|Posted on August 14, 2015 at 11:50 AM||comments (6)|
My Top 7 Most Important Traits of an Effective Worship Leader:
Vulnerabilty invites vulnerabitly and creates an environment where it is safe to be undone, broken, and real.
a. We as worship leaders need to be transparent and real.
b. When we show emotion it breaks down barriers and opens up doors.
c. Our congregation is looking to US to see what is okay and what is not. When we show joy, honor and passion, they will follow!
2. Spirit Lead:
Listen for the Holy Spirit's guidance and follow it.
a. We should not be afraid to go off the script when we feel the Spirit lead.
b. The more we listen and obey the voice of the Lord, the more audible He will become and the easier it will be to follow.
We must trust that God is directing our heart, our words, and our music.
a. God is going to take care of every note and every word that we say, but we must allow Him to!
b. We must trust that even when we dont feel that we can do something, God can.
* Which means that sometimes we should go for the note that seems impossible, or start saying the words that God puts on our heart, even if we are not sure that the congreation will respond. If it is coming from a place of the Spirit and glorifying God, then He will make it happen.
d. We must let go, trust His guidance, and let God take the glory!
Play Skillfully! We must honor and worship God through the obedience of skillful preparation.
a. Practice and prepare everything.
b. If we do the work ahead of time, God will do the rest.
c. We should wake up early ad prepare our heart to lead through the reading of the word, prayer and praise. We can not fill others if we ourselves are empty.
d. We should also prepare our instrument through warming up our body, voice, arms, etc..(depending on our insrument).
c. Preperation ensures that we can have freedom to follow God's leading during our worship. It frees us up to focus on worshiping in spirit and in truth, as opposed to from a place of skill.
d. We should practice and prepare what we are going to say in advance through prayer and consecration.
e. When we know the words we are singing by heart, then it frees us up to then sing them from the heart!
Be humble; we can NOT do it alone!
a. We must NEVER forget to pray!
b. We must invite God in to everything we do.
c. Asking for His guidance on everything from choosing the songs, to choosing the people to sing them.
d. Asking for guidance on what to say and even what to pray.
e. We should trust that God’s spirit will give us the right thing to say even if it doesn’t make sense until its coming outof our mouths on Sunday!
6. Don’t Sing:
Lead: The congregation is not there to hear us sing; they are there to worship.
a. Unless we are doing special music, we must make sure to keep our eye’s open and on our worshipers.
b. Sense how they are responding and react to it.
c. Sing notes and play in keys that are easy for the congregation to sing.
d. Sing adlibs and have fun…but don’t distract.
e. If we feel it, say it, do it, move it! They will follow!
f. The congregation is looking at us…we must lead them to look upward!
7. Word led worship:
Worship should be founded in the Word of God; so should our heart.
a. We must plant ourselves in the word of God.
b. The first thing we should do on Sunday morning is prepare our hearts to lead by reading the word.
c. We must saturate ourselves with the word of God so that it is the first thing that is on our lips.
d. Worship is an overflow of what is going on in our heart. If our heart is grounded in the word of God, in His truth, His mercy, His grace, His power, His glory: so will our worship be.
|Posted on July 5, 2015 at 6:30 PM||comments (0)|
Belting 101:Power and Safety
Belting is a style of singing in which a singer sings a note in their chest voice that would classically be sung in their head voice.*Typically found in pop, rock, musical theater, gospel and country singing.
- It is a very challenging style of singing and almost always done poorly or incorrectly. Hence the high amounts of singers who are reported in have nodes or nodules on their vocal chords.
The Vocal Chord Dance:
When we sing correctly our vocal chords do a lovely little dance next to one another as the air goes through the opening between them. But when we sing or even talk incorrectly, our vocal chords slam up against one another causing fatigue and damage.
Nodes or Nodules are developed as a result of the above incorrect use of one’s vocal chords. Symptoms include hoarseness, painful speech production, frequent vocal breaking, and a reduction in vocal range. (If you are a speaker or vocalist and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be a good idea to go and see your ENT right way.)
And now that I have completely scared you away from belting, let me encourage you, as a belter myself, there is a proper way to belt with out causing the above effects.
Here is some information about proper belting techniques:
Proper support and placement!
You really should NOT be belting with out a least a little fundamental knowledge and know-how.
Use your diaphragm.
- Your diaphragm is the muscle that is connected to your lungs. It is what is used to control the amount of air you both take in and out while singing.
- You must not only have the air to back up your big power note but control. (Especially if you plan to hold the note out for longer than a few seconds.)
Some exercises to build diaphragm strength are:
- Dog Panting:
- Pick a BPM on a metronome (I typically start my students at 90) and blow air in and out like dog does after a long run.
- Take a deep breath and then slowly release the air like you are a snake hissing on the ground. Try to hiss anywhere from 15 - 45 seconds.
- Pilates 100:
- Lie on the floor like you are about to do a crunch. Lift your head and place your arms in line with your hips about 2 inches off the floor. Begin to move your arms up and down in a bouncing motion while breathing in and out. Do anywhere from 10 – 100 reps.
- Lip Trills:
- Imagine you are blowing bubbles in water trough your mouth. As you push the air out, your lips should buzz and trill. Try doing it for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Chin is lifted ever so slightly up and to the left. (Do NOT lift your chin directly up) This will ensure that all the powerful sound will still go right to the front of your face and not get caught in your throat.
- Squatting down ever so slightly helps to keep your diaphragm grounded.
One of the best things I learned from one of my first belting coaches was this:
“If you don’t believe that you can hit a note, you won’t!”
SO…Know what note you are going to hit, believe you can hit it and then go for it with full abandon! [If your placement and support are right and the note is in your break range (notes between chest and head voice)…there really is not reason you shouldn’t be able to hit it.]
***PLEASE NOTE *** Belting is a very complex type of singing and can be quite dangerous for your voice if you do not have proper training. And while the above information is informative, I do not recommend trying it on your own. So if this is a style you are interested in learning and you hope to have a long singing career, please call and schedule a lesson with a professional right away! There really is no time to waste. Your vocal chords are counting on you to take care of them!
|Posted on June 23, 2015 at 11:05 AM||comments (0)|
Here is an excerpt from a workshop that I did last year on worship. This was the first session and is a brief synopisis of what will later be given more detail. So be on the look out for more to come!
“Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him….Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” (Psalm 33: 1 & 3)
Our bodies are an instrument of praise and worship to our God and king; therefore it is fitting for us to praise Him through song both joyfully AND skillfully.
Joyful: exuberantly, cheerfully and with delight.
- God wants us to praise Him with joy. Both singing and shouting with words and songs of exuberance and delight! No need to hold it back. He wants it all!
“Let them praise His name with dancing;” (Psalm 149:3)
I believe God wants us to praise Him with our whole bodies expression and that means movement as well.
- So sing, dance, jump, shout, and raise your hands in praise. It is all fitting and worthy of our King.
- And if you dance, dance with joy!
- If you jump, jump exuberantly!
- If you shout, shout cheerfully!
- If you raise your hands; raise them high, for He is high and lifted up!
Skillful: expertly, masterfully, and proficiently.
This is where vocal technique and knowledge come into play.
- It is fitting for us to study our instruments of praise. If our body is our instrument than we must not only know how to “play” it well, but also how to treat it well.
***Blog about playing skillfully to come
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:23-24)
Spirit: in the Latin here is Spiritus, which also means breath, inhalation, and spirit.
If spirit is breath and inhalation than think about how much more we can be in touch with His spirit when we learn to breath deeper and stronger.
***Blog about Breath and Sprit to come
Truth: Truth in the Latin here is Veritas, which simply means truth. Truth defined can also mean sincerity, honesty and certainty.
- When we are worshiping God we must approach Him in full sincerity and honesty; full disclosure and for that matter full exposure.
- If we have false beliefs about our bodies, voices, ourselves; it will inevitably affect our worship.
Here is the truth!
God gave you your body, your voice and your personality. He made YOU!
- He already knows everything about you and loves every hair on your head!
- He knows what you look like…and says you are beautifully and wonderfully made.
- He knows what you sound like; and it is so pleasing to His ear!
- He knows who you are; so come as you are.
***Some days we just don’t feel joyful. But when we show up to in front of God with our hearts in obedience to praise Him; His spirit plants the joy within our hearts. And even if it is just for a moment His peace that surpases all understanding enters our heart and mind and we find that we can praise Him in the midst of ourselves. REMEMBER: PRAISE IS A WEAPON!