Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Things Every Praise Singer Should Know

The snarky part of me wants you to read this like a David Letterman top 10 list (Can you tell that I am a child of the 80s)?
It's a little direct, and if you are hurt by this, because you are one of those people onstage, please know that I'm just saying what everyone else is saying.... behind your back.

10.  The tune - duh.
9.    The words - If you aren't naturally talented at learning the words to songs, read them on the screen or on paper.  Don't fake it.  We can tell that you are just repeating "Watermelon, bubblegum, watermelon"
8.  Your audience - If you are singing in a nursing home, you are probably going to pick a different set than if you are singing to a group of teens.  Not all congregations are that obvious about what they like, but if the group isn't singing, they probably don't like your choice of music.  Watch the audience and figure out what they like.  You are the leader, but you aren't leading if no one is following.
7.  Why Music is Important to Worship - Even in the year 2013, some people are not on the "praise music" bandwagon.  As a leader in this ministry, you should know and be able to articulate why praise music is a valid (and not Satanic) form of worship for your congregation
6.  The band - Unless you sing only a capella at your church, you should probably know your musicians.  You don't need to know how to play all their instruments; but since they are such a vital part of your ministry, and they can be temperamental (sometimes, please don't throw your drumsticks at me), you should probably know their names, some general info about their instruments, and what kind of coffee they like sabbath morning  ;)  A musician who loves you or hates you while you are singing can make or break you.
5.  The sound man - Likewise,  feedback or questionable mixing by the sound man can make you and your team sound really great or really really really bad.  Become friends with the sound man or woman, and you WILL sound better.  
4.  Body Language - I've been at a church service or two, where the singers were really distracting.  Think about Celine Dion - beautiful voice (can't be denied) + distracting body language = the butt of many jokes on Saturday Night Live.  Her awkward body language makes her a laughingstock to many people.  Body movement can be taught and improved upon.  If people giggle when you are dancing, you may want to consider evaluating your body language when you are onstage.  
3.  How to transition/finish - My least favorite song during praise is "I can sing of your love forever" sung forever.  Sorry God, maybe in heaven I'll be able to sing and never get tired, but right now, I want the "One more time" to stop.  Sing a song that everyone loves, then end the song.  Make us want more.
2.  Being Genuine is not enough - This is the hard truth.  If you are not a good hair stylist, I wouldn't let you cut my hair, not matter how much you LOVE doing it.  If even if tell me that it's your God-given talent, the thing that makes you happy.  No scissors for you!  Same goes for the praise team.  If you love to sing and you are not good at it, sing with gusto - from your seat.  Not onstage.
1.  How to take criticism - The truth is hard to accept, and sometimes hurts your feelings.  But if someone loves you enough to tell you the truth, for your own good, find a way to learn from it.  In the end, it will make you a better person.

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