicians On A Budget: Make the most of your gear as a church keyboardist

What is your Rig like? This is usually asked within the 1st minute of a conversation between keyboardists, or musicians in general.

And we get a lot of responses that range from keyboard sizes, 88 keys, 77, 61, 49, even 25. We also get a myriad of brands like the Yamaha, Roland, Korg – the triumvirate of household keyboards. And also the lesser-known brands like Casio, Davis and other brands you can buy from the usual mall or our friendly store at Raon.

Of course the other common response is  – “I actually don’t have one.”

Some churches have a donated keyboard that’s so run down, you either have keys that don’t work anymore or keys that get annoyingly stuck and you get this weird note prolonged as if it were on sustain. And then you day dream about that keyboard you saw in the music store and wonder how on earth will you come up with 240K to buy that Kronos, or 140K for the latest version of the RD series from Roland. You may settle with trying to figure out how to raise 25k for a 61 key Roland from the xps series.

What really matters?

So what now? Pray hard, if you’ve been praying, pray harder! Sometimes, the Good Lord will provide the resources needed… sometimes, He gives us something better: a heart of Worship and Wisdom! Believe it or not, a worshipping heart goes a very long way. If your focus is in giving God the worship He deserves, then you make do with whatever equipment you have. Your mind shifts from making sure you press the right keys to making sure God is pleased with your Heart – assuming you practiced and rehearsed properly.

But wait, what about the wisdom part, how does that come into play? You will then realize that the expensive gear you have been longing for is not the be-all and end-all of your worship/music leading prerequisites. There is another way!!!

Introducing you to the world of soft-synths.

A software synthesizer, also known as a softsynth, is a computer program, or plug-in that generates digital audio, usually for music.

They usually don’t cost that much for up to intermediate players. All that’s needed is a working laptop (I think everybody has one nowadays – even a desktop will work), an Internet connection so you can download stuff that’s required to make the software run. Talking about software (or the softsynth itself) there’s an abundance on the internet, the more famous ones include Mainstage, Omnisphere, MK Sensation, and those that are free like: Komplete Kustom, IK Sample Tank and a multitude of others (you just need the time to browse or look for it, because there’s a lot – Article on 50 of the best Softsynths).

Another thing that’s required is a keyboard controller. It’s a device that looks like your usual piano keyboard but does not produce any sound from within the device, unlike your PSR, RD, or X5, the keyboards we grew up with. How it works is pretty much like an analogy of a typewriter and computer keyboard. On a typewriter, what ever letter you press is instantly embedded on the paper. While on the computer, the letter you press on the keyboard gets translated into bytes and bits understood by the cpu and on the screen you see the word you typed in a font or letter style you set it to look like. Then you print it. This is pretty much how soft-synths work too. Pressing a key sends signals to the computer, which in turn sends out the correct note on the instrument you specified. Neat huh? A good controller will cost you not more than 15k (Here are some great options).

On a tight budget

There’s pre-loved stuff at OLX and Ebay that’s cheaper and they actually work well. A MIDI Controller (that’s the proper name for it) has few electronic parts than the usual hardware keyboard (because most of the electronics are on the laptop as software) so buy with confidence.

I’ve seen pre-loved controllers going out for 6k, and if you can you can still haggle or bargain with the seller for a more favorable cost – maybe he’ll throw in a USB cable, or a keyboard stand.

Let’s do the math now. Controller – 6K, computer – 0 cost (or if you want to upgrade the RAM, 3K), software – free (unless you want to do some heavy stuff). So that’s less than 10K, right?!

And there you have it, God working His mysterious ways through technology! No more reason to not serve God with all our heart, mind, strength and music!

And did I not mention, there are soft-synths you can use on tablets and smart phones – who doesn’t have a smart phone at this age in time? (Here is a video of Jordan Rudess using a tablet and controller)

No more excuses guys, start Worshipping!

(Article written by Noel Gumapac)

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Everyone Should Be A Worship Leader

 

 

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Everyone Should Be A Worship Leader

The common idea that comes to mind whenever we hear the term ‘worship leader’ is the person who stands on stage and leads the church congregation in a time of worship through singing.  The person who leads worship during a church service has the position that we call worship leader.  The point I hope to make is that we all should have the function of worship leader even if we do not hold the position.

The function of the worship leader is to encourage, inspire, or lead someone closer to Jesus.  In doing so, people will have the opportunity to respond to Jesus.  This somewhat vague definition allows for broad application.  In this case, the application is the most important thing.  This could apply to evangelism, encouraging the people around you in what you say, in what you do, in how you live your life, could be something that leads them to Jesus therefore could fit within the function of worship leading.  Within any definition of the term ‘worship leading’ the most important thing is the authenticity of our testimony, the way we live our life.   That is the key to becoming a worship leader in function and it certainly is a necessity for someone who holds the position.

Going a little further, here are 3 tips that will help you along in your worship leading journey.

Let someone else lead you. – Many people have said you can’t truly lead until you have learned how to follow.  It’s so important to have a heart that can be led, and to have a humility that will enable you to follow.  Ephesians 5:21 says “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” One of the top struggles of most worship leaders is rebellion.  The desires of the flesh can easily entangle us to be caught up in an attitude of “I should be the one leading.”  This pride quickly leads to a rebellious attitude which will soon be displayed through words and actions.  We have to learn to submit and follow.  Hebrews 13:17 says, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”

Learn to lead without the title. –  Some people want to be the boss not a leader.  They would believe that having a title or position will give them position over others to tell them what to do.  We’re supposed to be worship leaders not worship bosses.  Philippians 2 talks about having the attitude of Christ.  In humility, He set the example of how to live and how to lead.  The best way to lead without a title is to be an example.  1 Timothy 4:12 says “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

Every day let God speak to you, lead you, and change you. – There is no one as effective as someone who is truly led by the Holy Spirit.  The person with a heart open to God, longing for God to mold them into the person He wants them to be.  In my life, whenever I have been around such a person, I was impacted to do the same, to open my heart and allow God to change me.  Psalms 86:11 says “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

Whether you want to be a worship leader in function or by holding the position.  This is a great way to get started.  Start with a solid foundation on Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Worship band gloryfall holding a worship and music camp in Romblon Province

February 6, 2017 10:36 AM

 
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gloryfall will be at Lamp Christian Fellowship in Calatrava, Romblon, April 12-14, 2017. This will be the first time the band is visiting Romblon to conduct a worship music camp. They have done workshops in provinces like Bicol, General Santos, and Benguet. “We are really excited to be able to share with musicians and worship team members from Romblon,” says their drummer, Harald Huyssen.   Brother Hugh Kaiser will join gloryfall as a resource speaker for the event.
 
The band considers the goals they want the participants to walk away with when designing and finalizing the program for camps. gloryfall’s lead vocalist Toby Huyssen says, “We don’t just want them to be better musicians, we want them to be better worship team members.” Each worship and music camp the band does can have the content tailored to the needs of the group. This allows them to share content that is immediately applicable.
 
To keep things exciting for the participants, the camp has a balance of Biblical worship training and music. Some of the topics the Biblical training focuses on are the heart of worship, creating an atmosphere of worship, the role of the worship team, and challenges that worship teams face. There is an emphasis on times of worship as well. Often, worship teams do not get to participate in corporate worship since they are on stage playing their instruments. Sometimes they are preoccupied with the ministry, and sometimes they are hiding behind their instruments. As gloryfall puts it, “you cannot lead someone where you haven’t gone.” We place priority on corporate worship time during the camps. Bringing true God centered and God focused worship back to the body of Christ is a central goal of everything the band does.
 
The second aspect of the camp is the music training. The band focuses not only on individual instruments (electric guitar, bass, keyboard & drums) and voice, but also on working as a band, effective rehearsal techniques, and playing tastefully within a band. Recently the group has also been teaching song writing and arranging. The goal is to enable the local church to lift up their voice and flavor of worship, not just copy what popular foreign groups are doing.
 
gloryfall was started in 2008 and has released 9 albums. The group maintains an active touring schedule with around 70 events per year. gloryfall is a ministry under World Missions for Jesus based in Louisiana, USA with a ministry base in Antipolo City, Philippines.
Website: gloryfall.net
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6 Practical Tips To Be A Better Worship Team Drummer

worship leading gloryfall

6 Practical Tips To Be A Better Worship Team Drummer
by Harald Huyssen

Professionalism

This one goes for everyone, not just drummers. Arriving on time and prepared will go a long way to making it a pleasure to work with anyone. An easy way to realize the importance (if you are someone with problems in these areas) is imagining the situation reversed. You have to deal with that ‘guy/girl’ who comes 1-2 hours late all the time. Each time it’s the same excuse, “traffic”. Being prepared means you know the song form and are ready to practice as a band. Band rehearsal time isn’t the time to listen to and learn the songs. If we are on time and prepared for work, then we should do the same as we serve our church. Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.”

Volume

The number one complaint I hear from worship teams about their drummer is, “Our drummer plays too loud!” If your church has a seating capacity of 70-100, you can’t get on the drums and hit them like you are in an arena. Controlling volume is a challenge for many drummers, but is something that you can work on and learn to do. One easy way to start improving is, practice the way you want to (or have to) play. If you need to play quieter, start practicing quieter. The next is, always be aware of your tendency to play loud until you learn to adjust your style of playing. In the end, you want to play at an appropriate volume for the room you are in.

Vocabulary

Like a language, building vocabulary takes time. Consistent effort will simplify the process and you will see clear results in just months. Each week, take a song and learn a fill-in, note for note from one or two of the songs in the line up. It doesn’t have to be new songs. You will be surprised by what you can learn from going back and studying songs you have been playing for years. Once you learn the fill-in, try to keep the fill-in rhythm, but change where you play it on the drums. By doing this, you can get many ideas from one idea. In a year, you would have 52-104 fill-ins, and with your variations it may be anywhere from 200-500 or more ideas. By adding simple accents like this video, demonstrates that number could easily exceed 1000 ideas a year.

Simplify

Always remember, your role as a drummer is the time-keeper. You don’t have to play like the original drummer did. Play a song the best you can while keeping in mind your goal of keeping time. Sometimes this means playing a beat that is less complex so you can play it consistently with the right feel and energy. Removing some of the aspects of the beats that are giving you trouble can do this. Then work on the original version of the groove in your personal practice times. At some point in the future you, will be able to play the original during Sunday services. Here are some other tips for improving your time.

Listen to different artists

Popular jazz drummer, Max Roach, was quoted as saying, “Records are the textbook for jazz.” The same can be said for contemporary worship music and drumming. Listening is how you learn. How can you mature and know what fill-ins fit and when to play certain things? Listen to how successful worship bands deal with certain songs or styles and then copy and develop from there. No need to reinvent the wheel. If it works and you like it, learn it and add it to your arsenal of musical options.

Lifestyle of Worship

Save the most important and best point for last. You cannot expect to get on stage and lead worship if you do not have a life of worship Monday through Saturday. Some worship team members feel like they are just a musician, and not a leader. They would argue that the leader is the one in front singing (‘leading’) the songs. I would say anyone on stage or on the worship team is a leader. Realize your role and walk in God’s calling on your life. To successfully lead worship, the team must be sensitive to the leading of the Lord. It’s not a performance, it’s about ushering in the Spirit of God so that God can be glorified, and He can touch and change lives. Don’t just play the drums on Sunday morning. Rather, worship, pray and be sensitive to the Lord as you play the drums.

 

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