Archive for the ‘Worship Music’ Category

Song Title: We Sing with Joy!

This is a pure praise song, very simple to play and sing, and VERY easy to play. The main riff has only three chords and the bridge only adds another two chords. The trick to this was not to make it monotonous.

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Title: If Today (Psalm 95)

I wrote this song for the Catholic Mass (though it could easily be used in both Episcopal and Lutheran services) as a sung Psalm response. It’s lively and upbeat, and a departure from the more meditative songs you normally hear during this part of the service.

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In my latest GarageBand project, I just finished recording a song that I wrote back in 2004, but never managed to record it until now. The song is called “I Will Sing (of Your Salvation).

While the song is very special to me, the recording was actually a bit of an experiment as I wanted to see if I could replace my synthesizer using only vocals. As far as the whole album of which this song is part, I wanted to take a very minimalistic approach to instrumentation to see how full a sound I could achieve with as few instruments as possible.

As always, I welcome your comments!

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Last night, I finally finished re-recorded a solo for a song I’ve been working on releasing (Great God). The original solo was actually pretty good, but because of some errant picking on my part, there some distracting “extras” that I could easily wave edit away. So I decided to re-do the solo entirely. But that’s not the painful part. The painful part is actually physical. I ended up doing over 200 takes over the past couple of nights to get the solo just right. It’s still not perfect, but it’ll do for now… I need to rest my fingers a spell…

With my first set of takes, I duplicated the original solo. This only took a few takes to get it right. But then, I had a bit more complicated of a solo in my head, and it just wouldn’t let me settle. The only problem was that I had to learn how to play it! If you listen to the solo, it’s not a very difficult solo for anyone with the technique. I could actually play it myself from a technical standpoint, but the challenge for me was to play it entirely clean, without any added “touches.” It’s amazing how playing in overdrive masks out those little mistakes! A brush with the pick here, a mis-fingering there, and it just messes up the phrase, not to mention bending strings to just the right pitch. Playing clean, you can’t hide behind any kind of signal breakup.

So I used this recording session as much for recording as I did for a practicing clean technique; and this is where the pleasure kicks part kicks in. I still need to re-record the solo because I missed some pitch bends, but I’ve now learned some new technique that I can employ in other songs…

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All I can say is WOW! GarageBand is absolutely OFF THE HOOK!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was going to be using GarageBand to create song foundations for performing live. But to get myself more familiarized with the application, I decided to lay down a groove for a worship song that I wrote to see how easy it would be. I was not at all disappointed. I first auditioned a bunch of drum loops (BTW, I went out and purchased both iLife ’08 and the Rhythm Section Jam Pack today), found a fill, then inserted the loop into a new track. I then found a decent bass line, and dropped that in as well.

Software instruments such as the bass in GarageBand are actually software MIDI instruments. GarageBand makes it so easy to work with software instruments by providing a MIDI grid to adjust note pitches, duration, velocity, etc.. So once I selected a bassline, I could move notes around to fit to my song. Then it was a simple copy/cut/paste affair to get the bass “measures” into their proper places.

Once I had those two things laid down, I recorded my Strat for the rhythm track. Now here is where things got interesting. For my home recording studio, I use a DigiDesign MBox 2. It turns out that DigiDesign provides a Mac driver for the MBox 2 that you can download from their site. So now, I have my trusty MBox 2 hooked up to my iMac through a USB port, and I can switch from guitar to vocals or add some keyboard tracks with ease.

A totally cool new feature in GarageBand is the ability to loop record; that is, selecting a region in a song, then play several takes while looping over the same region. This is an awesome feature that I’ve appreciated in ProTools, but it’s here in GarageBand! With multi-take loop recording, you can dial in a section until you have it perfect. This saves so much time in the recording process because you don’t have to get to a spot, record, then splice the end. You just keep on playing that section over and over again until you’ve got it right. It also allows you to approach a particular phrase in different ways.

I’m really jazzed right now because I’ve finally found a music production tool that is incredibly easy to use. It’s so easy, it’s almost scary.

BTW, I need to put in a plug for GarageBand ’08. If you’re already a GarageBand user, YOU NEED TO GET iLife ’08 now! It is head and shoulders far more powerful and feature complete than the previous versions of the software. For a mere $79.00, it’s a cheap investment.

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Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise!

A lot of people talk about youth being the future of the Church. That couldn’t be more wrong. I feel like it’s simply an excuse for adults to not give up any of their control. As a long-time youth minister, when I hear those words, no matter how sensitively communicated, I say, “PAH!” Wanna know why? The youth that attend service – any service – are present. Now. They’re participants in the Body of Christ, and their hearts and minds are joined with the congregation in communion.

The words: “Future of the Church” only serve to further alienate kids who are in a stage of their lives where they need something to hang on to; something that they know is greater than themselves, that brings them back to the loving arms of Christ. We adults need to change our language to be more inclusive. We need to let go of our fears that the youth in our Churches will somehow screw things up. We need to truly take the position of being mentors to these young people.

Believe me, youth will respond to this. In fact, when inspired by the Light of Christ, they’re more ready to participate and volunteer to serve than most adults! So mentor the young people in your assemblies. They’re not the future. They’re the NOW!

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