I've taken a lot of bridges and choruses away from the whole song and that's worked out really well for my church. Bridges from The Stand, Tear Down the Walls and With Everything have gone over well in my church, but I can't imagine trying to teach the congregation the rest of those songs. I think they're far too word-y to really be effective.
I try to stay away from sounding like the recording. The less similar we make it, the less there is to be compared to. (Besides, right now my worship team consists of myself on keyboards and lead vocals with my sister backing me up and on the odd occasion, another vocalist to help us out - it's pretty impossible to sound like any of the recordings out there).
Jordan - it's particularly sensible in your situation not to try to emulate the CD. It will lack both integrity and musical continuity, and adapting it to your instrument as skill set will allow you to own it.
As for your comment about new songs not really fitting congregational worship, I think there's an increasing trend toward worship becoming a production, hence some songs being more suitable for more serious singers only. Or maybe it's just that the authors wanter good album material that would sell, and didn't want to be restricted to simple songs.
Do you get rid of the "yeah" at the end of the chorus, too?
Why do they do that?
roger that man. make it easy. and there are still plenty of songs that are easy from the old days. you just gotta juice them up a bit. "i will celebrate" is a great example. give it a nice rhythmic backdrop instead of the heavy downbeat and youve got a winner!!
simplify the complexity of the overly grammatical musical poetry, thats all.
Aree you thinking of "I will Celebrate", the Russian-Jewish praise song?
I will celebrate / sing unto the Lord / I will sing to Him a new song...
If that's the one, I like to take it fast and light, cut time, about 1/2 note = 120-140, unless we slow it down to zero in the middle and accelerate, raising the key.
I-yi-yi! Actually, my own renderings of "I Will Celebrate" stem from the time it was created, when Slavic or "Hebrew"-style singing was quite in vogue (guitars instead of balalaikas), and Kenneth Copeland was big with his Psalm 95/Hallelujah.
However, since you mentioned Baloche, and considering the context... well, I'll have to attach a story/essay I wrote in a moment of madness, called "Baloshkin"
I have given this general topic some thought recently. In my opinion, there is a big difference between contemporary christian music (CCM) and praise & worship (PW) music. And it makes sense. Really, much of the CCM genre is about giving the Christian an uplifting form of entertainment. It is for / to man --- not for / to the Lord. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. But it is what it is -- entertainment. By this definition it also becomes eveident that there is a business side to it, and from the business side comes popularity (selling), and from that comes performance. I've been to a few "big name shows" (Tomlin, Newsboys, Casting Crowns), and really ... its not a P&W service .... its Christian entertainment and it has a major element of performance. And that's OK as long as you don't confuse it with P&W.
P&W on the other hand, is our personal exaltation and thankfulness expressed to the Lord. This doesn't require brilliant light shows and cool guitar riffs (at least not in the corporate setting), but simply an outpouring of our soul to the Lord (not to an audience).
Both genres of music have their place. For instance, if your church were having a fellowship potluck on a Saturday afternoon, a little CCM would probably be a great thing. Trying to make it a P&W event might not be a good idea ... too hard to socialize and eat and focus on how awesome our God is all at the same time.
I agree with you on your points. Our worship team is sometimes guilty of playing a new song that is difficult to learn. And if the congreation finds it tough to learn they tend to quit worshipping due to the effort focused on learning the song. (Same concept applies to instrumental solos ... is the congregation still praising the Lord, or are they admiring your talent?). Song selection is really quite important, as well as the arrangement. I like to keep in mind why is there a worship team instead of just a stereo .... we are there as a tool of the Spirit to bring the congregation into a worshippful experience with God. The worship leader can help the effort by paying attention to the worshipper's experience and thriough the Spirit, steer the congregation toward a higher level of worship. Tough thing to do. Can't do it without the Spirit guiding the worship leader. Also, poorly executed or arranged music is also distracting to the woshipper, for obvious reasons. As a member of the worship team, I find that I often have a more worshipful experience at rehearsal that I do during the service. I can "let go" a little bit and not worry so much about not being a distraction.
The best worship is sincere, honest, and quite often, simple! My best advice is to pray both personaly and as a collective, and keep in mind that the worship team is there to help bring the congregation closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus!
Just my thoughts .... anyone else? Paul, you out there? :)
I think you have the right attitude Jordan! I'm sure the Lord will use you in great ways!
Give Him the Glory!