Ten Ways to Seize All the Attention When Leading Worship

Ten Ways to Seize All the Attention When Leading Worship

As the tone of the title might suggest, getting attention is not always a good thing. As a musician, there are ways you do NOT want to get others’ attention.

As one who plays with a band or team, especially in leadership contexts, this is even more important. A worship leader should not attract too much attention since his whole purpose is to help people focus on the Lord.

The title is “Ten Ways to Seize All the Attention When Leading Worship,” but I could have titled it “How to be a Distraction.” Of course everything below is entirely sarcastic (and slightly irreverent). The purpose is to implicitly show the disastrous ramifications of a worship leader seizing all the attention.

The list includes some of the primary distractions I have seen as a worship leader. They can be made by anyone on the stage, not just the worship leader.

Without further ado, if you are dying to know how to grab your instrument, get in front of people and seize all the attention (because, if we’re being honest, people deserve to be blessed by you), then here are ten ways you can do it.

1. Play A LOT of runs and licks

For most instruments, you can pick some very strategic places to play your best fills and runs. These fit best every time the singers are not singing, though sometimes you can help them out with cool alternative melodies. If it’s an easy song with easy chords, feel free to fill in all that nasty “dead” space with some creative leads. If you want to really get those heads turning your way, use a combination of an alternate melody and some sick syncopation.

If you are a drummer, people like to hear cool fills, so play them- everywhere. As a vocalist, runs and licks are becoming more commonplace, and expected. If this is you, be sure to keep your microphone up at your mouth in case you need to improv at a quiet spot, or between verses.

The point is, the more set apart you are, the better.

2. Use A LOT of interesting body language

Some really famous guys are really famous because of their ability to move their bodies with the music. This works really well with a great lick – bend your back as you bend your string for one of those really high notes. Or, if you are a bass player, know that attitude is everything. Wear shades if you have to. Be as cool looking as you can possibly be. Drummers should definitely swing their head and even stand up at times right before a big “crash” on the cymbal.  Everyone should try to jump at least once during the performance. Or, consider moments where you can dance excessively.

Some of the most interesting body language, however, is worn on the face. To get the most attention, you should exaggerate just slightly, as actors do on a live stage. If you are really enjoying the song, smile REALLY BIG. You can also seize their attention as you work out a really complicated fill. Be sure to stick your tongue out a little to show them how hard it is. Grimacing works exceptionally well for this, too.

Above all, be real. If you happen to see someone in the audience you really don’t like, show it. If you are not in it at all and are feeling bored, drooped shoulders go well with a small scowl or blank stare.

3. Don’t Practice

If you are into the music, the main thing is to be passionate. People will notice passion. If you miss a few notes here and there, or even if you miss most of them, your passion will cause people to be amazed. Just play from your heart. Everyone knows practicing too much nurtures a grudge against music anyway. It’s a drag. Besides, after a church service, you can give all the credit to God! You will be a blessing. If you utilize the first two, and play a lot of runs with some good body movements, you can just “feel” the music. You might feel your way to a wrong note or two, but remember, passion is what counts. Seize all the attention by seizing their hearts with your passion.

As a sidenote, if you are a vocalist and feel the audience should be blessed by your passion, but aren’t the lead vocalist, there’s a quick solution. Simply make a side deal with the sound engineer, mentioning the need for passion in the congregation, and tell him to turn you up just a bit. The leader won’t mind.

4. Yell

This goes nicely with the two previous tips. If you are feeling passionate, a nice, loud, yell works really well. Close your eyes and laugh briefly right after you yell. Just let it out. Don’t be afraid of what others think. These are utilized primarily during the upbeat songs, but can be mastered at key quiet moments as well. Whether you are yelling words or not, a yell will be very effective in seizing attention. Try to vary the kind of yell you use. People will stop looking if they hear the same thing too many times.

If you are not the “yelling” type, another option is to sing/yell. This is half yell, half note. You may have noticed this is a very popular style these days and you should try to be as “relevant” as you can. If they are comfortable with you, they will love to watch you.

5. Mess with your gear a lot

As a musician, you will often have a lot of buttons and or gadgets to play with during a performance. You should use this one with caution. If the purpose is to draw attention to yourself, you want to make sure to look like you know what you are doing, especially if you are playing by yourself. You need to look both smart and talented.

The best time to mess with your gear is when others in the band have started the song first, and you’re just waiting for your turn to shine. You can seize attention even when you are not playing if you do this right. Be strategic. Lean or reach over to adjust your gear the instant before the song is started. With this first motion, you will silently command attention, and people will wait on the edge of their seat for your turn. Use your body language skills and then start playing a little earlier than agreed upon. If you are to come in after the first verse, keep adjusting your volume or push your pedals, then play some light runs in the middle of the verse before you really come in.

You get the picture.

6. Stare at people and wink

With this advanced move, you can draw the eyes of many by looking at one person. One of the best ways to get people to quit thinking about words they may be singing is to wink at inappropriate times. These must all be done during a song, and the timing is critical. The wink must happen at the most random time possible, where no connection to the meaning of the song can be construed. Otherwise, they will not be blessed by you, but by the meaning of the song. If you wink at inopportune times, where meaning might be extrapolated by the viewer, you have not seized all the attention, but have given some away to the song itself.

7. Spend very little time, if any, tuning your instrument

Hey, if the rest of the band failed to tune to your instrument, that’s not your fault. In general, don’t spend too much valued time tuning. There are more important things to deal with. Believe in yourself, and trust that your ear and your skill will easily accommodate for a mistuned string here and there. Besides, if you show off your lead guitar skills, you will be primarily playing one note or two at a time, and it will be hardly noticeable. And speaking of, you are your worst critic anyway. If people are being blessed by you, they won’t even notice little details like if your instrument is in tune or not.

8. Use bad grammar and speling

If you want people to sing with you, but someone has told you to put words up on a screen, be sure to use bad grammar and spelling. The reason for this is obvious. If you intend to seize all the attention, you can not afford people’s eyes to be off of you for very long. Using bad grammar and spelling has a two-fold effect. It not only causes people to shift their eyes back to you (due primarily to being annoyed by what they see on the screen), it will also cause them to listen only to your music instead of considering the meaning of the words.

This two-fold effect gives this tip much power and should be used as much as possible. People deserve to be blessed by you, after all. For some reason, they don’t realize that the screen is not a person, so you need to help redirect their eyes to your person.

9. Play in a different key

This is really only effective if you are the primary leader. If the rest of the band is following you, one trick to seize 100% of the attention is to suddenly play in a different key. This is particularly easy for guitar players. You can thank the makers of the Capo for that. One ½ step shift is all it takes. If you are playing piano, simply pick the next key that is easiest to play. If you are in a key with a lot of flats, like the key of B, simply transpose the song one half step up to C. Do this on a song with few chords to make sure you don’t make a fool of yourself. That would defeat the purpose.

10. Stop a song in the middle

Like the previous, this one is only effective if you are the primary leader. Of all the previous items, this one is the most effective towards your goal of seizing all the attention when leading worship.

Picture with me: you begin the song with passion and entreat the congregation to sing with you, but you notice serious faces, bowing of heads, and a general somber appearance. A twinge of anger comes over you as you remember all those conversations with leaders about a “dead” congregation. Why can’t they just sing?

Remember at this point that your goal is to seize all the attention. Their lack of singing is only a surface issue. Use it as an opportunity. Take a moment to stop the song and speak to them. Broaden your smile and lightly scold them for their silence. Chastise them for the serious “praying” faces and encourage them to rejoice in the Lord!

(Of course, you and I both know that if they aren’t doing what you’ve asked them to, you might be losing control. This is bad. As a leader, control is what you do. You need to subtly remind them to love and respect you and your music.)

Now, if it’s a newer song, you might even be able to, very slowly, play sections of the song at a time, and have them sing after you. They might think you are teaching them the song, but in these things you have successfully seized all the attention while leading worship.

Way to go!

Seize Attention

Less is More

Less is More

This principle is very important in music. Truth be told, this is a principle important in life, since it is easy to over-work, over-plan, over-stress, and over-think.

Have you ever wondered why the lives of many elderly get simpler, and less cluttered? Could it be that it has less to do with their out-of-touch-ness and more to do with wisdom?

I believe that many, in their years, have learned this principle in their life.

The principle “less is more” reveals how important it is to do a few things well. It means living among other human beings without hogging all the attention. It means listening well to others and contributing to society in a significant way rather than just a noisy, clanging kind of way (I think 1 Corinthians 13:1 might have something to say about that). It means being patient to add your two cents at the right time. After all, if you live by this principle, you are humble enough to recognize that you only have two cents.

In music, it’s the same.

(This, incidentally, is one reason I love teaching music. There are inherent life-lessons involved.)

So what does this “less is more” principle look like in music? Well, I’ll break down the above paragraph:

  1. Do a few things well
  2. Live as others are more important than you (don’t hog all the attention)
  3. Listen well
  4. Contribute in a significant way (don’t just be noisy)
  5. Remember you are only one part of a whole

While you can apply these things to life, I’ll note how I believe they apply to music specifically.

1. Do a few things well

As a student, it is so easy to move on before it is time. It is better to learn a few things well than learn a whole bunch of things without getting any of them down. The reason is because it’s hard to remember that it takes many more repetitions of a skill than you think. Students feel that after they’ve done the skill correctly once or twice, they have mastered it. To put it another way, they believe it is “easy” before it is truly done with ease.

Practice a few things. It will lead to even greater artistry in the future. Less now will mean more later.

2. Live as if others are more important than you (don’t hog all the attention)

This one is especially huge for those playing with others. I believe the goal in learning music is for the benefit of others, so even if you are a soloist, it should not be about you. People watch you and can read pretty quickly if you couldn’t care less if they were there, or if the only reason you want them there is to applaud how awesome you are.

As a band, considering others as more important than yourself is an important concept. Think of it – what would it sound like if everyone played a solo at the same time?

Answer: mass chaos.

Likewise, what would happen if a car had two steering wheels?

Answer: mass chaos (and death).

What happens when there are too many “cooks in the kitchen?”

Answer: mass chaos.

If you are playing with others, it is crucial that you don’t try to hog all the attention. Playing more and louder will only lead to mass chaos. Instead, how can you support those around you in what you play? What is your role? The more players, the less you should be compelled to play. I often think of a classic band like the Eagles with this. They were extremely good at this principle, and their music reflected it.

3. Listen well

Don’t try to be heard. Try and listen. This one is related to the above. If you are considering the other players as more important than yourself, you will be listening to what they are doing. Besides what they are playing, you will notice how they are playing, and will be able to adjust if they change. The beauty is that communication begins only when all are listening well to one another, and the team can then adjust simultaneously. Some bands are so good at this that very little body language or facial expression is needed to communicate effectively.

Play less for the sake of better communication, and a better sound as a band.

4. Contribute in a significant way (don’t just be noisy)

No one wants to listen to flat-out noise, and every band should remember that they are on a continuum between chaotic, cacophonous noise and beautiful ordered music.

One potential problem with #3 above is that a tentative, nervous player will play so little that he barely contributes at all. Now, this might not be all bad, for obvious reasons, but he should push himself to contribute meaningfully even if he is not a great player.

On other hand, some players don’t realize they need a lot of work on their technical skills and will play loud and proud without consideration of the whole sound (he’s already blown the first three above).

This item is included so that neither claiming “minimalist” as a musical philosophy nor claiming irresistible “Animal” tendencies are an option. If the goal is to contribute in a significant way, you will find balance in between. This item is also placed where it is because doing this well is somewhat dependent on the first three.

Less means more significant, not necessarily fewer notes.

5. Remember you are only one part of a whole

I hope this one is fairly self-explanatory. As a musician, you cannot and will not make the same kind of sound by yourself as with a group.

I think of the kind of sound all the saints will make in heaven as they worship the Savior (an enormous thought).

As you play with others, remember that part of the reason you play “less” is because you are not the whole.

You are not a band any more than a soldier is an army.

Summary

The “less is more” principle means practicing and mastering a few things at a time, listening well and considering others as more important than you, and then contributing meaningfully to the overall sound as you play with the team.

How have you seen this principle in action?

 

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Guitar Tip: Painting the Strum (Part 1)

Guitar Tip: Painting the Strum (Part 1)

Strumming. It sounds easy. But is it?

Well, actually, yes!

…and no.

There are several factors that can lead to good strumming, so this series will be all about the anatomy of a good strum.

That said, I should point out that my intention is not to make this more complicated than it should be. I just want to break it down a bit to help you observe well. All the pieces in this series should work together fluidly, but if, when you play, you notice your strum just doesn’t sound quite right, my hope is that you might observe that you could work on one or more of these parts for the benefit of the whole strum (since the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts, after all).

In addition, as I consider this subject, I realize chances are good you do not think of strumming first when you think of guitar playing. With electric guitars dominating the musical landscape, most people think of the left hand – the one that seems to play all those amazing leads by itself. It seems to move the most after all, and t.v. cameras tend to focus attention on how it travels the neck, slides, bends, hammers, and wavers around like a well-controlled dancer.

What this means is that you may not see its importance immediately. Though it might be pretty obvious to say that both hands must work together for guitar playing, how should your right hand function for the benefit of the whole?

That’s what I hope to address in these posts. It will not be exhaustive – only the “first things.” That’s what I tell my kids – “First things first.” This is the prolegomena of strumming.

Here’s a summary of the parts – the “anatomy,” as I see it:

  1. Right Elbow Position (and related: Posture)
  2. Smooth Arm Swinging
  3. Pick holding
  4. Technique: ways to paint

The last two will really bring out what I mean by “Painting the Strum.” I tell my students all the time to “paint the strings,” because this has been a helpful analogy for the motions involved.

As a acoustical guitarist, you are like an artist with a paint brush in hand. With the color of the left hand work, the artist paints on the canvas of the strings. While the left hand chooses the color, the right hand adds depth of field, soft or rough edges, and “thickness,” so to speak. It creates motion and range, adding tone and volume to the overall picture.

Yes, its crucial a painter should know how to choose his or her color well. However, many don’t realize until they have the paint on their brush that it matters how you apply it as well.

That’s what this series will be about. It’s about the factors that lead to applying your color well.

Beyond introducing the series, this post is to say: pay attention to what your right hand is doing.

Here are seven questions to help you observe:

  1. Do you tend to be stiff, or relaxed?
  2. Do you tend to paint the whole canvas, or just part (i.e. do you strum all the strings?)
  3. Do you tend to twist your wrist or swing your arm?
  4. Does your volume tend to be loud or soft?
  5. Where, in relation to the sound hole, do you tend to paint?
  6. Do you tend to have a “jerky” swing, smooth, or a little of both?
  7. How are you holding your pick?

In all of these, I am not setting up a test. I’m just saying, “Pay attention to what your right hand is doing.”

I’ll summarize with the following tip: Watch yourself paint.

Next time, I’ll cover the first part: Right Elbow Position.

  

Life Songs: The Old and the New

Life Songs: The Old and the New

There are many kinds of songs and genres, and it hit me that the kinds of songs we learn can mimic the kind of life we live. Not always, of course, but consider these kinds of songs from the Bible (not exhaustive):

The Good Kind
  1. Songs of excitement and joy (Gen 31:27, 1 Chr 13:8, Ps 47:1, Ps 68:4, Ps 107:22)
  2. Songs of triumph/victory (Ex 15:1-2, Judges 5:12, 1 Sam 18:6, 2 Sam 6:5)
  3. Songs to teach/remember (Deut 31, Eph 5:19)
  4. Songs to express deliverance (2 Sam 22:1, Ps 118:14-15, Is 26:1)
  5. Songs to express thanks (Neh 12:46, Ps 28:7, Jer 30:19, Eph 5:19, Col 3:16)
  6. Songs as a prayer (Ps 42:8)
  7. Marriage Songs (Ps 78:63)
  8. Love songs (Is 5:1, Song of Solomon)
The Not-So-Good Kind
  1. Songs to ridicule (Job 30:9, Ps 137:3)
  2. “Oh, Bless your heart, honey, don’t Worry!” songs (Prov 25:20)
  3. Song of fools (Eccl 7:5)
  4. Fearful songs (Eccl 12:4-5)
  5. The silent song: a “used-to-be-a-song” void (Is 16:10, Ezek 26:13)
  6. Song of the prostitute (Is 23:15)
  7. Song of the ruthless (Is 25:5)
  8. Lustful songs (Ezek 33:32)
  9. That’s “noise,” not “song” (Amos 5:23)
  10. Idle songs (Amos 6:5)
  11. Taunt songs (Micah 2:4)
  12. Drunken songs (Ps 69:12)

[Yikes. Didn’t know all those were there, too]

The “New Song”

There is another category in Scripture – the “new song.” I’ve often wondered what this is, but when you consider the not-so-good kind of songs above, it begins to make a little more sense.

Here are a several represented in Scripture:

They all speak of singing a “new song” to the Lord. Psalm 144 is one of David’s songs. This one is popular because he asks a great question:

“What is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?”

That is a great question. He knows his true condition: “like a breath” (v. 4), and calls on God to come in all His glory (vv. 5-6) that he might be rescued from many waters, and from foreigners (v. 7). He doesn’t describe “many waters,” but he does define foreigners in verse 8:

“…whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.”

These people sung the not-so-good kind of songs.

To contrast, David immediately adds, [on the other hand] will sing a new song to you, O God.

That is, I will not sing those not-so-good kind of songs like the foreigners do. They are foreign to Your goodness. They are foreign to Your love. They are foreign to Your people.

They live the kind of song they sing.

The Old and the New

To sing a new song is to live a different life. To sing a new song is to have a new hope. To sing a new song is to offer words of wisdom and grace.

A new song “befits the upright” (Ps 33:1), “for the word of the Lord is upright” (Ps 33:4).

In other words, it implies a new authority.

Romans 6, Ephesians 4, and Colossians 3 all talk about the “Old Self” versus the “New Self.” We have been given one in place of the other.

Old song out.

New song in…so live according to the new song.

Paul could have said “new song” in Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

You will die for singing the old song, but in Christ Jesus, we have been given a new, eternal, song.

It is this kind of song we now sing: eternal life.

Right. The good kind.

What does this have to do with real music, and lessons and stuff?

I’m glad you asked. If you have been given a new song, remember that it takes time to really learn to sing it loud and proud. It takes time to play it well, right?

I mean, name one skill in your life that you mastered immediately. If your new life is like a new song to sing or play, we should be okay with taking time to master it as well, right?

The song is in our heart, yes, but God is still working out what He has put in (Phil 1:12-13). Speaking of Philippians 1, read the context (vv. 12-18). The point is that, like Psalm 33, we shine as we hold fast to the Word. We have to be reminded to not sing the old song: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing,” he says (v. 14).

So playing a real, audible song on an instrument takes time. One cannot master it immediately. Students have to be reminded of what the song doesn’t sound like.

Over time, I want to offer this kind of lesson to my students.

Casting Crowns has a song called “Lifesong” that I really like. I think they’re saying the same thing. Here’s a little part of it:

So may the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to you

Music lessons are not just another subject to cover in school, or a good thing to do because someone said you should. They are life lessons. They help answer the question, “How should I live my life?”

A Christian music teacher has the amazing opportunity to listen well and say, “Let me help you love the Great Musician and play His song well. Let’s take your instrument now and learn to adorn the air with the life of a beautifully played song – one that conforms to the beautiful boundaries set by our wonderful Creator.”

Cacophony existed before the world was formed. Unity and harmony after.

Let’s learn to play music that conforms to the latter – music that blesses.

Sin has caused cacophonous chaos. God has granted glorious grace to continue to move from the old to the new.

Let’s play with style and grace, and not settle with chaos.

  

Music Lessons and Leadership

Music Lessons and Leadership

Part of the reason I like to do a guitar class (as opposed to individual lessons) is because it helps train students to play with a group. It trains them to really listen to one another as they play together.

When people play together, they lead.

Even bands who perform are leading – they persuade with their music. Very often, performers call on the audience to interact and participate. They are leading.

As Christians, leadership is particularly important. What do performing Christians persuade their hearers to do? What do they call their audience to think on and participate in? What is most important? Is their music quality directly proportional to how well their music persuades?

I want to help give you the motivation and the resources and skills to play well and to lead well.  Playing well means nothing without being able to use your skills for others.  In addition, you cannot lead music well without being able to play well.  In music, especially as Christians, playing and leading are intertwined, for we must lead others toward our great God without distracting them from where their true focus must be (that’s another post for another day).

David was an excellent model of playing and leading together.  He was described in 1 Samuel 16:18 as one who is “skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.” Expounding this verse, I want to inspire and equip people towards the following six things:

  1. For their musicianship to be noticeable and loved
  2. To have great boldness and bravery in life
  3. To be able to think strategically, practically and logically in a music leadership setting
  4. To be articulate and wise in their speech as they lead others
  5. To be confident, at peace and alert
  6. To be humble and aware of the Lord’s presence and authority

What kind of musician you are matters.

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Getting over the Blank Canvas

Getting over the Blank Canvas

Sometimes playing music can start with as much of a blank canvas as painting. Even if there is a sheet of paper with notes or chords on it in front of you, players or groups still get this familiar sense: “Where do I start?”

For instance, a guitar player, bassist, drummer and a singer get together to play. If there is no set songs to play, it’s worse, but even if there are songs that have been chosen, they still must decide how to start.

Or, when a beginning guitar player picks up his or her guitar to play, they play around on chords, but how do you put them together? How should they strum?

A large part of this blog is to help get over this hurdle. I hope to offer tips that help get over this “blank canvas” feeling.

I enjoy the visual arts as well and have felt this many times. It comes with the territory…and you don’t realize how tall that mountain is until you get right up next to it. In other words, until you pick up your pencil, brush, guitar pick, drum sticks or get together as a band and begin to play, you don’t realize that the squatty thing in the distance was Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Every artist must learn to overcome this feeling. And you can too.

So here’s the first tip: Imitate

One of the best principles I’ve found for learning anything is to try to copy what someone else has done.

This is called “mimesis” in classical education circles. It’s why God wanted Moses to write the song in Deuteronomy 31-32. It’s why Jesus asked those men to follow Him. It’s why Paul and the other apostles told the churches to imitate God and Christ in love (cf. Eph 5:1-2). It’s why the apostles not only told the churches to imitate them (2 Thess 3:7-9), but to also consider the outcome of the way of life of their leaders and imitate them (Heb 13:7).

Back to music. This is fairly easy to do these days with guitar. Find a song. Find the chords. Play along.

(Simply type in the name of the song in google with “lyrics and chords” next to it and you should find something.)

I have led worship music for much of my life and these types of songs are wonderful to use.

Number two: Consistent and Simple is Best

Secondly, remember that it is more important to be consistent with something simple than to try to do too much. If you’re by yourself, it’s better to work yourself up to the more complex thing. If you’re with a band, the same applies – it’s better to work up to the more complex thing than try something too complicated…even if one person can do it so easily.

It’s a trap.

Just work on being consistent with something simple – on your skill level – first.

For instance, as a band, try this. Strip the chords to their bare bones by only playing the chords shown at major places (like the down beats – or maybe even just the 1 count).

As a beginner guitarist, try this: play a D chord until you have mastered it, and don’t move on until you can close your eyes and put your hand in the right place. Or if you’ve mastered the D chord, try using the D to practice switching to a chord you don’t know as well, and go back and forth. Master that.

Work on being consistent with something simple.

I know there are many things going on that can cause a musician to freeze up, quit in frustration, or simply get bored. Remember you are training yourself (even as a band), to hear well and play well. It’s ear training as well as muscle memory training.

Stay the course!

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On Music and Leadership

Music is used for a huge variety of reasons.  Most of the time it is used to “move” people to feel a certain way.  Many have used it negatively – to manipulate; but many have used it positively – to motivate and stir up hope and faith.

Music is very powerful, even as a memory tool.  In Deuteronomy 31 and 32, Moses is commanded by God to write a song that Joshua was to use to help lead the people in righteousness.  They were to remember who God is and what He had done for them by singing this song over and over.  They were to remember the warnings issued to the wicked, lest they follow in their ways.  I believe music is most powerful when it is played skillfully in conjunction with truth – the kind of truth that God has revealed in His Word.

Therefore, we should not be trying to “move” people to feel a certain way, but to think in a certain way – to live by faith, despite what they see.  The music becomes the background or setting for this truth.  Like a great painting, it draws your attention in a particular way to a particular spot.  The intent here is to lead people to draw their attention to a planned “focal point” – the message (often in the lyrics). Ultimately, our Maker is the primary focus.

It should be noted that though not all want to lead, all do lead in one way or another.  My courses are intended to shape natural leadership skills I believe everyone has (cf Gen 1:26-28).  To balance this, I believe that though God created us to “have dominion” and “rule and subdue” the earth, He has also created us to serve with humility.  In fact, this is primary, for it has everything to do with how we worship.  We serve by leading.  This helps protect us from our efforts to draw attention to ourselves.

To be clear, I am not training you to be a rock star in these courses.  I will be training and equipping you to serve.

That said, from the very beginning I will be calling your instrument a “tool”.  Knowing the Lord uses us as His own tools, we must now see that what man has made is also a tool.  If you are learning guitar, it is only a tool.  If you are learning drums, it is only a tool.  We use hammers and wrenches to build houses and fences, right?  We must also see our musical instruments as supplementary tools for building God’s people.