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Worship Musician! Magazine - SeptOct 2011

Worship Musician! Magazine - SeptOct 2011

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Published by CMS Productions
Worship Musician! Magazine
September/October 2011
Volume 9: Issue 5
Practical Help for Worship Teams

Cover: Phil Wickham

Worship Musician! Magazine
September/October 2011
Volume 9: Issue 5
Practical Help for Worship Teams

Cover: Phil Wickham

More info:

Published by: CMS Productions on Sep 30, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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This month I wanted to focus on some
practical stuff intended to make your
time invested at Church move fruitful and
enjoyable. God Bless:)

1. Live with the songs

I was surprised when one of the other
guitarists on our worship team told me
he has a hard time learning new songs.
Although there are lots of approaches to
learning, one of the best ways for anyone to
learn a song is to live with it before trying to
learn it. If you can get in the habit of living
with the songs over the course of a week,
either in your car, at work, or at home. .
.it will do wonders to make them second
nature. When you’re ready to learn them,
whip out the chart and take a listen through
before playing a note, and in this fashion
you’ll be learning the song with the your
ears and not your fngers.

2. Record your service

A buddy of mine’s band has been doing
“virtual soundchecks” for a couple of years
now and it is working wonders for their
sound. They do a multi-track recording of
every show and then play it back the next
night so the band can hear what they
sound like from the audience perspective.
Companies like Zoom offer great, but far
less expensive options that will give you
great feedback about what your guitar really
sounds like front of house. My suggestion
would be to set up your digital recorder by
the sound booth, but use the built in mic and
not the mix coming off the board. This will
allow you to hear what your guitar actually
sounds like in the room.

3. Solo boost

I would be remiss if I didn’t follow up the
previous suggestion with some advice on
how to get your solos to sit at the right place
in the mix. Your soundman is probably more
focused on vocal and drum levels than your
guitar, which is probably a good thing.
Every “Church rig” I’ve used has some sort
of a solo boost, be it a pedal or preset. I
always give the soundman the full range of
tones and volumes so we can work together
to craft a mix that fts the service and the
venue. Boost pedals like an MXR Micro
Amp work well at the end of your signal

Doug Doppler is signed to
Steve Vai’s Favored Nations
label and is currently in
production on the Get Killer
Tone DVD series. He and his
wife Melissa live to serve the Kingdom and
are members of Cornerstone Fellowship in
the San Francisco Bay Area.




DeanMarkley.com e 800 800 1008

© Ramirez & Associates 2011

It’s all just jive until you try ’em.

Nashville, TN is home for
Tom Lane though he is involved
in ministry and music around the
world. As a singer, songwriter
and guitar player, Tom has
been teamed with many worship leaders and
artists. He continues to record his own work,
lead worship, and writes regularly for various
worship publications worldwide.

One thing that has proven true for me is,
I never regret putting time and effort into
being prepared. My bad dreams usually
involve me showing up for a gig and my
amp and guitar are miles away, and I
have to carry them uphill, through the snow
both ways before we count off a tune in
2 minutes. Crazy! But it shows that I hate
being caught unprepared for sure.

It’s hard to be critical of those who
volunteer time every week to be involved in
worship at their churches. Above all else
it’s a sacrifce that God sees, and that’s
what matters. Still there are things we can
do better which help the overall excellence
factor. If we’re doing all we can do already,
then that’s all anyone can ask. Obviously
we have lives to live and greater priorities
than the worship team. But given that we’re
counting the costs, setting good boundaries,
and doing what we commit to do. . .there’s
more we can do! For one thing, we can
prepare our music.

For most teams, the band has rotating
members, making it hard to have
consistency. Charts are normally words
with chords above them that tell you little
about the song unless you already know it
or play through it a few times. Even when
you know a song, playing the same chart
with different leaders will likely produce
a different arrangement of the tune. As a
rule of thumb, I like to know the road map
before driving down the road. I can wing
it no problem, and sometimes you have to,
but it’s better to have a heads-up, especially
if you’re serving different leaders. I prefer
a real chart with bars, repeats, notation,
etc. As a leader, if I want my band to
follow, I should provide them with cues or
charts with notation or specifc marks, or
else give them the freedom to “wing it and
fy by the seat of their pants” without letting
it bug me.

The “All Skate” approach to a song is
not my favorite. It means that a band is
really just getting through the song, playing
without considering what the rest of the
musicians are doing. Very little dynamics or
thought put into specifc parts. Just rhythm,
chords and everyone playing all the time,
all the way through. It’s best to play much
less, at least until you know what’s going
on and can make notes for the sections of
a song. Even if you’re not a note reader
you can make notes. At the very least I do
something like this for each song:

Song Title
Key= E, 4/4
(Intro)- melody line
1v - pad/ethereal
2v - chunk
C - eighth notes, w/delay
3v - driving/bigger
C - power chords/Big!
O - (Outro)- melody line, ends on 4

To not know where you are or what
you’re playing is to be winging it. Again,
that’s fne, but if it affects other players
or hinders the overall picture then just
do some homework! More often than
not I actually chart out a song onto one
page using the Nashville Number system,
which assigns a number for chords and
doesn’t require re-charting to change
keys. Here’s how simple a chart can be.

Mighty To Save
Key= G,

I ||: 4 1 6- 5 :||
1v ||: 4 1 6- 5 :||
4 5 4/6 5/7
C ||: 1 5 4 1 6- 5 :||
2v same
C same / / / / >
B ||: 4 1 5 6- 4 1 5 :|| 5
C same/down
C Big!

*Underlining a bar means it’s a true split
bar unless otherwise notated. Meaning
in 4/4 time each chord gets half of the
count = 2 beats.

Good players can play a chart down
having never heard the song and still
make it sound good. Not every leader
provides good charts and that’s why I’ve
learned to write my own. I’m not the best
reader out there but I compensate for my
limitations by putting forth the needed
effort. It’s not about knowing everything;
it’s about knowing what you need to
know to do your best!

Over time it becomes second nature and
instinctive. In the time it takes to learn to
use your cell phone you can learn the
number system. At a glance here’s how
it works: * For a more comprehensive
look see: Chas Williams, “The Nashville
Number System.”

1 2 3 4 5 6 7


For keys with sharps and fats: Note, we
don’t normally write out sharp chords, we
use the fat of the normal number for each
chord in the scale. eg. in key of D: the
normal 3 chord is F#, if you play an F it is
called the fat 3 (b3) instead of 2#, and
the normal 7 which is C# is called the fat
7 (b7) instead of 6#.

1 b2 2 b3 3 4 b5 5

D D# E F F# G G# A

b6 6 b7 7

A# B C C#

Scores are great but I fnd that most
worship team musicians can’t read them,
or they’re so long you need two stands
on stage to see them. Most worship
songs really can be reduced to a one-
page chart. However for songs with
hits, riffs, and other notation, a score
is likely best. Most Nashville Number
charts I see actually notate the rhythms
and accents above the bar as needed,
and that usually suffces. Find what works
best for the team you’re leading or teach
them how to read!

The way I look at it, even if you’re a band
doing your own thing, the more work you
put into charting out your songs coming
into a rehearsal, the more your own ideas
become solidifed. For leaders, the best
thing you can do for your team is take
time to commit your thoughts and needs
to paper, leaving far less to imagination
and improvisation, unless that’s what you

A great thing about worship is that
it’s about heart more than our skills
or rules. There’s a lot of room to be
creative, expressive, improvisational,
and spontaneous. I fnd that the more
prepared I am, the more I can let go and
be fexible to enjoy the presence of God
and the actual making of the music.

A lot of other people’s time is wasted
simply because someone doesn’t take the
time to prepare. Try to not let it be you!

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