Should We Ban The Music Stands?

 

This has become a conversation over the past few years in worship ministry. Possibly, it’s even become a battle in some chruches. Should we allow music stands on the stage?

For some, this will seem like a ridiculous idea; how can we know what songs to play without the music? What’s the big deal? Why is this even a question?

While others might say: “yes, and if you don’t get rid of the stands, you’re doing it wrong!” or some other hyperbolic rhetoric.

For this post, I’d like to address the reasons someone would want to ban Music Stands, the pros and cons of those reasons and some practical considerations for you to take into account. Maybe you’ve been wresting with this idea. Maybe this has been an issue in your ministry. Maybe you’ve never heard of such a thing and you can’t understand why someone would do it; but you are going to keep reading to find out.

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Backing Tracks: What I use and How I Got There

What I use and How I Got There

Multi-tracks, Backing Tracks, and Pads have become more and more mainstream in music in recent years. It’s not just in the church, but its not uncommon to go to shows and concerts and see well known bands with Pads or Backing Tracks going on in the background. I remember 2004 hearing it with Coldplay and over the next few years later I started noticing it with smaller bands in at clubs in the Seattle area.

Programs like Abelton and the easy of Apple’s Garage band have put this technology in the hands of church musicians as well. But it’s not just the mega-churches that are doing this. Walk into churches of ranging in size from 50-150 and you could easily hear some form of backing track going on.

I started using ambient Pads in the background about 6 months ago. I want to walk you through my process, how I got here, and why I use what I use.

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Spring Q&A: What’s the Best Thing and Other Questions

Every so often I look over the search terms from engines like Google and Yahoo that lead people to this blog and turn them into a sort of Q&A. This one is pretty guitar and musical gear heavy but hopefully it’s helpful to someone. (warning, if some of my comments seem like I’m being snarky, it’s because I am 🙂 )

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Should I Use Effects With My Acoustic Guitar

Honestly, I wish this was the question being asked. Should I? But the question is usually phrased more along the lines of “which effects should I use?” This assumes that any should be used at all.

To that end, I want to first ask the question “should I?” and use that to answer the “which ones?” question.

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4 Reasons To Avoid The Imitation Trap

WHAT IS THE IMITATION TRAP?

I noticed the trap in pulpit ministry before I saw it in music ministry. Young preachers imitating older or better known preachers. Cadence, vocal pitch, even attempting to mimic the humor or jokes, and sometimes just outright stealing stories and analogies employed by the preacher they obviously admired.

The same thing is true in music ministries and if you’ve been around long enough you’ve probably seen it yourself. Churches whose bands play note for note everything exactly like it was off the record. The singer who is obviously trying to be Kim Walker-Smith or the worship leader who is shouting things because he heard Matt Redman do it.

The Imitation Trap is seeing the success of someone else, and assuming that this is the way that you have to do it. To judge your success not on what God has called you to do, but on how others live out their callings. I want to present four reasons that we as worship leaders should avoid this trap at all costs, and a positive alternative to imitation that might just be a way forward for you, and your ministry.

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Gear Review: JHS Twin Twelve

BRAND: JHS

MODEL: Twin Twelve Overdrive

COST: $199

WHAT IT IS: The JHS Twin Twelve is an “amp-in-a-box” style overdrive that emulated the sounds of the vintage Silvertone Twin Twelve 1484 tube amp produced for a few years in the 1960’s by Danelectro for the Sears catalog. It was a low-end budget amp that was over looked in favor of amps by Fender, Vox, and Marshall. Up until a few years ago, you could find them for dirt cheap on eBay. Then artists like Beck, Jack White, Death Cab for Cutie, and even Coldplay started recording with them. The lead riffs on Death Cab’s “Your a Tourist” and Coldplay’s “Always In My Head” are both from a 1484 amp. In part because of this, a Twin Twelve amp now goes for 4 to 5 times what you would have paid a few years back.

I tried the JHS Twin Twelve with just about every pedal I own, as well as straight in to my Fender Princeton Reverb from my Danocaster Jazzmaster and my Fender Telecaster.

The Twin Twelve includes an active EQ for treble and bass like you’d find on a real amp, and a drive knob that controls the amount of gain. While the original 1484 amp didn’t have a master volume, Josh and his crew have added a Volume knob that accomplishes that feature, which is where all the pedals flexibility comes in.

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A Kinda Sorta Review of the New U2 Record

THE RECORD

Almost every review of the newest U2 record Songs of Innocence has told me more about the the reviewer and their issues than the record itself. When a reviewer starts admitting that they “don’t really like U2 that much” or by saying that they haven’t liked a U2 record since Actung Baby, why should we care what they say? When a reviewer spends (as many of them did) the opening half of the review critiquing and complaining about the way or method the band released the record, what does that actually tell us about the music itself? The answer is of course: nothing.

I actually like the new U2 record. It’s not their best record, but it’s certainly not their worst. The songs themselves are far better than most of the critics have given credit for. The final result of Dangermouse’s production work is a debatable point but again, it’s an interesting take on the music of the most iconic band since the Beatles. So now that we’ve had a few weeks to come to terms with the music and implication of the records surprise marketing/distribution method maybe we can look for some takeaways?

Instead of debating the finer points of U2’s latest offering, I would like to look at the response it has drawn. I feel like looking at Songs Of Innocence’s reception will shed light on issues that affect us as worship leaders and church musicians.

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