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Unread 12-04-2013, 01:00 AM   #16
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Unread 12-04-2013, 08:41 AM   #17
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I think it's interesting that so many of us seem to be playing music we don't really like to people who aren't entirely crazy about it either...
This is the money quote. IMO. The praise team approach (band, projected lyrics, catalog of mostly newer songs) has been going strong for about 25 years now. Has it run its course?
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Unread 12-04-2013, 08:45 AM   #18
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This is the money quote. IMO. The praise team approach (band, projected lyrics, catalog of mostly newer songs) has been going strong for about 25 years now. Has it run its course?
In a lot of ways it has run it's course with me. I think that's mostly because of a scarcity of musicians who are willing to work at it. So we have to dumb it down to the lowest common denominator, no practice required. Playing in Church has ceased to be anything but an exercise in sight reading and damage control for me.
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Unread 12-04-2013, 08:55 AM   #19
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This is the money quote. IMO. The praise team approach (band, projected lyrics, catalog of mostly newer songs) has been going strong for about 25 years now. Has it run its course?
Hardly, but it can't be sustained if it's always the same people, same songs, same styles, same schtick Sunday after Sunday.
My pastor and I have butted heads over this issue in the past; he thinks consistency and redundancy is good and it's my thinking that a small level of those elements are good to hold to, but allow for variety within a loose consistency range.
I think people will get bored with the same thing, week after week. History has proven this as we watch older churches w/ older traditional-style services dwindle and die off. Sad to say that about a true worship service, but it is what it is, so better to recognize it and adapt now rather than become another casualty and see a community go downhill in the future as a result.

And we need to make changes for the right reasons, not just to keep up with the church-going Joneses.
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Unread 12-04-2013, 09:52 AM   #20
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In a lot of ways it has run it's course with me. I think that's mostly because of a scarcity of musicians who are willing to work at it. So we have to dumb it down to the lowest common denominator, no practice required. Playing in Church has ceased to be anything but an exercise in sight reading and damage control for me.
Except the previous standard was a church pianist and/or organist who didn't "rehearse" at all. Sight reading was standard. And I might add, trivial for even a modestly-skilled pianist, made even easier by normally being the only accompaniment.

Asking for rehearsal is asking more of our church musicians than we used to. Previously, the only requirement might have been to show up 10 minutes early or rehearse special music with the choir.

Also we used to have printed music for exactly what we wanted played (the hymnal). I could take two years of piano lessons and be able to play anything from the hymnal on sight. Sight-reading simple music is a pretty normal thing to learn for an intermediate pianist.

Now if we shoot for a "just like the recording" style, we have at best a hodge podge of tabs. No precise music for sure. And, sight-reading tabs is not a normal skill taught to guitarists and bassists and keyboardists and drummers. Playing things by ear also isn't a commonly taught skill. Really, most church musicians probably have no formal instruction at all, which is another major break from the previously-popular style of church music.

So if you add it all up, we used to have formally-trained musicians playing solo, doing something which required no rehearsal because it was part of their basic training. Now we have untrained musicians playing with others and doing something which requires rehearsal and isn't usually taught even to musicians who do have formal instruction.

Not trying to make any points, just observations.
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Unread 12-04-2013, 12:45 PM   #21
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I think that the repetitive musical simplicity has evolved somewhat as a neccesary evil. In my current team, the bass player has been playing for all of 5 months, and the keyboardist has been converted from two staff notation to chord charts about the same amount of time. The congregation gets to sing any given song once every few weeks and is expected to remember how it goes just from lyrics on a screen while the band of weekend warriors may typically have an hour of group rehearsal and little to no personal practice time invested for any given Sunday.

So...G>Em>C>D with the capo somewhere on the neck, rinse and repeat it is... I do find myself suffering through some of it. Oh joy...here we go again, Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Loud Bridge-Chorus-Gentle Tag...Next! How....mundane and predictable it can become. Whenever I have tried to take a team of volunteer weekend warriors to more complex levels however, they have stumbled and it has often been a train wreck for the team and the congregation also.

On the other hand I have found some great workable stuff among the collections from groups like Indelible Grace and Sovereign Grace that is a departure from the usual Tomlin/Redman formula.

I also sneak in the occassional traditional hymn and southern gospel tune here and there, not to mention the occassional metrical psalm done completely acapella.

When it comes to the stuff permeating Top 40 Christian Radio these days however, I just can't endure most of it. Painful. It seems even Tomlin is trying to do Mumford and Sons now (Lay Me Down)..

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Unread 12-06-2013, 12:59 PM   #22
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Honestly I'm not trying to be a super Christian or anything but I really don't find it boring at all. For close to 20 years I've played complicated secular metal and rock, (Christian metal/rock now), and although I don't do power metal in church, I am still playing complicated stuff that is very fun. But I don't really think about that I just worship.

Does everybody here do the capo thing? I hate using them, as they do make playing dull and limit your abilities..
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Unread 12-06-2013, 01:34 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Iron Broadsword View Post
Honestly I'm not trying to be a super Christian or anything but I really don't find it boring at all. For close to 20 years I've played complicated secular metal and rock, (Christian metal/rock now), and although I don't do power metal in church, I am still playing complicated stuff that is very fun. But I don't really think about that I just worship.

Does everybody here do the capo thing? I hate using them, as they do make playing dull and limit your abilities..
I think playing it can be a lot more interesting than listening to it, depending on the team you're working with.
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Unread 12-06-2013, 02:20 PM   #24
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I think that's fair. I don't know if I've ever found it boring though from the pew, unless I was wishing I was elsewhere.. and lol I went to a church for a while that had terrible musicians. Just... bad.
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Unread 12-06-2013, 08:54 PM   #25
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Does everybody here do the capo thing? I hate using them, as they do make playing dull and limit your abilities..
I don't use capos to limit the number of chords I need to learn, but I do sometimes use them for the change in timbre they produce. Sometimes that change is enough to make a song more interesting anyway.

If there are two or more guitarists, it's really nice to have them using different capo positions, providing different voicings for each chord. This sounds particularly nice with 12 strings. I guess that's one of the ways I help keep church music interesting for myself.
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Unread 12-07-2013, 12:06 AM   #26
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I'm getting so bored musically with all the modern worship music we play. It seems like every single song is exactly the same: mid-tempo, add a simple guitar lick drenched in reverb/delay, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, build into big epic ending that repeats forever. The only variety we have is the choice to do the song U2 style or Coldplay style. Every song is starting to sound the same, just with different lyrics.
Obviously there is an enormous number of songs/bands which fit that description. But I don't think you have to look particularly far at all to find music which doesn't really fit that description. You don't have to go any further than looking at all the different projects which HILLSONG have released this year to realize they've moved past just mimicking U2.


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Maybe I just need to look in different places than I have been? Is there worship music out there that is outside the CCM box we seem to be stuck in? worship music that is more musically interesting? I'd even settle for a couple non-diatonic chords. Something to build some interest into the arrangement. I've seriously been thinking about finding a church that does gospel music just for a change... there's some seriously awesome music going on in some of those churches
Don't know where you're currently looking or what you're looking for. But I can say if you're only listening to Christian radio, you are listened to some of the most formulaic music there is.
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Unread 12-07-2013, 12:25 PM   #27
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Does everybody here do the capo thing? I hate using them, as they do make playing dull and limit your abilities..
If the song is in, say, Bb I'd rather capo 1 and play in A or capo 3 and play in G to get some nice open strings ringing out. It sounds better to my ears than playing everything as barre chords. Heck, slapping the capo on the 8th fret and playing in E could make some cool sounds. If anything, I think using a capo helps me get more sounds than it does limit me.
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Unread 12-07-2013, 12:42 PM   #28
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If the song is in, say, Bb I'd rather capo 1 and play in A or capo 3 and play in G to get some nice open strings ringing out. It sounds better to my ears than playing everything as barre chords. Heck, slapping the capo on the 8th fret and playing in E could make some cool sounds. If anything, I think using a capo helps me get more sounds than it does limit me.
Exactly.

I'm sure there are some worldly class guitarists who can play full sounding chords in weird keys while transitioning between chords with hammer ons, slides and licks. I'm not one of them. I've got a whole bag of tricks for the keys of E, G, A, C, and D. I use some interesting voicings in all of those keys and I can do some other interesting things. In those keys I can normally find ways to play lead lines by switching voicings while strumming.

I can play other keys without a capo using bar chords. It just won't sound particularly full at times or smooth or have any frills.
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Unread 12-07-2013, 01:35 PM   #29
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AMen, amen, amen!

I am not even an active musician and I must say I agree with all of your sentiments. It is frustrating to the core, because... to whom are we singing? Why are we singing? What should we sing?

To all that, I ask ...have you heard Indelible Grace?
Indelible Grace Music: Joy Beyond The Sorrow Available Now!

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Our hope is to be a voice calling our generation back to something rich and solid and beyond the fluff and the trendy. We want to remind God's people that thinking and worship are not mutually exclusive, and we want to invite the Church to appreciate her heritage without idolizing it. We want to open up a world of passion and truth and make it more that just an archaic curiosity for the religiously sentimental. We believe worship is formative, and that it does matter what we sing. Ultimately, we want to nurture a movement and hope this site will provide resources for this.
They basically take hymns and other theologically rich songs, and revamp the music style... and the style is diverse! They post all the sheets, lyrics, samples, etc. that they can so you can prepare easily.
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Unread 12-07-2013, 02:07 PM   #30
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AMen, amen, amen!

I am not even an active musician and I must say I agree with all of your sentiments. It is frustrating to the core, because... to whom are we singing? Why are we singing? What should we sing?

To all that, I ask ...have you heard Indelible Grace?
Indelible Grace Music: Joy Beyond The Sorrow Available Now!


They basically take hymns and other theologically rich songs, and revamp the music style... and the style is diverse! They post all the sheets, lyrics, samples, etc. that they can so you can prepare easily.
My church does a lot of Indelible Grace tunes, they're very good! I love that they're very easy to adapt and mess with/add dynamics to and whatnot. Lyrics are awesome, but sometimes I feel like it's almost too rich...like, some of those songs I wouldn't do unless we could spent 20 minutes afterward talking about the lyrics in depth. Haha.
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