Tag Archives: instruments

Pointers about Volume

Here, in the opinion of the author, are some principles to observe with respect to the volume level of the voices and instruments of the PT (Praise Team).

1. A lot of noise is not automatically the sign or indication that something spiritual is happening. There can be loud sound coming from the instruments of the PT and from the voices of the singers, but this is not an indication that anything spiritual is happening in the heart. 

2. Nevertheless, the loud volume of the instruments and of the singers can be a sign that something spiritual is happening. It may arise from the enthusiasm that the worshipers feel about God and Jesus and about various other spiritual themes. Excitement about something will generally raise the level of volume of voices and instruments. This is not a bad thing!

3. Volume is to some extent governed by the words of the music and by the mood of the worshipers. When enthusiasm is expressed in the words of a song, it is appropriate to express that enthusiasm with voices and instruments. If a song calls for quiet contemplation is would seem appropriate to let the volume express this also. For example, loud music would seem inappropriate for a funeral service. Generally, when the mood of the worshipers is enthusiastic, the volume of the music will rise.

4. On occasion the enthusiasm of the PT will be greater than that of the congregation. It would not seem inappropriate that the volume of the singers would therefore be greater than that of the congregation. In such a situation the enthusiasm of the singers could be contagious for the congregation, and they may catch the enthusiasm also. But this is not the same thing as volume for volume’s sake. The volume is in relationship to the enthusiasm of the PT.

5. Generally, the volume of the Praise Team should not consistently drown out the volume of the congregation (People of God). It becomes discouraging for worshipers when they can not hear themselves or anyone else sing. As the volume of the congregation rises, the volume of the PT may also rise.  In other words, there should be some correspondence between the volume of the PT and their instruments, and the volume of the congregation.

6. The reason why worshipers should be able to hear their own voices and those of other worshipers is that one’s own faith can be strengthened when one hears the voices of others lifting up their own voices to the same God. The expression of the faith of others encourages one in his/her own expression of this faith.

7. In summary, volume should not be like the motor of some furnaces. Some furnace motors have only one setting – full blast. In my opinion, praise and worship singing will be more enjoyable when there is some correspondence between the words of the songs, the mood of the congregation and the volume of the voices and instruments of the PT.



12 Practical Pointers for Praise Teams

If I were to summarize what the most important factors in making for an enjoyable experience of praise and worship are, I would list the following:


1. Please keep the beat!!!!! 

2. Try not to let the volume of the playing/singing of the PT dominate the congregation’s singing. It is beneficial for the congregation to be able to hear not only the singing and playing of the PT, but also its own singing.

3. Teach the congregation music that is singable. Try to avoid complex rhythms and melody lines. Remember: The congregation is not made up of musical professionals.

4. Chose songs with texts that are meaningful and theologically accurate.

5. Avoid meaningless repetition.

6. Remember to balance the learning of new songs with the singing of better/well-known songs. People get more pleasure out of singing songs they know. It is hard to put one’s heart into songs one hardly knows.

7. Be more concerned about the content of the songs (the words) than about the style of the music. God is more concerned that we worship him in spirit and in truth than that we worship him according to the latest style. Teach the congregation this principle.

8. Seek to approach the singing and worship time with an attitude of reverence and awe. We are worshiping the Holy One.

9. Discourage “showmanship” by the musicians. We are not here to impress anyone, but to lead others in worship.

10. Seek to avoid dress that draws the worshipers’ attention away from the music and  to the musician. God should be the primary focus of everyone present.

11. Remember the elderly when standing for long periods of time. Show solidarity with them by adopting a sitting posture from time to time. Let them know that you are aware that it may be difficult for them to stand with the rest of the worshipers.

12. Let everything be done in love.


Pointers about the Beat

I have come to the conclusion, that keeping the beat is a matter of great importance in congregational singing. In other words, it is of great importance, that the Praise Team keep the beat during their playing and singing of the songs. I cannot overstate how important this is.

What do we mean by “keeping the beat”? Each bar of each song has a number of beats. Sometimes 3, sometimes 4, or more. Each beat has the same length. Usually it has the same length throughout the song. One can speed up the beat or slow it down, but if we slow the beat down, we need to slow every beat down, and if we speed the beat up, we need to speed every beat up.

Keeping the beat is important in all forms of music. Regardless of how complicated the rhythm of a musical piece is, the beat is always steady.

Musicians are familiar with the metronome. The metronome is a handy tool. It is a tool that helps musicians keep the beat. The metronome is set in motion either by winding it up, or, if it is an electronic version, by turning it on. See http://www.metronomeonline.com for an example of an electronic metronome.) Metronomes can be set to keep a slow beat, or a fast beat. But one thing is certain, unless the metronome is broken, it keeps a steady beat.

Why is all of this relevant? I believe that human beings have an internal beat-keeping sensor (I think I  just made up a term). We can often see people tapping their feet, or their fingers, to a certain beat. Or they will be rocking their body or their head back and forth to a certain beat. Even those who cannot carry a tune, or sing, have the ability to keep a beat. Somehow this beat-keeping sensor is something that is in us from birth. I believe our creator put it there.

Here is how this impacts congregational singing. When for one reason or another, the beat of a song is not kept, in other words, when beats vary in length within the same song, the worshiper experiences a conflict within himself. The lack of a steady beat is in conflict with the sense of rhythm that his creator has put inside of him. And this conflict becomes a distraction during the singing. It takes the joy out of singing, because trying to sing against the beat becomes a frustration to the worshiper.

We might say, why should the worshiper be distracted? If he is spiritual enough, he will remain focussed through it all and still worship. True, God will still see his heart of worship, and God will be pleased. Nevertheless, the worshiper will be frustrated, and the experience of worship in song will be an unpleasant one to him.

What is my advice (pointer) to the Praise Team? Please make every effort to keep the beat. How can this be done? Here are some suggestions.

1) Practise your songs with a metronome. Make sure that the beat is steady, whether it is slow or fast. Practise until the beat is steady. If the metronome is not loud enough, find a way to amplify the sound. Make sure all the musicians in the band/team are keeping the beat. 

2) Listen to the drummer (if there is one on the team). One of the drummer’s roles is to keep the beat. A drummer can be a big help to a Praise Team. He can alert the Team when they are not keeping the beat. The drummer will know when the beat is not being kept, because there is nothing more frustrating for a drummer than to have to adjust to musicians who are not keeping the beat. He should not be shy in alerting the Team. In the end, the frustration that he feels will also be felt by the congregation. The rule here is: When it comes to the beat, the musicians need to adjust to the drummer, instead of the drummer needing to adjust to the musicians.

3) Here is a suggestion to guitarists: If you are strumming, try having your strong strums land on the beat, not on the offbeat (in other words, on the tick of the metronome, not between ticks). This will also help the congregation to keep the beat.

Keeping the beat will make singing more enjoyable for the congregation, and the Praise Team will be encouraged when they sense this increase in enthusiasm.