Archive for Music

Musical Performance and Public Speaking Tips in the Church

Many people have irrational fears about things that will never harm them, barely physically damage if they’re exposed to feared situations, or be unlikely to occur in the first place. Glossophobia, the appropriate term for the fear of public speaking, affects an astounding 74% of the United States population. It doesn’t make sense, but the fear of speaking in public situations is more common than the fear of dying, weighing in at 68%.

An integral part of most churches includes speaking in front of others, singing along with the crowd or on stage, and even playing instruments on the pulpit for everyone to see.

Here are several ways to improve upon musical performance and public speaking in church settings, regardless of your God-given skills or comfortability when faced with the often-feared task.

Practice by recording yourself on video and rewatching it.

Evaluating your performance while playing an instrument or singing without recording your practice runs doesn’t make sense. There’s no way to accurately gauge how well you’re doing and measuring progress without capturing it on video. Doing so will let you study your body language, flow of speech, and presence on stage. You can do the same thing with musical performances.

Pay attention to material organization.

Without having an outline to speak from, bouts of public speaking usually don’t turn out well. Even if you think it sounds good in your mind while speaking without a speech structure, it’s almost guaranteed that it isn’t appealing to others.

While not every speaker needs to have a full outline in their hands or on the podium in front of them while speaking, novice to intermediate public speakers should always carry neatly organized index cards with notes to remind them of where they should be in their speeches.

Consider making an outline while first writing your speech and deciding its topic, then condensing that outline into brand new, unused index cards. It’s important not to use flimsy pieces of paper cut into the shape and size of index cards. Index cards don’t cost much money, so make the investment and buy quality index cards that will make you look good while speaking.

Appropriately use humor if at all possible.

Speakers that are stone cold, serious, and uptight are generally received poorly compared to their upbeat, outgoing counterparts. The only times where humor shouldn’t be used are when speaking about death or tragic events. Otherwise, make sure to use at least one instance of humor, if not more, when speaking in front of your church. Also, because musical performers usually speak before and after playing their instruments or singing, humor should be utilized as long as songs or melodies played aren’t sad in nature.

Look good, feel good.

It’s painfully obvious, but when people wear nice clothes, have their hair groomed, facial hair cut, baring white teeth often feature higher confidence levels than without. Those who have upcoming public speaking appointments in churches should find instant whitening strips for their teeth to brighten their smile and feel more confident. Most people look for product information online, for example reviews of Lumist white strips to find suitable whitening options for their individual needs. Investing in one good outfit, shoes to match, a haircut, and anything else related to personal appearance before speaking or performing in front of your local church is unarguably a great idea.

Don’t stress about using hand gestures too frequently.

Experienced public speakers express emotions and actions with their hands, building onto the experiences and sentiments they convey to their audiences. Novices sometimes force hand expressions, making them look awkward and nervous. It’s always best to place your hands on the lectern in front of you, still and unmoving. Using hand gestures is totally acceptable, although it’s better not to make any than look silly to audiences.

If you’re singing, make sure to talk prior to starting.

Churches are generally quiet, with audience members expected not to say anything during sermons. When invited to sing at a church, make sure to ask an on-topic question prior to beginning your song. This will lessen up the vocal chords in our threat after them laying dormant for up to an hour, or even longer, right before you sing. First impressions are everything, as the saying goes.

Dedicating Time For The Church Choir

My fascination with playing guitar started since I was a little kid. As far as I remember, I was just 10 years old when I started playing guitar. I grew up in a musically inclined family. My mother was a singer and my father was a guitarist too. Our family is an active member of our church. In fact, both of my parents were active members of the church music group. I was exposed to that kind of set up at a very young age. I always look up to my parents because through music they were able to serve God and honor their faith.

My dad enrolled me in a formal guitar training class. I was blessed because my parents supported me all the way. They were more than willing to spend money just to support my passion at playing guitar. At a young age, I became an active member of the church choir, particularly as the church choir guitarist.  Playing the guitar is a form of showing my praise and faith to the one up there. I know that without him I am nothing.

Aside from the masses that I get the chance to play the guitar for, we also have worship seminars twice a week. So these days add to the time that I also go to church not just on Sundays, but also during rehearsals. But despite the demand for time, I never once complained and I always look forward to these gatherings. I make it a point to put the choir among my top priorities.

Of course, there are times when I can’t really make it, especially when I am not feeling well and exhausted. Last Friday was our routine practice, but I wasn’t able to make it as I had the flu. I and my friends climbed one of the highest mountains in our country and after that I was not feeling well. I got headache, body weakness, colds, and coughs. I can’t even manage to get up to bed. We had a Sunday worship and if I will not be there, then nobody will play the guitar for them. I somehow feel guilty because I stressed myself too much. I took a rest, drink lots of water, and took my medicine. I was feeling bit better and on Sunday afternoon I was able to attend the Sunday service. The incident only proved to me that there will always be a way to overcome our problems if we work hard enough to achieve it. I did not want to miss the Sunday choir so I made sure to replenish my body in order to cater to my service to my friends, my community, and of course, to my God.

Worship Seminars

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My Guitar Skills As A Gift From God

They say that a guitar is one of the most expressive musical instruments. Every string represents an emotion and every strum symbolizes the soul of the guitar player. I became interested in playing guitar at a very young age. I was only 10 years old and my parents decided to enroll me in a music school specializing in guitar playing. My guitar playing skill was honed. I was active in school activities and whenever there are school programs, I am always asked to play the guitar. I must admit, it gave me a confidence boost and it made me one of the popular students in the campus.

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Musical Creativity Using the Little Things

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While the music industry is full of songs about love and broken hearts and of those sorts, there are also songs that sing about the little things. Like a favorite car, house, guitar, and all other sort of things that you would not have thought to become sensible as part of a lyrics of a song.

One song that I really found amusing when I heard it was Jennifer Lopez’ song Love Don’t Cost A Thing when the chorus included “…Think I wanna drive your Benz, I don’t. If I wanna floss I got my own…”

Who would a have thought that a song so sensible and power driven included in its lyrics something as far-fetched as a floss? The singer meant it as a metaphor to say that she doesn’t need her lover’s money because she can have the things she need, like a car or, well, a dental floss.

This type of wittiness in song lyrics should also be injected more often, not just for humor but more for wit. Some other song lyrics with this wittiness are:

“If you don’t mind me asking, what’s this poisonous cobra, doing in my underwear drawer…”

“She’s the reason for the teardrops on my guitar…”

These songs may have lyrics that some would call weird, others funny, and others who can’t accept things when they deviate from the norm, call them stupid. Whichever the case, we have to admit that it is a good way to exercise creativity.

This is actually a challenge for music writers. The wittiness and the humor should just be right for it to be considered a meaningful song because if you go overboard, you could end up being ridiculed.

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Key to this challenge, or to any other type of lyric writing endeavor, is research. Yes, inspiration plays a vital role but researching is also just as important.

These are not the types of song I write for our church choir, since these are not the types of songs we sing. However, once in a while, I write these kinds of songs for myself, to exercise my creativity and to remind me that there is more to music than what I do for our church choir.

I am not saying I am not happy with what I play on my guitar for our church. In fact, I am very happy. They are firstly the reason why I continue to love music to this day. All I am saying is that music is a wonderful, vast thing and there are a lot of aspects about it that I still need to explore in order to call myself a true music enthusiast.

You can take on this challenge yourself and see if you can create a masterpiece out of say, a toothbrush, I don’t know. Just try the challenge and see if you could pull it off or you could not do it. The main thing I wish to share is that there is musical creativity in everything, even in the littlest of things.

Here’s a from Youtube video for more tips on how to write a good song. Enjoy!

Video Credit: Tyler Ward Music

Serving God Through Music

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I have been in our church’s choir for quite a long time now and I have learned a great deal about life and people, through the words of God. I especially saw the diversity of people, that even when they come from the same race, and even in the same family, differences are always there. May it be differences in  likes, dislikes, ideologies and whatnot, people will always end up choosing different things and believing in different things and degree.

This is one of my many purposed for deciding to join the choir. To try and direct the differences of people into a singular end goal, and that is to serve God. To do this, one can choose from three things.

Firstly, service to God by serving yourself. You are God’s creation and you deserve to give yourself the best care. You also have to do this so that you can fulfill either of the first two services. Taking care of yourself is very important because you should not waste what has been given to you. You have to treat your body like it is the house of God, where all his love and beauty should manifest. To be able to do this, you have to have a healthy lifestyle.

Second is to serve others. When you serve others, you are still, in essence serving God because everyone is God’s children and God means to make everyone learn life and be happy. If you serve others, you are becoming His instrument in carrying out His plans. This does not mean that you have to serve everyone out there. That is just impossible. Serving others in this sense means to be kind, generous and approachable to even just the people around you, the people you get to mingle in your day to day living, may they be people you know or not. People should be able to see that you are a good person and that you should also spread that goodness in whatever way you could. This also means that you do not harm others because harming them, either in physical ways or emotional ways, even when you believe you are right or you had reasons, will only cause conflict between you and the other person therefore defeating the purpose of spreading goodness and love.

Lastly, you can serve God by serving Him directly. That is, to offer life and service to the church. This is what I chose and this is the path I believe to be truly meant for me because it gives me the chance to serve God in all ways possible, through my choir service.