Category Archives: integrity

Practice Makes Perfect?

20120922-151652.jpg

It occurred to me the other day that it is very common for some vocal students to skip the necessary daily practice routine prescribed. Frankly, this is a difficult thing for me to accept since my days are filled with vocalizing to practice. After all,… If a student wants to make any serious progress they will need to get serious about their craft.

Communicating the need to practice is certainly not lacking as the dutiful teacher regularly reminds said students, by email and during lesson times, how and how much to practice. Still the reminders go unheeded, for the most part, and the result has been evidenced by a lack of noticeable progress in the student.

All that said, I ask myself, “Why?”

Why don’t most voice students practice?

Perhaps there is something in the communication on the teacher’s part that has not given the student enough reason to make the commitment. On the other hand man is lazy by nature, and prefers to indulge the flesh, and practicing is not always the most enjoyable thing to do .. unless of course the student is making significant progress and is experiencing some victories over bad vocal habits. That’s when practice becomes less work and more, as the singer experiences breakthroughs toward pure vocal freedom and the mastery of their instrument, fun.

The voice is not completely subject to the law that practice makes perfect. The interesting thing is the vocal student will find that, given the necessary talents, the student of the guitar may count with certainty on acquiring the mastery of this instrument. But for the vocal student this is not necessarily true.

Now, let me just say that there are many cases in which practice in singing does not bring about technical perfection. Just singing through technical exercises is not enough; it is crucial that the exercises be sung with specific correct vocal technique and through a series of specific voice productions that build upon one another with the intent to strengthen and clarify the voice.

So, if the student was to make the effort and practice, there is a specific way to handle the voice in the process. If the voice is exercised in this way, it will improve steadily as the result of practice. Progress will continue until perfect technical control of the voice is acquired. But if the student fails to hit upon this particular way of handling the voice in practice the voice will improve little, or not at all. In such a case perfect vocal technique will never be acquired, no matter how many years the practice may continue. Hence the need for an instructor. But the one without the other will, inevitably, lead to no progress at all.

Finally, let me come full circle and say this, . . . A singer sings, when practicing like the guitarist who picks up the instrument to play, through a series of exercises emphasizing good technique with the goal of accomplishing freedom and perfect mastery of his instrument.

So let me ask you this,…

Have you practiced today?

Leave a comment

Filed under integrity, musician, Singing, Speech Level Singing, Vocal Lessons, Vocal Tips

The God who sees and hears…

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.    Psalm 34:15

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotion, integrity

Giving Thanks

 

thlpr


Luke 17:14-16

So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. 

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,  and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. 

 

Ten lepers went to the priests.  Ten lepers were healed on the way.  Only one leper returned to give thanks.  

Here is a contrast of two types of people.  Those who recognize they are in desperate need of God’s grace and mercy and those who take the gifts of God for granted.  

We have received something wonderful and undeserved from the Lord, a precious gift, the sweetness of justification that has cleansed us, making us presentable before the God of the universe.  We can be like the nine who went on their way, about their business.  Or, we can choose to be like the one who recognized the work of Christ and returned to Him, glorifying God with praise and thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving, we have the privilege of taking the time to stop and turn our faces to God, glorifying Him and giving praise and thanksgiving for all His wonderful work in our lives….  for the precious and wonderful gift of His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

SDG

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotion, integrity, Lead Worship, Worship Leaders Speak

Worship Leaders Speak: Brushing-up on Devotion

There are several pictures I get in my mind when I think of someone who has a devotional life.  Someone who rises early (before the sun and the kids) to pray and read from a little book that has each day prepared with a scripture reading and a commentary on the reading. (A devotional)

Someone who reads through his or her Bible every year.  Someone with stacks of Devotionals on their nightstand.  Someone who always has an open bible on his or her coffee or dining table.

The question I ask myself is, “do these descriptions define what it means to have a devotional life?”  And,  “Can we have a wrong perception of what it means to have a devotional life?”

Devotion defined: de·vo·tion   noun

  1.  deep love and commitment
  2.  great dedication and loyalty
  3.  strong enthusiasm and admiration for somebody or something
  4.  fervent religious or spiritual feeling (formal)
  5.  the act of devoting something or being devoted to a particular purpose
  6.  prayers or other religious observances, especially somebody’s private prayers or observances

 

I would like to answer a few questions in the next few paragraphs.  Questions like: What does it mean to have a devotional life?  Do all Christians have a devotional life?  Who in Scripture exemplified someone with a devotional life?  How can you/I have a successful devotional life?

1.)  What does it mean to have a devotional life?  

 Matthew 22:36-40 Jesus recounts the greatest commandment:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, 

  • All your emotions given to God
  • All your affections given to God

with all your soul, 

  • All your being
  • All your life; breath; physical being.

and with all your mind

  • All your way of thinking
  • All your understanding
  • All your intellect
  • All your imagination

2.) Do all Christians have a devotional life?

2Co 11:3*  But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

It is possible to believe that doing acts of devotion are in and of themselves the devotional life.  Many have gotten caught up in thinking that reading their bibles or devotionals and praying at a certain time in the day makes devoted Christians.  On the contrary, it is because we are devoted to Christ that we read our Bibles and pray.

3.) Who in Scripture exemplified someone with a devotional life?

2Ki 20:3*  “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth   (mind)  and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight (soul or being).” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

1Ch 29:3  King David   “Moreover, because I have set my affection  (heart)  on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, my own special treasure of gold and silver: (being)

If we examine the lives of persons in scripture we will find either those who followed the Greatest Commandment or didn’t follow it.

Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and the patriarchs, Joshua, Rahab, Ruth, Joseph and his brothers, Jonah and The prophets, Job, Samson, The disciples, Judas Iscariot, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary and Martha and Lazarus, Paul and the Apostles, Titus and Timothy, James the brother of Jesus, And the list goes on and on……

In each case these were either successful in their walk with God or not.  Those that were devoted experienced a close walk with God and the peace that comes with it.  Those that struggled in their devotion were markedly either failures or just squeezed by.

4.) How can you / I have a successful devotional life?

1Ch 28:9  “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.

1Ti 4:13* Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.  Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.  Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Here’s a few things that will help strengthen devotion to God.

  • Devote yourself to Know God
  • Know God’s character and attributes
  • Know God’s voice
  • By prayer and reading 
  • Devote yourself to Serve God
  • Give yourself to God
  • Keep God’s Words
  • Devote yourself to Seek God
  • Study God’s Words

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotion, integrity, prayer, Worship Leaders, Worship Leaders Speak

Seeking to be remarkable or Seeking The Remarkable.

cosima ybarra.jpg

A while back a discussion on Billy’s blog introduced the words of Seth Godin into the worship leader scenario. The topic was on being remarkable.

I’ve considered the conversation on more than one occasion and decided to post my comment on the subject (edited for this post) for all my friends out there who have ever pondered similar thoughts. To read what started it all visit Billychia.com

Remarkable… That’s a worthy aspiration, isn’t it? Godin’s got great advice for the business world, but should we worship leaders take his secular views and apply them to how we should lead a ministry? Here’s my two cents, for what it’s worth …

Obviously, leading a worship ministry is different from leading a business. Worship is not a human experience in and of itself. It’s spiritual, an exchange between man and creator. That’s what makes it so remarkable!

Our part is to do our best as worship leaders to prepare acceptable offerings(Gen.4:3-7 and Lev. 10:1), without blemish(Eph.5:27), and to choose the better thing(Luke 10:41-42). The remarkable enters in when God meets his people in the process and they “see Him” and are touched, changed, moved by His very presence to respond and to fulfill their calling to worship Him and offer themselves a living sacrifice(Is.6:1-9; Romans 12:1).

So, should we seek to be remarkable?.. yes and no.
No: Because, if we if look to do things in a way that they are worth remarking on by seeking to be remarkable, then we are in danger of just being entertainers.

Yes: Because, if we look to do things in a way that they are worth remarking on by seeking to please God in our offerings of worship then, “remarkable” is inevitable because God shows up. So in reality, our goal is not “the remarkable,” our goal is meeting with God.

After all is said and done I would rather that people are compelled to talk about how God met with them during the course of a service than hear them talk about how exceptional the worship teams “execution” was that morning. He must increase while I must decrease(John 3:30).

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotion, integrity, Lead Worship, Worship Leaders Speak

Things I learned from a Honda Civic commercial Part 2: Team Work


Be sure to watch the rest of the videos of the making of the Honda Civic Choir TV and see why I learned so much.  After arriving at the Honda Commercial site click the “watch” option and  you’re on your way.

Today I want to look at Teamwork. Teamwork can be defined as the cooperative effort of a team of people for a common end. It implies that each person on the team is doing their part to fulfill the purpose or task given them to do. (Eph. 4:6)

As I watched the videos I considered that there were many parts to the choir. Guy parts, girl parts, and parts within the parts.. (parts are parts) Then, there are the parts of directors, writers, orchestra musicians and parts within the orchestra and so on. Everyone doing their part well made the outcome something that sold others on the idea that driving a Honda Civic would be an exhilarating experience. Didn’t you want to go for a ride?

To lead others into worship takes teamwork. Another definition of teamwork is; joint action by a group of people, in which individual interests are subordinated to group unity and efficiency; coordinated effort.

I cant tell you how many times I hear of musicians and vocalists who have temper tantrums because they don’t get what they want when it comes to being on a team. They don’t want to work together. Their interests have nothing to do with leading people into the presence of God. Their interest lies in serving their own egos. (Phil. 2:4)

I had someone say to me once, “When do I get to sing the songs I want to sing?” Another time a bass player moaned about not getting to “play it his way” and guitarists complaining about “not getting used.” Sound familiar?

Finally, every team needs a leader. Without someone pointing the way how will the team know where to go? (1 Chronicles 16:4-6)

Lesson learned today: Know what part you play on the team and be excellent at it. Lay down your individual interests and seek unity.

 

View other posts of the “Things I learned from a Honda Civic Commercial.

1 Comment

Filed under Honda commercial, integrity, Music Education, Videos, Vocal Tips, Worship Education, Worship Leaders Speak, Worship team

If You Tune It They Will Stay!

Quite a few years ago, more then 10, I attended a Calvary Chapel Regional Worship Conference in Vista, California.  Maybe I saw you there.  🙂  I don’t have much recollection of that conference.  I usually leave a conference encouraged and refocused but only remember one or two specifics. There was one thing I remember from that year, the T-shirts.  Doesn’t sound very spiritual, I know but, I was thinking about them again today while rearranging my desk and clearing it of all the Christmas stuff I had collected for our concert.

I don’t know why it crossed my mind as it wandered here and there.  But that T-shirt, graphic and all, was clear as day.  The front of it read, “If you preach it they will come.”  The back…, “If you tune it they will stay.”

Ok, I know that this is far from the truth and, quite frankly, at the time it offended me for the Word’s sake.  It may offend you as well and I don’t want you to think that I agree with the semantics of it.  But, I do agree that a worship team that plays and sings in tune can help keep someone in the pews better than the team that doesn’t. Ministry excellence can make all the difference. Hence, this post.

This is one area I emphasize more than any other with our worship servants.  If we are out of tune (off pitch) in any way it gets corrected quickly ~ immediately, if it occurs during a practice session.  Your worship team may have problems with being in tune.  A voice or a guitar or wind instrument… don’t let it slip.  They will learn to hear the difference and will improve their ear and just be better at what they do and how they sound.  If you want a great sounding worship team, this is a good place to start. Mind you, being in tune won’t make great vocalists or instrumentalist but it will make better ones for sure and that’s a beginning, a good foundation.

 

I’ve included a video here to encourage you further…….  May God bless your service to Him.  

 

 

For instruction in guitar visit Guitartips.com

For instruction in voice visit SingingSuccess.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Guitar Tips, integrity, Videos, Vocal Tips, Worship Leaders Speak, Worship team