A question about "praise teams"

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by Speedpass, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. Speedpass

    Speedpass
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    From personal observance, especially that at my local congregation, why is it that the vocalists seem to be all female? The only thing the guys do is play instruments. Is that a trend?
     
  2. FriendofSpurgeon

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    In our contemporary service (if you can call it that*), we use a praise team in addition to our choir. The praise team (the members vary by week) is comprised of two males, two females. Plus, we have the worship leader who leads the music & the musicians.

    In our traditional liturgical service, we only have the choir (in robes, no less).

    * Contemporary service in a Presbyterian church, not nearly as "contemporary" as other types of churches.
     
  3. Jerome

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    Maybe they think its more ladylike to clasp a mic and make creative facial and hand gestures than to straddle a drum or lug around a bass?
     
  4. FriendofSpurgeon

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    We have both women and men playing instruments too. Is that unusual??
     
  5. annsni

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    We currently have 3 worship teams.

    My husband's has 3 vocalists - DH, another guy and the other guy's wife.

    The second team has a bunch of vocalists but the lead is a woman. The others are about equal on men and women.

    The third team has a male lead and then 2 male singers and 3-4 females.

    I think women are more likely to WANT to sing in front of others. Men tend to shy away from that maybe?? I don't know.

    So for us, 2 of the 3 are led by men. Men and women play instruments although mostly men play guitars, bass and drums. Actually, all men do. Keyboards and flute are the two instruments played by women. Oh - and during the non-summer season, we have a woman French horn player (she's the director of a Christian girl's camp so she's away during the summer).
     
  6. SpiritualMadMan

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    Guys in Abdication Zone?

    The sad fact is, is that there are far fewer men in most churches...

    Also, a lot of the "Contemporary" Music is sung or "keyed" too high for many non-professional male singers to sing comfortably or for long periods.

    This is also a reason you don't see many men actually singing their hearts out in CCM "Contemporary" Worship Services...

    Anyway, those are my thoughts...

    Mike Sr.
    Former Worship Leader
     
  7. SaggyWoman

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    No, not necessarily.
     
  8. rbell

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    However, the ranges for most hymns go higher than most modern choruses (with a few exceptions).

    Most choruses of today written for congregational singing top out at a D. There are quite a few exceptions, I'll admit...but I think it depends on the writer (some songwriters just write them high). For example, Tomlin's stuff can get up there a bit, but Hillsong music is fairly centric.

    Many, many hymns top out at E flat, E, or even F.

    I don't see a great difference.

    One I do freely admit is the absence of 4-part singing--men don't sing bass much anymore, as it is not learned, even in hymns being sung...and choruses don't usually have a readily heard "bass line."
     
  9. ktn4eg

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    At the risk of turning this into a CCM vs Hymns debate (Isn't that horse dead by now??), let me just add an observation.

    Most "typical" (if there is such a thing :laugh: ) church choirs tend to have a greater percentage of females in them as well.

    As Spiitual MM and rbell have already alluded to, it's entirely possible that the dearth of male voices in either a CCM Praise Team or the typical church choir has more to do w/ either there being a smaller pool from which one can fish and/or a lack of any training in 4-part harmonizing.

    As for the latter, maybe if there were more emphasis in having some training in the art of male vocal harmonizing (3- or 4-part) by local churches and/or associations, etc., you'd have a better sounding choir/CCM Praise Team.

    While I don't care much for some of their doctrines, if you want to listen to some really good male vocal harmonizing, try listening to some Church of Christ vocal groups!!

    Since most of them have neither piano nor organ, etc., to "mask" their vocal abilities (or lack thereof), they focus on what God gave them--their voices!

    Would to God that we Baptists would get back to the "fundamentals" of vocal music!! :thumbs:
     
  10. rbell

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    Agreed. Working with student praise teams/choirs can be frustrating, in that they've never really heard harmonies as their grandparents did.
     
  11. SpiritualMadMan

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    OK Take Two...

    The difference is this, no matter where the song is actually scored, is it sung in a way that the majority of the congregation can comfortably take part and sing their hearts out?

    Look, I've been platform support for several Music Majors and I have heard them sing solos that highlighted their ranges and, I must say the "wow" factor was tremendous.

    But, I never heard them lead congregational singing in those keys or in those ranges.

    IMHO, that church has a bad habit of taking professional studio music and trying to take it straight into a congregation without considering the ranges and competences of their individual congregations...

    (I spent most of my life being told I was too young and inexperienced. Spent a few years doing something, now I am being told I am too old and not with it. YOUNG VOICES have wider and higher ranges than Older Voices. Just because the youth can sing it "there" doesn;t mean it's good for the majority...)

    I used to be able to sing, "I Asked The Lord", as written flawlessly. Nasal Drip has kinda crucified that range these days. But, I still have a respectable Tenor.

    And, I have trouble singing in todays churches.

    Maybe it's not the key the music is scored in. Maybe it's the way it's being sung. Maybe, it's being led 8VA because that's comfortable for the song leader and makes them sound their best?

    I know that I was guilty of that myself. There were songs I simply wouldn't lead because not only would I not sound good, I couldn't possibly lead it in a key the congregation could sing it in.

    Sometimes it's better to have someone else lead such songs and you sing backup. :)

    Sometimes, the timbre of the leaders voice is a great solo voice. But, not so easy for non-professionals to harmonize with...

    As an example, take John Schlitt of Petra. Ever try to sing where he sang lead at? :) Even if you could, how many of the congregation could?

    Think about it... Most CCM Praise and Worship is "Christian Rock" in origin... And, where do you think a Rock Voice Timbre leads people to try to pitch sync to? A place they can never get to.

    What's the cure?

    I have wondered if having an open Praise & Worship Practice where "Interested Parties" can sit in the pews and join in might be interesting...

    You could vary the key up and down a bit and see where most can sing it in.

    What I've personally found is when I have heard a song pitched a bit higher an lower and tried singing it in several places. I often return to the original key. It's some strange way I learn, I guess.

    The bottom line is this...

    Is the Song Service a mere preliminary or is it Worship?

    If it is Worship who is the Platform ministering to? Itself? The TV Audience? Or, the Congregation?

    For me it was always ministry. The song selection as important as the pastor scripture selection. The order of songs as critical as the sermon presentation.

    Mike Sr.
     
  12. billreber

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    At my church we have a male worship leader (who also plays keyboard), a male guitarist (who also sings), and three vocalists, one male and two female. Occasionally there is a variation of the actual numbers (based on illness, vacations, etc.), but this is our praise team. (3 male, 2 female).

    We sing a mixture of contemporary songs and traditional hymns, and almost everyone in the congregation sings out LOUDLY with every song (as long as we known the words and the music! HEEE HEEEE!:laugh: ). We do have "PowerPoint" (NOT Microsoft's program, but a similar one), and an excellent sound/visual system team as well.

    Just a side comment -- I was once a "worship leader" in a small church, and had a pianist who was willing, but not "accomplished". (BTW, I can NOT read music, to this day! And both of my sisters say I cannot carry a tune in a basket! So I am also not "accomplished). We still had excellent worship times, because we concentrated on WHO the worship was going to, not where it came from. I still emphasize this in the Children's Sunday School Department I work with and teach, not just for music, but also for prayer. The kids seldom want to pray out loud, but I have about 17 grade-schoolers who have a very strong prayer life because they know Who they are praying to! Maybe we all should remember that when we sing, too!

    Bill :godisgood:
     
  13. ktn4eg

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    I can say AMEN to all of this!

    If I'm not mistaken, I believe we had some threads on when does the worship start--when the music starts or when the preaching starts (or something like that.)

    Now, I know that we're no longer a theocracy, and we need to be very careful about carrying the details of OT worship practices too far into the NT and later "economies."

    But let's look at some principles of OT musical worship and see what we can draw from them.

    First of all, while there were full time "professional vocalists and instrumentalists" ["The Temple Symphony Orchestra and Chorus' if you will."], I'm inclined to believe that the bulk of the "congregation" probably couldn't read music or carry a tune in whatever they called buckets back then either.

    Was God pleased or displeased with that?

    Well, He might have been pleased with it, but I'm not sure how pleased Bro. Isaac or Sis. Abigail would have been had I been living back then and were singing (ok.......making a joyful NOISE.........!) next to them.

    Apparently God hasn't called me to be a vocalist or an instrumentalist. (The only thing I can play is the radio, and even then all I get is static!)

    But does that therefore mean I should at least make some small attempt to improve the voice God gave me?

    Now, the Three Tenors have nothing to worry about when it comes to me. But OTOH, it probably wouldn't hurt for me to do what I can to be a better singer either. (I mean, ANYTHING would probably be better than what it is now!............I'm saying that when people choose nails scraping over a chalkboard over my singing.........., well you get the drift!)

    Now, I know that the smaller a church is, the harder it probably is to get good musicians. But, even if you only have two or three or whatever vocalists and a piano player, I'd say they ought to take their "calling" just as seriously as the preacher takes his "calling."

    I'm not saying that each one has to out perform the Metropoliotan Opera soloists or that the piano player has to out do someone like Glenn Gould, but if we are to "Give of our Best to the Master," then that's what we should do.

    And, how to we do that? Well, I kind of imagine that means more than "Hey, let's throw a song together for the morning service!" as they're walking out of their Sunday School rooms.

    Again, I know that sometimes that DOES have to happen, but that shouldn't be the norm either.

    This is just my $0.02 worth. My observations and nothing more. Take or leave it. All of us have to answer to God for how well we deal with what "talents" He gave us.

    I love many different genres of music.........I can worship God when I listen to Messiah by Handel or Mendelsohn's Symphony # 5; and I can worship God when I listen to Steven Curtis Chapman or Michael W. Smith or Don Moen; and I can worship God when Bill Gaither's "Homecoming" programs come on the TV; etc., etc.

    Praise God for music that honors Him!! And praise God for the ones who've been "called" to minister to both God and His people through music!
     
  14. Berean

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    Saten's "cunningness"!

    Although today we have a crowd of preachers both in the local pulpits and on TV expousing everything from "get rich quick" to "if it feels good it must be from God", we find this secondary to the cunningness of the Devil in recognizing that his greatest tool in disrupting the Gospel is music. It appears that the visable church can do most anything and meet with the approval of most people.as long as they refer to it as praise and worship. I remember when Elvis first appeared on TV, the secular heads of the stations would not let him be photographed or viewed from the waist down. Today we see a lot more than this displayed from the platforms of our churches most any Sunay Morning.
    Although you can go further back than what I have referance to in the following;

    In the late fourties and early fifties A local DJ in Cleveland OH by the name of Alan Freed promoted a dance with music which back then was billed as Rytham & Blues, renamed Rock & Roll ( a street term meaning fornication)
    by Freed.

    Next step was Elvis P who along with Sam Phillips and Col. Parker promoted him as some sort of Messiah. Although widly known but mostly ignored EP was an addict which lead to his demise.

    The Beetles arrive in the early sixties from Liverpool and did more then Timothy O'leary or anyone else to promote sex and recreational drug use, even making the statement that they were more popular then JESUS CHRIST. (incidently The Vatican just recently forgave John Lenan for this remark)

    Incidently we just had a Heavy Metal Band play for the dedication of our new youth building.
     
  15. ktn4eg

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    And EP's CDs of his singing hymns and/or Christmas carols are still best sellers today! And did not EP nearly always end his Vegas concerts with "How Great Thou Art" .... As if that somehow atoned for all the other songs he just got through singing.

    (I've always wondered if EP ever invited George Beverly Shea to sing a duet w/ him on "How Great....") :tonofbricks:

    I still remember some CCM groups singing George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" as it were a praise & worship song to Jesus .....[Minus the "Hari Khrisha chorus of course! :smilewinkgrin: ]

    And, why is it that I find several of the preachers (and "preachees") that were so vocal back a few decades ago and ranted on and on about the "satanic" songs of the Beatles (and other UK copy cats of that era) and other R&R groups/vocalists of that day and age being so strangely silent in these days about those same songs when their tempo is slowed down a bit and a bunch of violins are thrown in as backup (i.e., the "easy listening"/ "soft rock" stuff that Time-Warner, et. al., has in their infomercials)??
     

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