All I Want For Christmas Is A...CD Duplicator

I don't read music well enough for it to be practical. I rely on my ears.

What I find fascinating about written music is that it allows people who are not able to create these parts actually be able to re-createthem.

It's beautiful and almost magical because something someone with one gift (creativity) can be re-expressed by someone with another gift (technical skill). It's fascinating!

A worship team replicating a recording is like a pianist playing from sheet music.

I wonder if there’s something for us to learn in emulating recordings. Same principles - one has the ability to create something beautiful and transcendent. Our teams take that creative arrangement and "sound" and replicate it. We "level up" playing things above our own creative ability. It increases our musicianship.

And honestly, there may have been a couple of times that I've heard a team do "their own version" of a song, and thought "wow, that was great!" Sadly, it's usually...the opposite. It feels undisciplined and unartistic. Heartfelt, yes, but either distracting to a small percentage of the congregation who are artists, and often difficult to sing.

Here are my "rules" for replicating well.

Play Nice

Play well with others. As in be easy to play with. This is musical AND relational. It’s like you’re driving through an intersection when you have the right of way, and you see the car coming who is supposed to stop, but isn’t stopping. If you keep going, you’re right. And you’re wrong. Unless you like getting in accidents. Keep relationships above the product.

Be Realistic

It is very likely that your team is currently unable to reproduce many of the songs that you’d like to. It’d be better to wait, to play the YouTube video, or to try an acoustic version than to crash through a really rough version of the song. If you really want it to make an impact, be sure your team is actually ready.

Supplement if Needed

If you don’t have an instrument that feels "essential" to a recording, use a track from or Now there are fedora-hat-toting, beard-wearing purists who insist that there are teams who make music and ones who use tracks (and you know who you are), but I just think it’s fun. Besides, playing along to other production also helps teams to go beyond what they know and would do naturally. Think of it as inviting guest musicians that are professionals onto your team that week!

Learn Well

It may be easier to just play "your version" of whatever is on the recording, but that misses the point of the learning. Force yourself to identify what’s actually being played. Try to listen for an match chord voicings. That means playing them in the same inversion(you can play a C chord built like C-E-G, E-G-C, or G-C-E), color (a Cmaj7 is different than a C), and placement (first position on the guitar is the most common, but you can play every chord in several different shapes up the neck). This is a great way to increase your chord knowledge!

Use Resources

YouTube is my friend. For example, you can find tutorials for every instrument for the song Do It Again here:

Don’t get too serious with this and definitely don’t take yourself too seriously. But keep growing in your craft. Keep stretching yourself. You want to feel uncomfortable regularly enough to know that you’re still being a good steward of the gifts God has given you.


Ps. Yes I know that CD’s are dead. I just thought it was a funny subject line.

Pps. If you missed the webinar, you can get the replay here. Nicole beautifully said this:

"Jon & Dave are both really generous in resourcing the body of Christ with what they've learned leading worship teams. How To Lead Your Team to Better Practice Habits is more overflow of that generosity. In this webinar, Jon shares practical principles that he created simply out of necessity, but have proven to bear fruit over the years. Dave shares his pastoral heart in bringing out the best in each team member, with stories and resources that will equip you to do the same. Both of these guys have been influential in shaping the foundation of our new church plant worship team, and I look forward to utilizing more of what they offer as we grow."