This is a worship leader training special which goes beyond just how you present your worship onstage.  To be good at what you do, you need to practice, and often these practices become boring or even worse, tense for both you and your team.  So how can you make practices a highlight not a pain?  Here’s stuff they just don’t teach you in worship leader training conferences, but which might make and incredible difference in your ministry…

worship leader training practicesHow to Have Great (& Fun) Practices

They say that practice makes perfect, but sometimes it just makes misery. I have seen practices where everyone is lethargic, bored, disobedient and uninspired, and I have seen practices which were so great, so interesting and so worthwhile that even those not scheduled to be singing or playing that week turn up because they love it so much. You can have either, and as worship leader, it’s your choice! I prefer the latter.

Practice is a part of worship team life. We all hate it, because we’d rather be at home with family or friends, but it has to happen, so I reckon anything you can do to make it worthwhile and enjoyable is great.

Now in fairness, the way you promote your practice sessions does depend on your personality. Being an Aussie, and a quite jovial one at that, I usually spend most of my practices laughing, joking and making people smile (but then that just about sums up the rest of my life too). Some of you are just more serious and intense than me, and that is OK, but somehow you will have to make your practices fun if you want people to really enjoy and gain a lot out of them.

Remember the aim of the music ministry is to lead others into worship, and this applies equally to the band and singers. You need to encourage them in their craft, improve their playing and singing abilities, learn new songs, explore new feels for current songs, and peak their enthusiasm to obtain the best results.

Is This Essential Worship Leader Training?

You bet it is, even though most people don’t teach this as clearly as we do.  The fact is, worship leaders have to lead, and they need to do it in a way that is inspiring their troops, not discouraging them, putting them to sleep or making them feel persecuted!  So let’s start with the bad stuff, the one thing need to NOT DO and then build from there.

Here’s what you should NEVER, NEVER do…

Practices for worship leadersYou cannot, must not and should not ever lose your temper. I mean, never ever, no matter how bad they are, or what they have done. I look at it this way; lose your temper, and you just lose!

I really mean this, you must never lose your temper.  You mustn’t even allow yourself to get tense, irritated or aggressive with your team, and never publicly single out someone for criticism.  You will lose credibility and  respect if you lose your temper, so just don’t do it!

For best results in your band and singers, relax, enjoy and have fun.   I know you worship leaders are definitely up for finding things to make practice enjoyable, so here’s a few ideas that I employ.

1. Always start with a prayer:

Before we go through these, I should mention that every practice should start with prayer. I don’t labour the prayer time, because we are there to practice, not to have lengthy prayers, but I really believe you will achieve more for the Lord if you take the time to honour Him and hand the session over to Him.

So, this is not the cursory, “Dear Lord, bless our trip” type of prayer, and neither is it the half hour marathon prayer. I simply pray something like the following…

Lord, thank you so much for the awesome privilege of being able to serve You, and lead others into deeper worship of You. As a band and singers now we ask Your forgiveness for our sins, and ask that You fill us afresh with Your Spirit.   We offer You our hands, our feet, our voices, but most of all, our hearts, and ask that You use us to bless our people here. The cry of our hearts is “here we are, Lord, use us,” and to this end we ask that You guide us as we practice so that we may be the very best we can be when we walk up before the congregation on Sunday morning. Bind us together as co-labourers for You we ask in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

  1. Keep the time tight:

Practices that last for 3 or 4 hours are pretty frustrating for everyone. You should not be practicing any longer than 2 hours for a Sunday service, and you should not be entering into big training sessions as part of a general practice. If you do not want to build resentment, you have to make practices concise, relevant and relatively quick. As Bill Newman says, short, sharp and shiny!

  1. Try and try again:

Anything you are adding into a song needs to be rehearsed again and again until it is perfect. You can either make this laborious or joke a little, see people smile and have another go. When they get it, keep doing it until it becomes 2nd nature, and always encourage them when they get it right. Never, never, never belittle anyone for getting something wrong, and if they cannot do it right after repeated attempts, why not see if there is a slightly easier alternative?

  1. Separate musicians and singers:

Sometimes you have to go over music again and again, or go over singing again and again (especially doing harmonies), while the rest wait bored out of their collective heads! Why not separate them for a time, have the best musician and the best singer work with their respective groups. Saves time, no one feels bored or left out, everybody has fun and, hopefully, it will sound brilliant when you put it all together. Plus, you will be encouraging leadership gifts in others as they attempt to lead their small group.

  1. Training verses Practice:

This is a key area, which should NOT be tackled during a scheduled practice of songs for Sunday services. It will take far too long to do the lot, so once a month why not have a special training night, where musicians and singers who want to get better at their chosen field can learn new and exciting techniques. We do this around once a month, and sometimes get “experts” in harmonies, guitar, drums, etc. to come and teach our people to be better. The band and singers will love it, and the creativity spurt will surprise everyone. I recently had a guitar teaching night and taught a few techniques to our guitarists. Some promptly forgot them, but one guy in particular got inspired. He went from being a good, solid rhythm guy right into lead guitar, and has never looked back! Remember, worship leaders, part of you mandate is to encourage the best in your band and singers.

  1. Allow coffee and tea:

True confessions; I love my coffee! Allowing coffee or tea promotes a relaxed, friendly atmosphere within which to practice. If you are not allowed coffee in the auditorium, then you need to respect the church’s wishes, so maybe you can finish early then head out for a coffee afterwards. This is great for developing fellowship.

  1. Allow people to step forward and take the lead:

worship leader training during practicesWho says that, as worship leader, I have to sing every song in the morning? Generally I will have at least 3-4 songs out of 7 that OTHER PEOPLE IN THE BAND lead in. I get them to start off and then I might come in over them with a harmony. This keeps my harmony ability sharp and makes them feel that they are special. And it blesses the audience to listen to more than one voice. Remember, part of your role is to bring the best out in people, so try handing some of the leadership of songs to others.

  1. Give them time or set homework?

I am always trying new things in practice. That’s what practice is for, and I love being creative. However, very often a band member will not be able to do what I have requested on the spot. At this point a judgment needs to be made as to whether it is way beyond them, in which case I will “change my mind” so as not to embarrass them, or if it is just slightly beyond them. When I realize that going over and over it then and there will bore the rest of the band to tears, if they are nearly there I will set them a little homework, and they will come back to me beaming when they have practiced enough to nail it properly. With all of your people keep stretching them, but do not discourage them. It’s a fine line, but a good leader does this well.

  1. Set a game plan:

If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it, every time. So, set a game plan for the practice, the songs you want to hit and the way you want to do them. Try not to get bogged down on a song. If it is continually messed up, then you may decide to drop the song, or make it simpler allowing the guys to sing and play it with ease. At the same time, don’t programme your whole practice out. Allow time for laughter and fun, and a relaxed atmosphere. Just the right amount of structure and flexibility makes for a great learning and practice environment.

  1. Jokes are OK!

Now, I know that not every person is a comedian, while some are too over the top and never serious, but the right amount of humour and fun can really make a difference.

Jokes are definitely IN when I am leading. In practices they flow thick and fast, and even on stage just before we start I will come up with a few gags just to settle people before we minister. God is fun, and He loves to laugh, so I think we should have fun doing what He has called us to do. The worst music teams are the really serious ones!

If you are a really serious and intense worship leader, and I understand that you are serious about being excellent, and I applaud that, but I have to say, from one worship leader to another, just get over it! God does not fall from His throne if we smile and enjoy worship, so lighten up and give your team a little slack. ENJOY your band and you will find they are right with you all the way.

This is not to say that the whole practice becomes one, huge joke. I am super serious about producing quality music and singing, and super serious about creating the right atmosphere of worship. I just like to share a joke or two along the way.

Even simple, and fairly silly jokes can help people to relax. Things like:

What’s the difference between a musician and a mutual fund? The mutual fund will eventually mature and make money!

How do you tell if the stage is level? The drummer drools equally from both sides of his mouth.

How many lead guitarists does it take to screw in a light bulb? One… he holds the bulb up, and the whole world revolves around him!

How do you know there is a backing singer at your door? Because even if you give her the right key, she still cannot figure out when to come in!

What do you get when you drop a piano down a mineshaft? A flat minor.

So, worship leaders, hit the internet and find a few good, clean musician jokes. They do exist (you may have to dig for them), but they can make practice fun.

  1. Break into familiar songs:

Now, this is vintage Darin Browne, and something I LOVE doing. Someone will play or sing something, even just a few bars, and I will break into a completely different song, then the rest of the band joins in. It is pretty crazy, and most of the songs are old 60-70s rock and roll songs. Now, you don’t want to waste everyone’s time doing this the whole night, but once or twice can really be fun.

Then we often take some of the feels we played and apply them to a praise of worship songs. For musicians it makes the whole thing heaps of fun, and it is kind of a cross between a trip down memory lane and a jam session. Be careful, though, because some may feel left out (often the singers). I only break into a couple of lines of the “other” song, because more than this means everyone stands around and waits for me, usually with hands on hips. Yes, it’s a fine line, but hey, practice ought to be fun!

Another fun thing to do is apply different styles of music to songs as you rehearse. Slow them down, speed them up, go reggae, country, heavy or whatever you fancy. I have had some fun taking fast, rock songs and starting them slow and ballad like. You have to let your imagination, and that of your people, go!!!!!

Some of these you may no be comfortable with, but most of what I have written should be within your grasp. Worship leader training is about learning and stretching yourself, so take the time o try and introduce many of the above points one at a time, and remember, while you are training and rehearsing your team, the Lord is putting you through the best worship leader training available!

I Love HymnsRemember that TV show The Bold and the Beautiful?  I never actually watched it, finding neither bold nor beautiful, but the phrase stuck in my mind, and gives rise to today’s post.  I Love Hymns, but they can be both old and beautiful, or they can be old and stuffy, boring and put everyone to sleep!

I have recently produced an album of hymns, and they are going CRAZY out there.  I have prepared a special presentation, that Erick and I will be sharing in various churches around our area, but I have done this presentation 3 times already in 2 countries, and have been amazed by the response.  Without even preaching I have seen people crying, worshiping, on their knees and blown away by songs which are hundreds of years old!!!

Why I LOVE Hymns!

OK, true confessions… I LOVE Hymns! Hymns are great. They are majestic, and many contain more theology than the average sermon these days. Old folk love them, conservative folk love them, but many younger ones have thrown them out along with everything before 2000. Gee, they even think the Beatles are uncool (such ignorance!).

Somewhere in the middle cries the voice of reason. Now granted, some hymns are funeral marches, long, slow, boring and brain-numbing. Some contain rubbish theology and some are just plain irrelevant in both use of language and subject matter. Some are practically unsingable, except to 13th century monks! However, in amongst these types of hymns are some of the greatest ever songs!

Now, if you are young, and don’t believe me, check a few of them out. Hymns like, “And Can It Be,” “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and “How Great Thou Art” are awesome.

My preference, both personal and of my church, is that we sing at least one hymn every Sunday service. If you are creative and musical you can play it in such a way that it is exciting and awesome, and you can venture into the very presence of God using these old songs. On top of that, the old folk in the church will be thrilled. So you win either way. Trust me, guys; there are some great songs you cannot live without in the hymns section!

But if you are going to do a hymn, don’t make it into a funeral march! The older folks will love hymns done in a new and a fresh way, so pray and ask God for some innovative ideas to make the hymn into a modern masterpiece. Then watch God unite all ages as they worship Him using this old but new song!

Some hymns hat I loveI Love Hymns Because…

I love hymns because they are the best of the best. Now loving hymns doesn’t mean you hate modern songs (which is what many younger, modern worship leaders think), it means that you are open to both.  Accept modern stuff, sure, but don’t turn your back as many people do on the centuries of tradition and heritage that hymns represent!

They are, after all this time, the best of the best.  When a modern song is brought out, how do you know it is going to become a classic?  The answer is you don’t, and most modern songs are not even played after a few months or a year at most.  The only true way to discover if a song is going to become a classic is to wait ten years.  If it is still popular then, you have a classic on your hands.

But hymns have proven their popularity and stood the test of time.  Charles Wesley wrote 7,000 hymns, and Fanny Crosby write 9,000, but we only sing a few of them.  That’s because they are the best of the best, and that’s what you get with hymns… you know which ones are the classics because time is the great revealer.

I Love Hymns, But…

One word of caution, especially to the conservative evangelical denominations. There is a huge tendency to have the worship songs, with the modern beat and instruments, and then insert the token hymn for the oldies, doing this with only an organ or a piano, played in a traditional yet boring style. I strongly caution you against this, because this only promotes the “us verses them” scenario, the “your music verses our music” polarizing we see in churches.

The best way is to just roll from the worship into the hymn, seamlessly, and using a similar modern style.   The majority of older folk will appreciate the fact that you are including their song preference, and making it your own, and trying as hard to make it special as if it were your own style of song. Thus, you can use well played hymns to join hearts in worship, rather than having the separate song for the oldies.

So come on guys, don’t overlook the grand old hymns!  They might just be the surprise package of your worship leading, and they may just become the means to using worship music to  join your congregation together rather than music driving them apart.

Hymns are awesome, still relevant, still valid and have incredible, powerful lyrics.  And people LOVE them!  Why wouldn’t you use them to worship together?

I LOVE HYMNS!!!

Excellence vs ProfessionalismIn all aspects of the ministry of leading worship God wants us to give our best. But what exactly does that mean?  Is giving our best about being the perfectly polished professional who never makes a mistake, who knows all the songs off by heart and can do any tune in any key? Or is it about having a perfected heart? Perfected by love, forgiveness, and God’s amazing grace? It’s about Excellence vs Professionalism and Perfection!

Over the years I have been to many churches in many countries. I have visited numerous denominations and experienced worship in all kinds of circumstances. From small home cells to large congregations of tens of thousands. And the one thing that stands out in great worship is excellence of spirit and humbleness of attitude.  Personally, I am not about show. Not when it comes to worship. Concerts have an audience, worship is corporate (all together) with a congregation.
Worship is where we reach the intimate place of God’s heart, and it’s difficult (though not impossible) to reach that place when it’s surrounded by flashing lights and smoke machines. (Ok, so I exaggerate a little).

When it comes to great worship in a church, I think we need to be careful to differentiate between WHAT we do and HOW we do it. Churches too often get caught up in trying to create a “well polished presentation” at the expense of reaching the heart of worship.
Now before you shout me down, I want to be absolutely clear on one thing: The bible teaches that in the ministry of music; in the church and unto the Lord, we should be skilled in our craft and well practised. There is plenty of room to improve our abilities and stretch our capabilities.

I believe that worship leaders and music directors everywhere are guilty of trying to create “better worship” by focusing on certain ‘things’ or formula that may lead to a better stage presentation but not necessarily excellent worship.

So What Do We Want?  Excellence vs Professionalism and Perfection

Here are a few:

Music stands vs no music stands.

I have come across music directors who think it is “unprofessional” to have music stands and sheet music on the stage. Personally I would rather a musician have music to refer back to so as not to make a mistake, than trying to remember a piece of music, especially if it is a recent addition. I was in a church recently where a new song was introduced, and because this church had a “No Music stand” policy, people had the sheet music on the floor and some were desperately peering down trying to focus on the music. So much so it was obvious and they were not aware of the congregation or the leading of the worshipleader.  When I see the symphony orchestra perform I am looking at full time professional paid musicians with music sheets on music stands.  Listen, it is NOT unprofessional to have music in the stage. Professionals do it all the time. I would rather get it right than fumble my way through a song. Remember, most of your musicians are part time volunteers who have a life and a job and are passionate about giving God their best. Let them have their music!

Dress standards. Colour vs plain
A lot has been made over the years about dress standard and dress code on stage for the worship team. Let me again point to the purpose for us being on the stage in the first place. It is to bring God’s people on a journey to the heart of worship. Provided we are dressed modestly, I don’t think there needs to be any hard and fast rules about what you should and shouldn’t wear. I heard once of a beautiful young lady who, when told she had pretty shoes, refused to wear them on stage any longer because she worried that they were causing a distraction. The last time I saw her on stage, she wore all black, hair up and no makeup…
Praise is a joyful thing. To me it is full of colour. Colour in music, colour in exaltation, colour in outward expression, including in what we wear. In our uniqueness we can praise and worship a mighty God in all of His Glory and in the colour He deserves.
Remember, I said dress modestly, but don’t feel you need to regulate the dress code to a uniform unless its for a special occasion or if the culture demands it. There are magnificent church choirs around where all the singers wear amazingly coloured robes. They bring quite a presence on the stage, and I love it!

Fold Back: speakers vs in-ear
On- stage fold back, if you are in a band situation is absolutely vital. However it can be so badly done and mixed that sometimes it creates more problems than benefits. In an ideal situation it’s great to have a multi-channel fold back mixer, where you can filter out some of the less required instruments /voices for certain instruments or vocal groups. If you only have a two-channel fold back, you still have the ability to filter out fold back specific for say the bass and drums in one channel and guitars, keys and vocals in the other. If all you have in your PA is a stereo mixer with a left and right side split to front of house, I suggest that you assign one channel to the front of house run the speakers in series and the other channel to the foldback.  All on stage should be able to hear the lead vocalist and the lead instrument (be it guitar or keys). All vocalists should be able to hear themselves in context with all other vocals.
As far as in-ear fold back goes, it’s really important to remember that in corporate worship we are about the congregation. If you have 2 ear plugs it may be useful to leave one out so you can gauge the congregation or you could run the risk of leaving them behind. If you are running with fold back speakers, remember that they are there only for the benefit of those on stage, and the people sitting in the front row should not be able to hear them. Keep the volume down so that the sound-man can regulate the front of house levels.

Religion vs reality- Excellence vs Professionalism and Perfection
I want people to experience real worship, not something whipped up, and definitely not a show. I really believe there are many people in our churches who have not yet or not often experienced true intimacy in worship through the song service. It’s easy to select some songs from a book or list and present some nice songs. It’s a little more challenging to spend time seeking out the heart of God and getting the “right songs for that congregation for that day”. We look to change people’s lives and impact their worship experience. Remember we are in a priestly role and ushering the people into the presence of God. I don’t look for a religious experience, I want people to experience the reality of the presence of God through the songs I bring. And all members of the worship team have an important role to play in this.

So aspire to Excellence in your worship, no matter what member of the team you are, and see the Holy Spirit move in your service.

If you are looking for more tools and resources to improve and hone your worship leading skills, check out our websites and podcasts available from www.bestworshipleader.com and www.aussieworshipleader.com and available free via download from iTunes.

Have a great week.
Erick.

Praise And Worship Leader Training

Finding praise and worship leader training is the fast track towards becoming successful in your worship leading ministry.  It saves you making the same mistakes others have made, and can give you a real edge by teaching you something in a few minutes which may takes years to figure out by yourself!

Types of Praise and Worship Leader Training

Praise and Worship Leader TrainingYou can find various types of Praise and Worship Leader Training from a variety of sources, but not all of them are going to be effective for every situation.  Conferences, for example, can inspire and thrill worshippers, but attendees tend to not retain the information for very long after the event.  Books, on the other hand, can be referred to again and again.  So which Praise and Worship Leader Training is right for you, and which offers the best value for your investment?  In this article I will try and rate the various means you can use in your pursuit of great Praise and Worship Leader Training.

Conferences:

While these are inspiration and fun, they tend to be less effective as a means of Praise and Worship Leader Training.  Even if you take notes (and I hope you do!), referring back to these is not something we tend to do a lot of after the event.  So, for inspiration they rate 10/10, but as an actual Praise and Worship Leader Training tool, their rating is mush less effective.

And you should also be aware that when you factor in the cost of the conference, travel and accommodation, you may be looking at thousands of dollars, making its value for your money very poor!

Inspiration: 10, Value for Money: 2, Praise and Worship Leader Training Value: 4

Videos:

Watching some of the world’s great worshippers doing their thing on DVD or video is also inspirational, and you can pick up some great ideas and techniques as well.  The great thing about these is that you can replay them often, again and again, and try to imitate and learn then techniques they employ, and for $20 or $30 they are pretty good value.  For inspiration it is OK but not brilliant, lacking the atmosphere of a live event, but as a training tool is it great.

Inspiration: 7, Value for Money: 7, Praise and Worship Leader Training Value: 7

Instruction Books:

While lacking the inspiring effect of a live event or video, a book can be referred to easily and you can try and reproduce the material for your team.  The trouble is that there are very few if any such books available, especially those that reveal all of the secrets and techniques you want to learn to help you in your Praise and Worship Leader Training.  At between $20 and $100 these are a viable option for most people, but take days or weeks to be delivered.

Inspiration: 2, Value for Money: 2, Praise and Worship Leader Training Value: 4

Online Training:

While lacking some of the pizzazz of a live event, online Praise and Worship Leader Training is the very best way to learn how to become a great worship leader, and this is the way we deliver our exclusive training package.  The material is downloadable instantly, so there is no wait.  It is concise, like an intensive manual, so you have all the information you need at your fingertips instantly.  It is well organized, and covers almost every aspect of leadership from choosing songs to band relationships.  You can easily run off copies for your team, from the sound people and musicians right through to the prayers!

Best of all it is the most cost effective way of obtaining fantastic Praise and Worship Leader Training, with 13 inspirational and easy to follow books for less than $50.  This material is so effective and loved by our buyers that we have never had to refund a purchase.

Inspiration: 4, Value for Money: 10, Praise and Worship Leader Training Value: 11 (yes, that’s right, 11/10!!!!)

Start Praise and Worship Leader Training Today!

So if you are looking for powerful, effective and above all usable Praise and Worship Leader Training, check out our incredible 13 book package and fast track your learning experience!

Get into Praise And Worship Leader Training Now!

Join the Voices Vs Instruments Debate on This Pod!

 

Voices Vs InstrumentsThis worship leader podcast is about one of the age of questions of music, especially worship music… voices vs intruments: which is more important, the music or the voices?

 

Now singers and musicians will argue back and forth, but the pod asks which one God thinks is more important, and the congregation.  We also discuss how to find a balance between the two.

 

 

Voices vs Instruments– are You Up For a Fight?

Seriously, this debate could go on for ages but we want to actually make some sense in this worship leader podcast, so we will stop arguing and reveal all about how to get the right balance between voices and instruments. So if you have ever struggled with the voices vs instruments debate in your church, this is a super important podcast for you!  Oh, and don’t forget to laugh a little bit too, as we discuss the balance (we all finish up as friends again, so don’t worry).  There’s fun and a serious message in today’s worship leader podcast.   And to hear the latest Worship Leader Podcast, click on on the hyperlink and turn up your computer speakers (preferably really LOUD!). You can also download the worship leader podcastfor free from itunes, or subscribe to it so you don’t miss any episode ever! So driving to work, mowing the lawn or just chilling out (maybe in an old rocking chair!), let the worship leader podcast teach you and maximise the use of the time you have for the Lord!

Click Here to subscribe to the Praise and Worship Leader Podcast…

Or type this into your browser: http://www.buzzsprout.com/3378.rss

Or, if you are really keen to learn more about how to lead worship, check out the total list of  Worship Leader Podcasts, so you can listen to all of them!!!

OK, it will take you a while, but you will definitely get some ideas from our team about the voices vs instruments discussion (and have a few laughs).  Or, save yourself the trouble and buy the Worship in a Nutshell package, so you can get the best information ready to apply right now in your church.  It costs a small amount, but boy it saves you a lot of time learning!!! Click on the player below to listen to the latest Worship Leader Podcast…

Join the voices vs instrument debate in this podcast now!

Voices Vs Instruments

Training A Worship Leader

Someone Else’s Turn: Training a Worship Leader

The other day we were training a worship leader: my daughter led worship, and again she did a great job.

(Some Cool thoughts from the legendary Erick Buma, Esq… thought you might want to know that!)

Her song choice was good; her song order was well set out. However, some of the song arrangements were not the way I would have done them.
This of course was a test, not for my daughter but for me; I already said she did a great job. Everything went really well.  So what was my problem?

Personality reflected

training a worship leaderOne of the special privileges of being a worship leader is God’s ability to use an individual’s personality, taste and flavour in a worship service. This means that every worship leader should be unique in their leading, and when you are training a worship leader you need to allow them to be unique too.  God has given us a unique personality as individual as our fingerprint. He has created us individual to be a unique blessing to this world.
In worship leading this is no different. God is not about cloning the “successful” worship leaders of this world, he never wanted me to be Phil Keaggy. If He did, I would be a really good guitarist. Instead He created me an average guitarist, with an anointing to lead people into His throne room through worship. People respond to the way I lead worship, because of my unique anointing. I can’t expect the up and coming worship leader under my tutelage to imitate me in the way I lead (although imitation may be a compliment to my leading); I need to encourage them to find where the Spirit is leading them in their ministry. My ego would like nothing better than if there were a dozen or so mini Ericks running around leading worship just like I do. However I get the distinct feeling this would not go down terribly well in the heavens.
My challenge then, is as demanding as the young bird who is about to learn how to fly. I need to let my apprentice fly: not so I can watch her fail, I am there still and ever to back her up and take over if the situation demands it. No I need to let her find her wings. I need to enable her to find her unique anointing and empower her to pursue that calling in order to bless God and bless the house. In short, I need to learn to let go.

Worship Leaders with personality or Clones?

I was talking to a friend of mine recently who has been a successful worship leader for some decades. He is anointed in bringing the congregation into the throne room of the Most High. He has a unique style and uses a vast repertoire of songs. He was asked recently to lead worship in the church he has just started to attend. “No problem,” said he and he proceeded to prepare his worship service. The music director then said to him that he could only do the songs which she sanctioned and those songs just happened to be a group of songs from one particular church and brand new, which meant he wasn’t familiar with the songs or their arrangement. And in looking at the songs, he wasn’t so sure that they would fit into his unique style of worship leading anyway. He put his case to his music director and in short she replied that he could only do the songs which she said he could do. Out of exasperation he replied: “You don’t want a worship leader, you want a clone!”  His music director was not prepared to let him go.  There is a difference between training a worship leader and cloning yourself!

How many songs in your database?

Interestingly, another friend of mine is also a music director at a church, and he has no less than 6 worship leaders, each with their own team of musicians and backup singers. When I asked him how many songs he gives his worship leaders access to, he replied that he has about 460 songs in his data base, ranging from hymns to country and Western to modern day worship music. He told me that each of his worship leaders is so different in their approach that it adds a real unique flavour to the  worship each Sunday.
He told me that one of his worship leaders loves hymns so she uses them a lot. One of the worship leaders is quite young, and so there’s a lot of Planet Shakers songs in his leading, and so on: True worship with individual flavour which brings great variety to the worship service.

Training a Worship Leader: How to Let Go!

In letting go, I don’t mean we let the new worship leaders “sink or swim” ; we are still teaching them in the art of leading and pastoral requirements like timing, sensitivity, when not to do a certain type of song; and technical aspects like flow, key change, etc.
There’s a lot still for you to do, but do it sensitively and encourage your new worship leader to exercise their individuality. Most of all, let go the rope when you are training a worship leader!

Training A Worship Leader

Top 5 Worship Leader Resources

Worship leader resources are all across the internet, but are they all equally as helpful to those leading worship in their local church?  If you are starting to lead worship, then you do not need an endless list of new songs, but concise, easy to apply material that you can use starting this Sunday.  That’s what we are all about here at worship Leader Online, so i thought I would pena  few thoughts about what you should be looking for in the way of worship leader resources, many of which are available right here (so you don’t need to look any further, how cool is that!)

worship leader resources

As a worship leader you need to learn a whole bunch of things, not only sing or play, but also how to choose songs and styles and arrangements.  You need to learn how to lead your congregation as well as manage your team (often one of the biggest challenges you will face).  In short, you need tried and true worship leader resources that really work, and work fast!  No fluff, no padding but things that add value right away.

 

With this in mind, here is my Top 5 Worship Leader Resources, ones which have proven to be an asset in my own development as well as the many people we are in touch with around the globe.

5. Instrument Training

While not strictly the leading of worship, this is one of the worship leader resources that is often overlooked, and if you can use worship songs to learn guitar, this is all the better!  Many leaders do not play an instrument, and so they lack understanding of music, how it works and how songs can be arranged and produced.  Yet with some simple and inexpensive training, you could play basic guitar within a week or two, and suddenly you can communicate with your band and direct your worship far more effectively.  Worship Guitar is an excellent site to check out in this regard.

4. Worship Leader Resources Podcasts

Worship leader podcasts are a fantastic way to learn.  Fun, relevant and something you can put on your ipod and listen to as you drive, mow the lawn or anything else.  I encourage all young worship leaders to check out these podcasts and immerse themselves in worship leading as much as they can.  We often learn while we are not even aware of it, and our worship leader podcast is one example of fun and craziness being added to your worship leader resources.

3. Personal Devotions

 

Often overlooked but highly important, keeping your life with Jesus deep and close is absolutely essential if you want to learn how to become a worship leader of power!

2. Worship Leader Resources and Online Training

Our experience is that online training is more effective than attending worship conferences.  You can access the material any time you want, you can read and apply little by little and, most importantly, you can go over the material again and again until you absorb exactly what you need in your situation.  It really is the ultimate in worship leader resources, and it is a lot cheaper than going to a conference!

1.    Join a Worship Leader Resources Community

Perhaps the ultimate in worship leader resources is joining a community or praise and worship leaders.  This way you can access blogs, podcasts, forum and all sorts of things, and communicate with other worship leaders around the world.  You can email, comment and ask questions… all from your own home, and make friends all around the world.  Click on the forum in the menu up top and start joining us!

To become a better worship leader and grow in your chosen craft, you need to harness the power of these inexpensive yet immensely powerful worship leader resources.

Vocal Preparation

The other night I was at a music practice and was reminded about vocal preparation.

 

We were preparing for a Christmas presentation and being a Thursday, everyone was nearing the end of a “full on” week.  We have busy lifestyles and I know that in my business things start to become manic at this time of year. Needless to say, I have had no time to even think about singing or practising outside of the designated commitments.

 

It was interesting to hear our music director giving instructions to singers about voice conservation and vocal preparation.

So I thought I can feel a blogpost coming on…

The Importance of Vocal Preparation and Warming Up

 

vocal preparationI have been a singer ever since I could string a row of words into a sentence. I remember my first big part, I guess I was about 6 or 7 years old and I had to audition for the part. In the end it was between me and this girl, and I got the gig.  The only other thing I remembered about my first brush with fame was that I swallowed in the middle of a line! … nerves…

 

I have sung to congregations as small as a hand full and as large as 10,000. Every time I have done so has been a privilege.

 

Because I was young and I sang constantly, I never saw the need to practise or warm up. The vocal preparation warm ups to me back then seemed a little silly at best and a complete waste of time at worst.

 

Of course, now that I am a little older, I have also become somewhat wiser… Or at least I’d like to think that.

 

So Now Vocal Preparation Seems More Important!

 

When you sing all the time, your vocal chords and throat muscles are constantly being stretched and exercised.  And like any muscle there are keys to keeping your throat and vocal chords in good shape.

I want to share with you what I have learned about vocal preparation over the years.

Ignoring Vocal Preparation- How to Kill your Voice!

 

Some years ago, when my children were still in primary school, our family went to a large Christian convention. There we were among thousands of adoring followers, and pretty soon swept up with the proceedings. Everyone was excited. So was I. So excited in fact that I couldn’t contain myself, and soon I too was screaming at the top of my lungs until something went’ pop. That day I lost the top 1/3 of my vocal range. And it didn’t come back For a long time.

 

How Not to Kill Your Voice

 

This is my number one point; don’t strain your voice. Don’t abuse it by throwing your voice into compromising situations without the correct vocal preparation. Last week I sang Using a mike that was faulty. The result: voice strain. For the past few days I have had a rough throat.

I have been sucking on vitamin C and drinking heaps of water.

Learn how to be loud

 

Don’t scream and shout. If you need to raise your voice, do it with your head voice.

 

If you can yell high pitched ( bit like a siren) this should not affect your  voice. You need to exercise extreme caution at all times when raising your voice. Voice projection is a skill that can be learnt.

Diet

 

What goes past your gums is really important to the quality of your voice.

 

I know that different people respond differently to each other but I have learnt that the majority of people are at least the same.

 

High protein and low dairy are what I eat. Dairy gives me the gurgles. If I have anything like cheese, milk, yoghurt or ice-cream, I end up with that much phlegm I could start a collection service.

 

I also think it’s really important that you watch your food intake prior to singing. Personally I never sing on a full stomach. This means if I am leading worship on a Sunday morning, I fast until after the service.  If I am doing an evening gig, I make sure there is at least 4-6 hours of no food intake before I sing.

 

There are drinks we definitely should be staying away from before and during singing: like coffee, alcohol and milk drinks. I have already explained about dairy. Alcohol is to be avoided not least because of the altered state it can produce but also because it is a diuretic which can de-lubricate your voice. Coffee has the same effect. I love coffee, but can’t drink it before I sing.

 

Lastly it’s really important to lubricate your voice while singing. But here is a big important key: Don’t drink sweet drinks, don’t drink coffee, don’t drink cold. The best thing is water at room temperature or slightly warm.

 

Vocal Preparation Involves Vocal Warm Ups.

 

There are a number of vocal preparation exercises that work really well as warm ups and stretches:

 

I like sirens. This is a technique whereby you start low and wail like a siren, increasing pitch to the most comfortable pitch and then ease back down to the lowest you can go. Repeat this any number of times, gradually pushing your voice both higher and lower. You’ll be amazed at the progress you make.

 

Breathing is another good one. One singing teacher I had years ago would get us to fill our lungs with as much air as possible, and then in a very controlled manner pronouncing each letter accurately,  recite the alphabet as many times as possible. Again the more you do this the better you will become. Give each letter no more or less time than it takes to pronounce it properly.

 

Another good beginning warm up is humming scales.  The good thing with this exercise is that you don’t have to do this at the top of your voice, so you don’t annoy or scare anyone, especially at 6.00am.  The humming exercise involves humming harmonic scales, increasing one semi-tone at a time until you reach your top register.

 

Don’t Sing Tired. 

 

I really want to encourage you to be conscious of your rest patterns. Like most other parts of your body, your voice involves the use of muscles, and these need to be well rested to be at the top of your game, so vocal preparation is more than just right before you sing.

 

If you are a singer, your voice is your instrument. You never heard of a violinist leaving his Stradivarius lying around e exposed to the elements, not being cared for?? Treat your voice like that Stradivarius! A good example is Celine Dion. Check out what she did and does  to preserve and protect her voice.

 

You are blessed to be a blessing, use the God given gift to His Glory and make sure you have adequate vocal preparation!

 

God bless you,

Have a great week!

 

Erick

Vocal preparation

If you are looking for worship leading training then chances are you are already a worship leader yourself.  You may have started leading the congregation having watched others before you, only to find that when you start things are not as easy as you may have thought they would be.

 

When you start out the choice you face is that you can wait and learn ‘on the job’, making your own mistakes and learning from them over a number of years, or you can seek the advice of an experienced leader and gain some valuable worship leading training from them.  This approach shortens the time, lessens the embarrassment and improves your ability beyond anything you can achieve yourself.

Why Is Worship Leading Training Necessary?

 

Finding the right worship leading training is a great way to fast track your ability and talent.  You may have some talent already, but if you do the right kind of worship leading training can make sure that you develop in a way that maximizes God’s ability to use you and your gift.

 

Yet with so many people all claiming that they can help you improve your worship leader abilities, what is the best type of worship leading training you can obtain?  Is it going to a conference, doing a workshop, listening to a worship leader podcast or buying a book?  Sure, you recognize that training can fast track your leading abilities, but which is the best way to go?

 

What is Effective Worship Leading Training?

 

Worship Leading TrainingDifferent people learn in different ways, and this will change your view of the most effective training.  Some like conferences, some like videos and some prefer to read.  However, I believe that the real power of the most effective worship leading training is the ability to learn the concentrated essence of the task.  No fluff, no hype, just a constant and steady stream of easy to apply tips and techniques which can dramatically affect your ability and talent.  The second element is the ability to go back quickly and easily and retrain or relearn points.

 

So, conferences and workshops are fun and you will pick up a few things, but they lack the ability of being able to review the information time and again until it becomes part of who you are.  The most effective worship leading training is material that you can read, reread and apply so that you can constantly improve your abilities.  No one is able to take in everything all of the time, so having this ability to review and selectively apply the information is important.

 

Get Worship Leading Training Fast!

 

If you find the right material that allows you to review and selectively apply the valuable information you learn, then you will find that you can improve your worship leader abilities very, very quickly.  If you are new to the field, don’t be content to make continuous mistakes when you can obtain material which can save you a lot of time, embarrassing moments and frustration!

 

If you want to become a powerful and effective worship leader in double quick time the I would suggest that you don’t simply attend a few workshops or conferences.  Take the plunge, step out by faith and get a hold of the right material, because you can rapidly increase your abilities if you obtain the right worship leading training today!

If you are thinking about worship training then chances are that you are serious about leading praise and worship.  I believe that leading worship is one of the greatest privileges we can have as musicians and singers, and for that reason worship training is essential to make us the very best we can be at our chosen spiritual vocation!

Why Get Worship Training?

This is an obvious question with an equally obvious answer… to become the best we can be!  Some people have told me that they see no need for worship training because the Holy Spirit will lead them into all truth, but I think that this is not only lazy but it is also a slap in the face for the many thousands who have paid good money and set time aside for worship training , to study and improve their worship leading.

Why do Pastors train and why do they go to college?   To hone their skills and become the best they can be!  Why do counselors study?  To improve their skills and abilities.  So why should worship leaders seek and undergo proper worship training?  For exactly the same reason!  Just because you have a natural ability of gift does not mean that you don’t need to strive to improve it!

Worship Training Helps You Train Others

worship trainingIf you set out to obtain worship training, then this is not just for yourself and your church, but it is also for your worship team.  As you learn tips, techniques and new ideas, you have the ability to pass these on to those around you and also improve their abilities.  So once you are trained, you have the opportunity to train others and thereby improve your entire worship team.  This is a great reason to consider worship training even if you are experienced yourself.  Not only can you improve yourself but you can also influence others for good as well.

Find the Right Worship Training For You

The most important thing when considering worship training is finding the right type of training for you and your team, and your specific situation.  It is not enough to just attend a worship conference or two and say, “I’m trained now!”  No, worship training is an ongoing thing which enables you to continue to hone and refine your abilities, no matter what stage you are at!

So if you are considering improving your worship leading abilities, you need to find the best worship training for your situation.  If you are unable to attend a conference or course, then why not check out internet based learning.  This will enable you to use and apply and sift through the information you receive so you can process it and apply in the best way for your situation and church.

For long term results that can be applied immediately yet will last years, internet based courses are probably the most effective worship training you can get!