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Oh wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Weekly Report 3

Ben Robinson
Weekly Report # 3
"Observing Worship Band Practice"

This week I attended a worship band practice. The practice was supposed to begin at 7:30 but people wandered in until about 7:40. Unfortunately, the sound tech never showed up and so the band had a difficult time getting all the technical equipment ready for practice. The leader of the band, who happens to be an IWU student and a friend of mine, spent nearly half an hour attempting to get two microphones to work. Eventually they got all of the technical glitches out and they could move on. At this point they gathered together to pray and then began to practice.

I was impressed with the way the leader engaged the members of the worship band. It was clear that he was respected and he was very affirming and knowledgeable. Even though he is a guitarist and sings he seemed to know about all the other instruments that were included. He informed the drummer when to enter the song and in what manner. He showed the female singer how to do a harmony to a certain song. He explained how the keyboard should sound and he was the one that ran the show.

I was also impressed by the reliability of the band. Each member knew his or her part to each song and each played it seemingly flawless. The transitions were very smooth and it was clear that the band was used to playing these songs. Overall the members were well prepared and listened to the leader’s corrections and followed them promptly. I thought the group worked well together.

One of my few concerns was the organization of the session. There was very little at points and many times someone would be playing their instrument as the worship leader addressed another member in the band. I found this annoying and distracting and wondered how they could maintain a dialogue with all the ambient noises. I think the practice could have been half as long and the amount accomplished would be comparable if now equal.

Another one of my concerns was the ethos of the songs chosen. "Beautiful One", "Trading My Sorrows", and "We are Hungry" were some of the songs and typify what I mean. As we have been discussing in class these popular songs have certain characteristics; they are subjective, typically personal rather than corporate, and very rarely do they use biblical titles of God. As far as I’m concerned good theology supersedes good melody. By that standard very little of modern worship music is beneficial. In fact, I think we hinder our congregations with theologically weak songs. But we are entrenched in the praise and worship movement and unless we can strengthen the theological integrity of the movement we should look to something else for edification and didactic purposes.

What I did learn through this experience is that organization of a session such as this is vital. The band worked well together but they worked much longer than they needed to. In order for a worship practice to be successful and concise it must be organized well.


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