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Getting lost in Praise music.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by MalcolmAmos, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Have just joined a Praise band and find that I have a problem keeping track of what is being sung, i.e. I do not know where to go next in the song and have to wait on the lyrics and then hope I can find where everyone else has gone; Chorus again or to the next verse, etc.

    Yes we do play from fake chord and have notations like:
    Chorus, V-1, V-2, repeat 3X, tag last line and things like that, but, we go back to the chorus and the verses many times, which I'm sure you that play Praise, appreciate.

    I'm thinking of numbering the verses, bridge, chorus, etc. Play this first, (2) then this, (3) then this, etc. Open for suggestions of how you guys keep up with what is going to be played next.

    Love the transition over to Praise, but, I'm a little lost right now on knowing what is going to be sung next.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. AaronMB


    Aug 17, 2012
    Are you saying that you're having trouble hearing the vocals?
  3. No I can hear what is being sung, I just do not know if they are going to proceed to verse 2 or play the chorus again.

    There does not seem to be a set structure, like with ole Country, which I'm used to following.
  4. DrDAV14

    DrDAV14 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2008
    Denver, Colorado
    I'm a worship leader in Houston, and yes the arrangement can evolve as it's being played. This were you hope your leader is laying out something to signal you back to a verse or chorus etc.. It's not always easy but it will train you to listen intently to the lead or to ask questions on how he plans on turning it around to go to other parts of the song. Its a good growth exercise as a backing musician. Goodluck
  5. burl0029

    burl0029 Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    St. Paul Park, MN
    At my church we generally follow pretty solid road maps, but often times the endings change without warning, depending on the situation. The biggest thing that helps is time spent playing so you can learn the tendencies of your worship leader(s). Our two main leaders have some things they tend to do when they're going to do something different than planned. We also have some planned cues for common situations (like ending songs).

    Another cue to watch for are pickup notes (or changes in rhythm, vocal pitch, etc) that vary depending on whether you're going into the verse or chorus. Though not always present, these are usually good clues as to where you're headed.
  6. I know exactly what you are saying. I started playing in my church band about 8 months ago. When I started I was stressing about the structure of the songs, because they are almost always a different arrangement from the original. We even gone through rehersal on Sunday morning, only to have the song structure change on the fly during worship. It does get easier with time as you learn how the flow of the band works. pay attention to who ever is leading, a good leader should give cues, like saying the first line of the chorus while you're coming to the end of a verse. Our leaders also use hand signals or other gestures. You just have to work it out.
  7. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    I feel ya brother. I play praise music too and the worship leader will say they are feeling the spirit and change things on the fly.
    I have found a trick that helps for most songs. For instance, was playing a song last night in DMaj. All the verses started in DMaj and so did the chorus, however the bridge started with Bm. Bm is the 6 chord or the relative minor of the DMaj key. Not an unusual structure for a Praise song which more often than not only has 4 chords I, IV, V, and vii.

    So, if you land on the D root every time and realize that the singer is starting to sing the bridge, just slide down to the Bm, and act like you planned it. D is a chord tone of Bm.

    Look at the chords before you start and see if there are some things like this that you can do.

    Also like the other poster said, learning the worship leader's tendencies will really help too.

  8. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Eastern North Dakota
    It's just the way it goes playing in church. You'll get the hang of it. Our leader will often change things, depending on how he's feeling, if communion is taking longer than expected, etc. He does try to give clues like saying the first phrase of where he's going just before he does, but the biggest help is just time. You'll get used to how things go and start "feeling" it yourself.

    Be sure you know what to play for each section - verse, chorus, bridge, etc. and just be ready. It'll only sound like a mistake if you let it - you meant to play that passing tone into the chorus!
  9. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    What really helps is what helps with all music: Know the song and that includes the lyrics/melody and the harmony, when you have done that you can hear where it's going. The other thing you will also need to do is pay attention to the singers and the musical director. You also have to keep your eyes open, often the worship leader will use hand signals or other gestures to indicate where they are going to go.
  10. mccartneyman


    Dec 22, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Managing Editor, Bass Guitars Editor, MusicGearReview.com
    If the stage is too big for the leader to turn around and yell, "Chorus," then the leader owes it to the rest of the band to give a sing of some sort, perhaps holding up a hand cupped in a C for chorus, or two fingers in a V for verse. It's just common courtesy, to say nothing of professionalism.

    I played in a 19-piece praise band with six singers, and the worship leader often dropped a few measures or went to the chorus too soon. In these case, the players who had experience in rock bands adapted the quickest, while players who were reading music looked around in panic. The worst thing he did was get lost, stop everything, and make us start over ... and he had a doctorate im music:eek:!
  11. lowdown3


    Mar 22, 2008
    Our Worship leader is real good about giving us cues...If we are gonna end the song she makes a fist like with her hand and just turns and looks at us and if she wants to play the end over she will make a circular motion with her closed hand and so on and she does it in a way where its not like she is raising her fist but sort of in the motions with the praise motions but we just know what to look for. Its hard because worship songs are done in so many ways...I mean think about it you take 1 song and every one does it different every artis puts their own spin in it.Then you have the team asking or say "Chris Tomlin does it this way" orwhat have you....We try to do our songs the way we want the church to learn it that ways we are not over the place.
  12. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Eastern North Dakota
    Unfortunately, that means nothing in reality. :rollno:
  13. tjh


    Mar 22, 2006
    Malcolm, with your country group, you are used to leading the group into chord changes .. bottom line here is that we are following ... usually the start and early part of a song will be fairly consistent, its if/when the leader feels led to repeat an early verse later, or a chorus several times at the end, or even one line over and over, but that usually happens more toward the end of the song, so you can begin to anticipate it ...

    ...slides are my best friend when I play in church, I will start very low/high on what ever string I anticipate playing the note on, and then lightly slide up/down until where I see he is going and then settle on that note to start the phrase ... ghost notes work well too, if you are into something where a steady thump is needed ...

    .. when I read your title 'lost in the mix', I was expecting you to say that your notes were getting audibly lost in the group ... I have found that in worship music sometimes the keyboard player (s) tend to be very active with the left hand, and starts to jumble things up in the same sonic space ... that, and monitor situations are not always ideal .. speaking of sonic space, one of the most underrated bass parts in a worship service, is an open sonic space ... otherwise known as not playing ... often times less distracting than going the wrong place at the wrong time :)... JMHO's
  14. Thanks, guys. Looks like what I'm running into is just the nature of the beast.

    So far I can call up video on the selections we use and then practice playing along here at home. Making notes in the margin of where the original artist took the song. Hoping this will help.

    Sunday will tell.

    Thanks again.
  15. burl0029

    burl0029 Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    St. Paul Park, MN
    Maybe, maybe not. Our band does a lot of songs differently from their original recordings, so depending on what your group does, it may or may not work from a road map perspective. However, it will help to know the parts of the songs as well as possible so that when you're playing you can focus more attention on the cues and easily shift into another section if you guess wrong.

    As mentioned before, slides and passing notes are nice tricks to work with as well. Good luck.
  16. Good point. I have just finished comparing the original artist's fake chord to the fake chord we will use.

    Using the original artist's version and then comparing it with the version we will be using I was able to make notations in the margins that will help me assume where the lead vocalist is going. For example:
    C vocals only

    Thanks guys, I feel much better now.
  17. Oh god. I'm glad my soap box is in the other room.
  18. henry2513

    henry2513 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Ha, the first time I played in Praise band I was told I'd have chord charts. I've been reading jazz charts almost my entire time as a musician so when I received the Praise charts, you know the ones with only the lyrics and the chord changes written right over them ......well you can imagine how that went!
  19. funkybass


    Oct 19, 2006
    We get chord charts at our church. Some of the musicians number each section. Say the song has a verse, chorus, verse, chorus 2, and bridge. Verse 1 might have the numbers 1,3. Chorus 1 might have 2,4. Verse 2 5. Chorus 2 6,7, 10. Bridge 8,9,10. It could help you with the order. Also, be prepared to transpose on the fly.
  20. R&B

    R&B Both kinds of music: Rhythm AND Blues! Supporting Member

    So far I've sat in 3 times at church. Literally sat in, as in seated behind the piano. Discreet. There is no band, as most service music is pipe organ and choir. But there's some contemporary stuff on keys or guitar, and rarely others will sit in on drums, horns, woodwinds. The MD is a great guy who is very patient with me. (It's a forgiving crowd too LOL).

    I have been learning bass for 7 months by reading music. Imagine my surprise when I got treble clef and chord charts! D.S. al fine indeed!! :eek:

    Just trying to stay focused, calm, in time and on the root. I suppose less can be more. Malcolm, you have company! :p
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