Video#10 – Choosing The Best Key

Watch this short video. To understand the thought process behind the training video, read the blog post below it.

The video above is #10 in the More Than Music Mentor training resource series.

Not long ago I was speaking with a very talented, professional “worship artist”, “worship leader” and (male) friend of mine. Together with a female vocalist, we were preparing to play and sing Phil Wickham’s “This Is Amazing Grace” together at a “Night Of Praise” special event.

It was clear to me that we were preparing to lead it as a congregational song. The words would be on screens. The congregation would be asked to sing with us as an expression of worship.

It was a new song for me to learn, but my friend had been singing it as part of his repertoire for his home congregation for some time. I asked him in what key he usually did the song. “B flat – same as Phil Wickham!” he shot back with a confident smile.

I was impressed. But also a little saddened.

I was impressed because that means my friend possesses some serious vocal range – like Phil Wickham (and Chris Tomlin and many other popular male “worship artists”). I was saddened because, like me, perhaps 95% of men are unable to sing that high! Most women can sing in that register, but only by singing in the same octave as the male leader. The octave above the male leader (which is usual) is impossible for perhaps 95% of all women for that song in B flat!

I was saddened because I think my friend had very little idea of how difficult his congregation would find singing “This Is Amazing Grace” with him in the key of B flat. But I have little doubt that his voice sounds great up there.

Singers are a funny bunch. We can be so insecure and tend to think about ourselves too much. As leading vocalists in service of The Christian Church, we often and easily become confused about the main purpose of why we are singing. We can become so focused on what we are singing and how we sound as we are singing, that we forget some absolutely essential points:

  1. We are not performing for an audience, but we are inviting the congregation to sing along.
  2. We are not primarily on the platform with a mic to have people listen to us, but to be guided by us.
  3. We ought not be trying to impress people with our vocal ability, but to encourage others to sing passionate, sincere praises to God as an expression of worship.
  4. We should make singing along with us as inviting and easy as possible for the whole congregation – both male and female, young and old, musically capable or not.

Evidence of this “performance or guidance” confusion is seen no more clearly than in the choices of keys for congregational songs.

When choosing the key for a song that is to be sung by a Church congregation, I must not be thinking primarily about my voice, the key want, where I think will feel the most comfortable singing. I must be thinking first of the congregation and their vocal ability – a key that suits them.

I need to do all I can to find a key where almost every male and every female in the room can sing with confidence. For capable, experienced vocalists, this may well be – in fact, will probably be – a different key to where I would prefer to sing the song if I were performing for an audience.

This can be a tough thing to do for some songs – especially those that have a wider – more than an octave – range. Many modern “worship songs” utilize a chorus melody that launches considerably higher than the verses. It feels exciting to sing higher in the chorus in contrast to the lower verses! It works very well as a musical technique.

Some songs actually have the melody jump a whole octave at a particular point – Matt Maher’s very popular “Lord I Need You” as an example. Our hearts are stirred with emotion and the sound of the leader’s voice when they make that jump with just the right lyric!

But we ought to be aware that these techniques favor a performance style of singing and make it very tough for a whole congregation to sing along. If performance is the purpose, I say “Go for it!” and sing your performance as an expression of worship. But if you are the person picking the keys for songs, make your choices wisely – being aware of the benefits and the costs from the congregation’s point of view.

For my part, if the words are on a screen, if the objective is to invite a body of believers to sing truths of Almighty God, to cry out to Him and to praise Him, I will do my best to present songs using a key where as many people as possible know that they can sing along. It will help them to want to sing.

Oh. And to tie up the loose end of the story with my friend and I preparing “This Is Amazing Grace”: We spoke, we tested a few keys, checked where the melody would suit guys and gals and agreed on the key of E. Not the most exciting key for us guys with microphones, but the congregation sang very well indeed.

In this instructional video for Church musicians, I demonstrate the process of choosing the best key for congregational singing with “This Is Amazing Grace” as the example song. In particular, I show how the best key may differ from the key of the song as it’s heard on the radio AND how it may be different from the key in which the leader would prefer to sing the song.

Watch Video#10 – Choosing The Best Key again.

For more free resource videos and info, visit www.MoreThanMusicMentor.com.

Video#9 – Vocalists: Creating Our Unified Voice

Watch this short video. To understand the thought process behind the training video, read the blog post below it.

The video above is #9 in the More Than Music Mentor training resource series.

What’s the melody?

Consciously or unconsciously, the congregation that is being invited to sing as an expression of worship is asking that question. For them to feel willing and able to sing, the question must be answered for them – and answered in clear and simple terms.

Most likely the congregation is reading the lyrics of the song on a screen, but the melody of how they should sing those words is guided by two things:

  1. their memory of how the song goes, and
  2. the leading vocalists – the singers on the platform with microphones.

Sadly, and far too often, the leading vocalists seem unsure of the answer to that question themselves! Without intentionally doing so, the leading vocalists might present a mash-up of several different interpretations of, and approaches to the same song’s melody.

Vocalists on microphones are often singing multiple variations of the song simultaneously. Their task is to lead and guide the congregation, but they actually create confusion. With the congregation being bombarded by different variations of the melody, we should not be surprised when they resist singing along.

The mistakes that I observe most by leading vocalists in this area are:

  1. sticking to a particular or preferred version of the melody, despite others singing a different version,
  2. too much variation of vocal style (formally trained, informal or “conversational” vocals, vibrato, “scooping”, slides, note length and so on) from one leading vocalist to another, and
  3. falling for the temptation of embellishing the melody with performance-style vocal self-expression.

People’s memory of exactly how the melody of a song goes can vary a great deal. There are often multiple versions of a single song’s melody floating around – especially songs that have been reinterpreted by multiple recording artists. There is no need for pointless discussion of which version of the melody is the correct one, but the leading vocalists must make sure that they are all very clear on what their melody is for any given song.

Additionally, all vocalists who are tasked with leading the congregation must have a clear distinction in their minds between this leading-a-congregation approach to singing and performance singing. A vocalist who is performing for an audience – who is primarily being listened to – is free to use all manner of techniques to add interest and self-expression to their singing, including (but not limited to) altering the melody, note length, use of vibrato, adding syncopation, intentionally singing around the beat.

But these techniques need to be set aside by those vocalists who are leading a congregation to sing as an expression of worship. The melody they present must be clean and simple if it is to invite the (presumably) less-capable singers in the congregation to sing also. Leading a congregation does not offer the same opportunity for artistic self-expression and concert-style creativity as singing for performance.

All this wasn’t a problem, of course, back in the days when the congregation were reading lyrics and notation from a hymnal … and could read the melody (and their harmony too if they wished). While it still happens a little, the notation-reading congregation is actually very rare today. And the percentage of people in the congregation who are able to read musical notation is usually very low anyway. I’m not suggesting we go back to that method, but it does show the need to be more intentional with our preparation when not even the leading vocalists are reading notation to be certain of the melody

The musical director of the band must dedicate sufficient rehearsal time to make sure the singers’ combined “voice” is unified – presenting one, clear melody that the congregation can sing along with. Step away from the microphones. Gather around just a piano or an acoustic guitar. Sing together. Really listen to one another’s melody. Pay close attention to the details. Hear any differences. Make adjustments. Find your unified voice.

To make an engaging invitation to the congregation, we must make sure that they are presented with a clear, singable melody. In my opinion, this is prerequisite to, and far more important than adding any harmony vocals.

Significant, beautiful, potentially powerful and even supernatural things can happen as gathered Believers worship God Almighty by singing songs of praise with one, unified voice. Let’s offer them the best possible invitation to do so.

Watch Video#9 – Vocalists: Creating Our Unified Voice  again.

For more free resource videos and info, visit www.MoreThanMusicMentor.com.

Video#8 – Incorporating Notation-Reading Musicians

Watch this short video. To understand the thought process behind the teaching video, read the blog post below it.

The video above is #8 in the More Than Music Mentor training resource series.

For hundreds of years, since the birth of classical music, any serious instrumentalist or vocalist (at least, from the European tradition) would have to be able to read pages of a particular form of music notation that instructed them on exactly what to play and how to play it. Sometimes called “staff notation”, this written form of musical language uses lines, dots, symbols, letters, words, and more to tell the musician practically every detail of the music that they had to reproduce.

Check out this little bit of hand-written musical notation by J. S. Bach (1685–1750)!

Hand-written musical notation by J. S. Bach (1685–1750)

I have some experience and ability to read musical notation from my early years learning piano, playing brass instruments and from studying music in high school and as part of my college degree. But I was never very good at it. Reading musical notation was always difficult for me. While there was a joy in music at that time, the joy was somewhat offset by the onerous chore of reading notation.

But then I discovered playing without notation. Playing by ear. A new musical world of creativity, self expression and joy exploded for me. Music like this was wonderful! Approaching music – without the specific confinement of staff notation – certainly fit me better.

Since picking up the bass guitar and beginning to play music in rock bands (including quite a few years as a recording, touring pro), the number of times I have been asked to read notation – within my role as a bassist – could probably be numbered on one hand! That’s very few times. Ironically, any notation reading skill I had has become extremely rusty over my pro-musician years through under use!

I’d play by listening to the other instruments and creating my own bass parts – exploring different possibilities, considering the many options and arriving at what I thought worked best. All the musicians in the band would interact, throw out suggestions and together, we’d craft a piece of music that we liked most. This was especially the case when writing and arranging original music. The lines between writing, arranging and producing were wonderfully blurred.

If I was being asked to reproduce an existing song arrangement, I would listen to a sound recording and memorize the most important details and “feel” of the previously recorded bass part, but still leave some room for my own interpretation. Quite often a much simpler form of musical notation – the chord chart – would be used to aid memorization of the sound recording.

At times, just a chord chart (without the support of a sound recording) would be presented to me. These very loose guidelines would demand that each instrumentalist bring a great deal of themselves – musically – to the performance and hammered home the necessity of listening carefully to the other instruments.

Here’s an example of one of the many ways a chord chart might look.

Chord Chart

I wish I was better schooled to read and understand written music – staff musical notation and music theory. These are important skills and, in many musical situation – extremely important, beneficial and even necessary.

From one way of thinking about it, there are two “schools” of playing music: one that depends on written, musical staff notation and another that does not. Each “school” or system of playing music has strengths and weaknesses. The details of these might make the subject of a future blogpost, but don’t need to be discussed here.

The reason I explain all this is to make this point: These two approaches do not represent a “correct” way and an “incorrect” way. Neither is inherently better than the other in every musical situation. They are just different. And they can be complimentary.

But the people belonging to each “school” can easily think of their way as being the preferred way. The favored way. Cliques can form. Even within the Church, the team of established musicians – influenced heavily by the leadership – can rely mainly on one system or the other and, perhaps even without intentionally doing so, may exclude anyone from the other “school”.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the musicians who prepare sacred music in the life of the Church were intentional about recognizing and utilizing capable musicians of all “schools”? We ought to lean towards each other to learn from one another, understand each other better, pick up some of the language of the other “school” and, in so doing, become more effective at creating a unified musical “voice” that would better serve The Church.

J.S.Bach could hear his music in his head and play it by ear first. He only wrote it as notation so what he heard could be understood and reproduced by other instrumentalists. Thank God he did! There are musicians who are equally comfortable in the formal, notated “school” and the play-by-ear “school” of music. Of course, that’s the ideal. That’s the best set of skills for a musician to have, but it is quite rare.

There may be very capable instrumentalists within your Church congregation who don’t get involved in the music because they have a more formal musical background and only feel comfortable playing when they are reading staff notation. In this instructional video, I speak about how we can and should incorporate these musicians, even if they are unfamiliar with learning to play a song from a chord chart and a sound recording.

Watch Video#8 – Incorporating Notation-Reading Musicians again.

Take this link to watch the full rendition of “Be Thou My Vision” featuring classical musician Syneva Colle on cello.

 

For more free resource videos and info, visit www.MoreThanMusicMentor.com.

Video#7 – Drums: Keeping Solid Time

Watch this short video. To understand the thought process behind the teaching video, read the blog post below it.

 

In my earlier years of playing bass guitar in bands, I worked with my fellow musicians for countless rehearsal hours to try to get our songs to be, what we called, “tight”. We were “tight” when we assessed that our playing was really together – landing all our notes precisely in time with one another.

In my mind at the time, some of those bands were tight. But then in my first recording session, my best-rehearsed, “tightest” band and I were asked to play with a “click” – an electronically produced metronome that showed us where perfect time really was. It was a rude, shocking awakening for all of us. We were WAY off. We were not tight. We were in fact, as the engineer informed us with bemused resignation, “As loose as a goose!”. Our attempts at recording – transposed over the correctly timed click – proved it.

We were rushing (pushing earlier than the beat) for every accent, every increase in dynamics, during every drum fill. And every time we rushed, we rushed at slightly different rates. We thought we were tight, but we were sloppy. Before then we had no idea!

I realized that adrenaline can do strange things to my sense of time. Sometimes my internal metronome lies to me.

Unconscious Incompetence:
– When I don’t know what I don’t know.
– Or thinking that I know something, when I actually don’t.

From that moment, I realized that I needed to train my internal metronome to have a better sense of time. I had to practice with a metronome and with professionally recorded (metronome perfect) songs. And perhaps most importantly, I had to play with drummers who were training their sense of time. No matter how good the timing is from other band members, if the drums are out of time, it’s all out of time.

Hey, not all music needs to be in metronome-perfect, constant time. Some of my favorite music goes through shifts in the lengths of the beats – sometimes very obviously and other times more subtly. But to improve the sound of our guitar/drum driven Church bands we must improve our time-keeping ability.

Music sounds better when it’s played in time. Congregations will feel more confident to engage if the leading musicians are together and timing the music well. There may not be many people in your Church congregation who would be consciously aware when the band is not keeping good time – with a better internal metronome than the musicians – but poorly timed music puts people on edge, does not invite, can hinder people’s ability and willingness to sing along.

In any vocal/guitar/keys/bass/drums band, time is established by the drums. In my mind, the drummer is the modern-ensemble’s conductor. It’s up to the drummer to make sure the band knows where correct time is. While it’s important that all musicians improve their sense of correct time, it’s even more important that drummers do. All drummers should utilize a metronome. This can be done in one of three ways:

  1. Use headphones from an electronic metronome for focused, personal practice.
  2. Use that same metronome set-up while you’re playing with the band.
  3. If your band is using in-ear monitoring, arrange for your metronome’s click to be fed to the other musicians too. (Note: A metronome click through open speaker monitors will be a terrible, unmusical distraction).

This might surprise you: My ideal is that the band should NOT use a metronome – a click –  while we are rehearsing or engaging a congregation -not even just for the drummer. But that ideal band will need to have each member – especially the drummer – with well trained internal metronomes.

Why?

  • I want the freedom to have subtle, intentional time changes in our songs.
  • I do not  want to have to wear in-ear monitors as they make it very difficult for me to connect and assess the congregation’s singing.
  • I want to be able to have different instruments in the band play sections of the song without the need for constant time keeping from a drummer.
  • I want introductions to songs that do not need to wait for the drummer to reset and switch on the metronome.

In a live music situation – especially leading a Church congregation to worship God through songs – I would rather not lean on the robotic, perfect time of electronics.  I believe the human sense of time, when well disciplined and trained, is best. But until we have that, let’s use the metronome and never assume that out internal sense of time is perfectly correct.

The video above is #7 in the More Than Music Mentor training resource series. In it I speak with drummer Jonathan Truman about the importance of training our internal metronome and keeping solid time, and the different ways a drummer can use a metronome’s “click” to establish and keep better time for the whole band.

Watch Video#7 – Drums: Keeping Solid Time again.

For more free resource videos and info, visit www.MoreThanMusicMentor.com.

Video#6 – Acoustic Guitar: Keys & Capos

Watch this short video. To understand the thought process behind the teaching video, read the blog post below it.

Please understand this – I do not claim to be an expert acoustic guitarist. I’m actually a bassist! Bass guitar is the instrument I dedicated a huge chunk of my life to – to make myself the best bassist I could possibly be. I was a pro bassist. Now I’m a speaker/teacher who plays a bit of acoustic guitar.

While I have usually had an acoustic guitar lying around the house somewhere gathering dust, I have really only picked it up in the last several years and started to play. I feel quite underconfident with my acoustic playing and (I’m a bit embarrassed to say) I have never made the time to really work at the instrument like I have the bass. There hasn’t seemed to be the available time! My playing is getting better because I play a lot as part of my job, but I’ve got a long way to go.

But that possibly makes me more able to relate to most acoustic guitarists in the Church. Not many of us feel truly accomplished. We’re not at “pro” level. We need every hint and tip we can to make this acoustic guitar thing work! That’s where capos can be extremely useful!

Perhaps because I have stretched my left hand so much doing big, wide hand shapes on the bass, I find bar chords (where the ring and pinky fingers on the left hand need to be “glued” together) extremely difficult. Those fingers don’t seem to want to do that for me! I can play bar chords (sort of) but to do so well, while engaging a congregation, singing, leading a band, remembering lyrics and (hopefully) being tuned to the leading of the Holy Spirit is tough.

And I don’t really like the sound of bar chords compared to more “open” chords – where more notes are being made from unfettered strings. Bar chords (at least on my guitar and with my hands) rarely sound as full and rich.

But with capos, I can find a way of playing pretty much any song I want from the Church repertoire in pretty much any key! I have  dedicated time and energy to understand song structures, chord sequences and chord voicing. While doing that I have discovered some ways of using capos that are all quite simple, work well for me and hopefully are useful to you!

This video is #6 in the More Than Music Mentor training resource series. In it I demonstrate the way I have integrated three different capos into my acoustic guitar playing. Each in their own way help my playing to be simple, have a good constant sound and bring more song keys and chords within my reach. I’d be quite lost without them!

Watch Video#6 –  Acoustic Guitar: Keys & Capos again.

For more free resource videos and info, visit www.MoreThanMusicMentor.com.

Video#5 – Bass Guitar vs. Keyboard

Watch this short video. To understand the thought process behind the teaching video, read the blog post below it.

One of the things I love most about a band – especially in the Church service setting – is that a band gives a great opportunity for a group of musicians to demonstrate to the Church what The Church should be: A collection of people making selfless choices for the sake of others – for something greater than themselves.

Sometimes with good reason, musicians are stereotyped as self-centered and lacking consideration for others. It’s certainly true that, musically speaking, we can so easily get caught up in playing exactly what we want to play and expressing ourselves. And needing to be heard by an affirming audience –  even above others.

But great bands – and I’m thinking especially of bands that can lead a Church congregation well – are made up of people who are listening to the overall sound, and the parts of their band-mates just as much as they are listening to themselves. They will constantly make musical choices that leave space. They will play less, rather than more. They want to support the roles of others, rather than pushing themselves to the fore. The resulting musical synergy means that (as the old saying goes) the whole of the band is greater than the sum of its parts.

This is no more obvious than with the choices made by a bass guitarist and a keyboardist/pianist. Most keyboardists learned to play piano on their own first before joining a band. A keyboard or piano can work well on its own as a solo instrument or accompanying a solo instrument or vocalist without any other instrumentation required.

Bassists have usually only ever known what it is to play in a band. While bass guitar is an important instrument, there’s not much call for it solo. Although there are a handful of virtuosic exceptions, the bass guitar is primarily an ensemble instrument and requires other instruments around it for its parts make musical sense. I would argue that the bass notes – the low notes – are the most important notes in any musical accompaniment – second only to the notes in the melody of a song.

As a pianist/keyboardist shifts from playing on their own to playing in a band with a bassist, they must make significant changes to the way they play,  especially in the left hand. They are no longer the main instrument in the lower register. If the keyboardist tries to “rule” the lower register of the band, clutter, mess, discord and dissonance can and does result.

Now, when a bassist and a keyboardist are walking all over each other in the lower register (as can often be heard – or made out through the sonic mush – in Church bands) they are probably not doing so intentionally. It’s most likely that they are completely unaware! They are yet to learn the ability of truly listening to each other and communicating with each other. Neither party is consciously fighting any sort of musical battle for territory, but there is a sonic battle happening nonetheless.

There needs to be a mutual agreement to allow the bass guitar to be the dominant voice in the lower register. The band leader, the sound engineer or the individual players themselves need to hear what’s happening and then be bold enough to draw attention to it, if there is a problem. Personal musical sacrifices may need to be made.

But as the keyboardist and the bassist listen to each other, support one another and leave room for each other, more (not less) clarity, musicality and “connectability” results.

This video is #5 in the More Than Music Mentor training resource series. In it I have bassist Aaron Sands and keyboardist Zach Vinson demonstrate negative and positive examples of the interplay between bass guitar and the keyboard’s lower register.

Watch Video#5 – Bass Guitar vs. Keyboard again.

For more free resource videos and info, visit www.MoreThanMusicMentor.com.

Good Loud and Bad Loud

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When I was a kid growing up in the Church, music for the Sunday morning services primarily used organ for instrumental accompaniment.

This electronic organ was top of the line, and played by a pro. While it wasn’t a cathedral-style pipe organ, it was the best available instrument to replicate that sound. The organ had a dedicated sound system with multiple, huge, high quality speaker enclosures suspended around the auditorium. They could fill the whole room with rich, full sound. In those moments when the organ was really cranking, it created a formidable sonic experience. My memory was of a sound that I could feel on my skin as well as hear with my ears. I loved it. Everyone loved it. Especially the older people.

Back in the 80’s, as a keen, music-loving, bass playing teenager, I tried to introduce a more contemporary style of music to the once-a-month, evening youth service. Some friends and I formed a band using drums, bass, electric guitar, a keyboard, singers and a few brass players.

But our sound was whatever we were making from the “stage”, augmented by the vocals going through two tiny public address speakers attached to the ceiling. These had been installed with only the projection of a single preacher’s voice in mind – not a band like ours. As beginners through such an inadequate sound system, we must have sounded pretty terrible.

We got a lot of complaints – especially from older people. And the complaint we heard the most was that we were just “too loud’.

Being young and inexperienced, I didn’t really know how to process the criticism. But I was sure we were not – could not be – as loud as the organ. And so, the idea of “good loud” and “bad loud” first began to form in my mind.

Good loud is full and powerful but well-rounded. Good loud shifts some serious air in the low end of the frequency spectrum, but is never aggressive in the high-middle to high frequencies. Too much level in those higher frequencies is sure to make loud turn bad. They are the frequencies that are most likely to cause irritation, pain and (in extreme cases) potential permanent hearing loss.

While I sometimes like loud music – louder and probably more often than most people – I never like loud music that’s harsh on my ears.

You can feel good loud against your skin and still have your ears enjoying the experience. Good loud draws people’s attention and invites them to connect. Bad loud has the opposite effect. Bad loud is aggravating, gives a horrible experience and can cause harm. It pushes people away.  I don’t ever want to have music  – or any other sound – annoy me, cause me physical pain or (any more) permanent hearing loss.

I have heard too much bad loud throughout my life. Some self inflicted. Some not. I have the constant ringing in my ears to prove it. I do not wish that on anybody.

A cheap guitar amp with too much gain, a crash cymbal or a snare drum played with ill-judged intensity or (heaven forbid!) feedback are more likely to make a listener feel discomfort than lower frequencies. These harsh, biting sounds are characteristics of bad loud and will be more likely to draw complaints from people feeling like the music is too loud for them.

Of course, people have their different, subjective tastes for music volume. If someone thinks the music is too loud and you don’t, they’re not wrong and you’re not right. You may just have different preferences.

But if the loud is bad loud, that’s far less subjective. If it’s harsh and causing irritation (or worse) to anybody that’s being asked to listen, it is too loud.

While I am not an advocate for the “If it’s too loud, you’re too old!” motto, there is a certain truth to it. Generally (and medically) speaking, older people are more sensitive when it comes to loud, harsh sounds than younger people. An appropriate level to youths, might be causing physical pain to the grey hairs!

That said, if I don’t like the performance or the type of music, I don’t like it at any volume. The louder it is, the more I will dislike it. Sometimes people use the descriptor “It’s too loud” when what they mean is, “I don’t like this music at any level that I can hear.”

And out of a lack of vocabulary and/or technical expertise, a person may describe music as being “too loud” when actually, it’s not the overall decibel (dB) level that’s the problem. Actually the sound could be harsh, biting, aggressive sounding. It just plain sounds bad to them.

Good loud is more easily achieved in smaller spaces – smaller rooms with smaller crowds. The bigger the room, the more difficult it will be. Shiny, hard surfaces like glass and tile that bounce sound rather than absorb it, will make the task tougher too.

So, should the music in a Church service ever be loud?

I’d like to think, yes, but it depends on several very important factors:

  • The loud should never be bad loud – only good loud.
  • The public address (PA) system must be capable of producing good loud.
  • The audio engineer operating the PA must be sufficiently (highly) skilled.
  • Even if it’s good, loud should not be sustained for too long. Creative use of dynamics with periods of good loud will strengthen the overall musical invitation.
  • It should never overwhelm the loudness of the congregation’s singing. (See my separate Vlogpost about this).

A lot of Church audio engineers are given certain decibel (dB) levels that they must not exceed during a service. But this approach is only helpful to a certain point. A dB meter cannot tell the difference between good loud and bad loud. A human is needed for that. With the skillful application of good loud, the dB limits might be able to be adjusted in the upward direction.

But I don’t say all of this just because I like good loud music. Instead, I sincerely believe that the correct application of good loud offers an important tool that can help God’s people sing! Sing better than many of us are singing now. Sing with some passion! Some abandon! Sing loud!

God created all things, including sound of every level. Good loud can be used for His glory, and as a sincere expression of worship.