One POWERFUL Tip For Worship Musicians For Sunday Preparation
When we play as lead worshipers and worship musicians, we play (or should) with skill and heart. While we tend to focus much attention on matters of the heart – skill is crucial to what we do for no better reason than one fact:
We are playing and offering worship for our Creator.
For that reason, we should strive to make that “joyful noise” a little more on the “joyful” side as a pleasant offering to the best of our ability rather than just…well…the “noise.” One way that we, as worship musicians, can do this is by a simple, yet powerful process that we tend to forget:
Once you get music for your next Sunday to play – before you spend any time picking up your instrument (or singing) to “work” on the songs – spend some intentional time free from distractions listening to the music. I use an amazing planning software for worship called Planning Center Online. This software allows me to send mp3’s and YouTube videos with each song that I have selected for our team to play for our musicians to listen to and jam along to. If your team doesn’t pass out music to listen to in some fashion – make sure to ask your worship leader or band director “what style do you want us playing this in? Id like to pull up a YouTube video of the arrangement you want or grab it on iTunes so I can play what you have in mind.”
Once you have listened to the song a couple of times – try these three things:
1. Note the map of the song for your particular instrument
How does this song lay out? Are you out in the first verse and chorus and then come in lightly in the second verse? Where was that full stop at right before the last chorus? Was it on 4 or 1? What sound do I need to emulate so that I can make my keyboard, guitar, etc sound exactly like the instrument I am hearing on the recording? Is that two choruses at the end? What type delay do I need and does my tone change anywhere in the song? Be armed with the answers to these questions as you listen to know and mimic every beat of the song.
2. Chart it out
Yes, your band director or worship leader likely gave you a chart or music to work off of. If he/she has asked for a song to be played just like an arrangement he/she included on an mp3 or video…then you need to chart it yourself. Remember, most charts are specific to ALL instruments and there may be different notations and even chords that you need to emulate your instrument. How many times have you played through a song based on the chart avaialble only to find that the original chart writer included a mystery chord in there…or left one out that needed to be there? Making your own chart ensures that you have the song notated for your instrument. With that in mind – be sure and include relevant info from tip #1 on your chart. (ie: “dont play here….come in here…etc”)
3. Be flexible.
This one is tough. I have been known to make changes at the last minute to a song. Yes, you may chart it for a double chorus at the end – but a worship leader may change it at the last minute to a single chorus with two tags. Be flexible in the chart you make to be able to make needed adjustments.
What tips do you have that make you successful in preparing skillfully to serve a worship ministry? I’d love to hear them and have you share them with our community in the comments area below!