musicians-for the love of goodness…

i’ve gotta get this one off of my chest.  it has been building up for a while.  it may be a bit scattered….

musicians.  at any level.  from church volunteer to professional live players.  please show up to rehearsal prepared.  i mean it.  band practice should not be the first time you hear the songs.

make a playlist of your set in itunes.  let it play all of the time so that it can get in your head even if you can’t spend 10 mins a night on your instrument with it. (you should be able to spend a little time on your instrument with it!  make time.)

CHURCH MUSICIANS- worship songs today are not rocket science.  essentially 1 6 5 4.  if you listen to them they will creep into your brain and then it will be easier to make what you have heard come out of your fingers.  take what you do on sundays SERIOUSLY. most of us enjoy being on stage playing or singing in front of a crowd, but we had better spend some time alone with the song, our instrument and God before we expect to be used on sunday.

speaking as a worship leader/band leader i will say that the weight of what happens in a worship service falls directly on us.  when you are stressing about a band member that may or may not have a clue where the song is going IT IS A HORRIBLE FEELING.

speaking as a band member on a worship team i will say that nothing frustrates me more than having to wait on someone to learn a song while myself and the other band members awkwardly stand there watching the worship leader try to hold back his/her frustration at the person that didn’t put the time in to learn the tunes….

speaking as a professional musician— well, you’ll just get fired if you don’t have your stuff together.  so that one is easy.

so.  take it seriously people.

worship band members– we are lucky to get to do this.  for God and for people.  do your BEST.

i’m done now.  whew.  i feel better.

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9 Responses to “musicians-for the love of goodness…”

  1. Natasha Rodriguez Says:

    Wow this was so good! Yes to the point! You are right jake we should give our best to God and the people!..Love God love people:) I’m glad you got that out we all needed that!

  2. Chrysta Says:

    Jacob-
    Thank you for saying this! None of us have the right to waste other people’s time. It is arrogant of us to think that its ok for people to stand around while we figure out our part. I think it boils down to an issue of pride that we cannot allow to take root and grow. I want to be careful that I don’t follow Lucifer’s pattern— a pitfall all of us musicians need to stay aware of at all times– thank you for caring enough to speak out!

  3. Michael Eidson Says:

    Jacob,

    Speaking as an old professional drummer that used to have to pay the electric bill by gigging, …Very, very, very well said, …and very thankfully well received!

    Speaking now as a fellow Church Musician and trembling every Sunday at the “awesome” privilege and responsibility of where God has taken us and “allowed” us to humbly be a part of the best Praise and Worship Team I have ever experienced, …I would say “Yea and Amen!!!!”

    We are so BLESSED people, …to be born in a time when God does “not” require that we literally put our lives on the line every single time we play. As you all know, …the commitment level that was required of God’s musicians back when the musicians “proceeded” the armies of God on the battlefield was quite literally a matter of life and death …“every single time”.

    Add to that the fact the “we” (the musicians and singers) here in the 21st century are literally the “tip of the spear” in the spiritual battle for the hearts of God’s people to receive the Engrafted Word of the Most High God, ….and well, …you get the point. We are not only “lucky”, …we are blessed and favored among men!

    BRAVO my brother/friend!!! BRAVO!!!

    Respectfully and lovingly praying for “everyone” that is following this blog, – Michael

  4. Gregory Says:

    Speaking as a musician (bass) that gets to work with Jake every month, I can tell other worship/band leaders reading this that it is a tremendous help to get the new music more than just a couple of days prior to practice/performance. Jake is very good about this, usually getting the MP3’s or YouTube links out to the band a couple of week in advance.

    However, (confession time) even getting the music early doesn’t mean that I’m going to spend a lot of time letting the songs soak into my brain (and heart). Why?

    So I will give an initial listen to the playlist (I do exactly what Jake recommended by adding the new music to my “Sunday” playlist in iTunes) to help determine which song(s) will be difficult and which will be easy.

    As Jake mentioned, this music is not rocket science, and many songs are very simple…so, guess which songs I’ll probably spend the most time with in preparation…yep, the more difficult song(s).

    That said, I’ve come to realize that it’s often the simpler songs that minister to me personally. So, I’m cheating myself, spiritually, by not spending more time with ALL of the new songs prior to rehearsal.

    Not only that, but songs that are technically easy are sometimes musically difficult, when it comes to the “feel” of the music…that “feel” can only be captured by spending time listening to the music.

    Another great thing Jake does is create/send charts of the new songs. I grew up learning how to play by ear, but it is so much easier and quicker to learn new songs if we have both the MP3 to pre-listen to and the chart to read!

    Also, there are times when a song will need to adapted for church/P&W, meaning that the beginning or ending may need to be altered, or a bridge or vamp cut out or enhanced, etc, etc. That chart helps me know when we need to vary from the original version (MP3). It keeps me honest until I’ve played the altered version enough to memorize the differences.

    Needless to say…our rehearsals have become a lot more efficient than they were ‘back-in-the-day’.

    That’s all I got…!!

    Thanks for the reminder, Jacob!!

  5. jacob lowery Says:

    @chrysta— you are right. stay away from the Lucifer pitfall. as musicians we all have to guard against that.

    @michael– wow! preach bro.

    @greg– love that man. capturing the “feel” of the song is the thing. playing it and feeling it.

  6. Rob Steele Says:

    Ok, I’ll weigh in here for what it’s worth. Take it from a guy who sat through the days of church with the pastor’s wife on the organ, (years before Wanda Phillips who was incredible), an old retired music teacher on the piano, and a well intentioned brother whacking away on an old guitar, the music we hear in church today is wonderful. Then there is the level of excellence that folks like Jake bring to the table. My 83 year old dad thinks only classical is real music and hates rock, yet when he hears Jake lead worship and play his instrument, he always comments on how perfect it is and how he enjoys it. That only comes from the work ethic and dedication I hear on this blog which you musicians relate to. Maybe you need to incorporate this into your protocol for worship requirements.

    I too believe God requires our very best regardless of the task, and anything less is unworthy as a gift to Him. However, if we only focus on doing our very best, that is all we will have as a result. Instead, if our primary focus is on walking in the Spirit, we will die to our self, have no personal agenda, and God will then be able to flow through us and enhance our best. The result will be a divine moment that touches the hearts of the congregation, lives will be changed, and a deep satisfaction for those who have allowed God to use their very best to accomplish His purpose.

  7. jacob lowery Says:

    @rob– so true. sounding great just to sound great isn’t the goal. i believe in being so familiar with the song and so comfortable while you are playing it that you don’t have to think– therefore you can concentrate on which direction the Spirit is moving.
    Glad you chimed in rob! now go practice those 3 chords i taught you!

  8. James Says:

    Jake, you wrote it exactly how I told you to write it….great job!

    Seriously musicians, this is serious and we’re in a serious business.

  9. Rob Steele Says:

    Oh, I’m practicing them alright. Just don’t forget the deal, if I play you a song your going deer hunting with me. Remind me to loan you a rifle when you come down for Christmas so you can practice shooting it. 🙂

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