Four Worship Lessons from the Fab Four
|Today's post is from guest contributer, Chris Skelnik. Chris is both a lead worship tech at his church and a drummer, with an extensive background in both areas. Learn more about Chris.|
August of 1965.
I was probably still in diapers at the time, and my guess is that many of you reading this probably weren't even born yet. This is a clip of the Beatles performance on the Ed Sullivan show in August 1965. I've seen bits and pieces of these Ed Sullivan performances before, but yesterday is the first time I've watched one in it's entirely. I'd encourage you to watch it.
Yes, right now. Go ahead, I'll wait...
1. Simplicity In Music
As I watched it, a number of things struck me. These songs are roughly 50 years old, and whether you like the Beatles or not, these songs are timeless classics.
There is simplicity in these songs. Simple melodies, simple rhythms, with simple interspersed riffs, and some cool counter-melody things happening. Great harmonies, although sometimes they are hard to hear with all the screaming girls in the audience (which, BTW, might just include your Mom...just sayin'...).
2. Stage Presence
The Beatles look so composed and comfortable doing what they love. They laughed, they smiled, and each of them engaged their audience.
I put this into the context of what we do on Sunday mornings. Why is it that some of us (and/or some of the people on our teams) struggle with feeling 'composed and comfortable'? Why is it that we aren't always smiling and engaging like they are?
Sometimes these questions result in responses like: "Well, those guys are professionals!", or "I have a full time job and a family - how can you expect me to find the time to memorize my music?"
Is our uncomfortableness really 100% due the fact that we don't know our music inside and out, or that we're not professional musicians? Or do we struggle with thoughts of self-doubt and fear. What makes us self-conscious?
Watch Paul McCartney sing "Yesterday". It's an incredibly sad and remorseful song, yet he sings it with confidence and expression. None of the songs we sing at church are this sad or remorseful - we sing of hope eternal, of the Risen Savior, of the power of the cross - so why aren't we singing and playing with a similar confidence and expression?
We need to remember who we are in Christ:
In Christ, there is no condemnation.
Perfect love casts out all fear.
The joy of the Lord is our strength.
Let us continue to encourage each other and to encourage the people on our teams to be filled with the joy of the Lord and express that joy when we play.
Do you actively model the lyrics when you play "Today Is The Day"?
Today is the day you have made
I will rejoice and be glad in it!
I won't worry about tomorrow
I'm giving you my fears and sorrows
Where you lead me I will follow
I'm trusting in what you say
Today is the day
4. Simplicity on Stage
There's also something else that stood out to me, and that's what I didn't see.
No IEMs, no stacks of floor wedges, no fancy pedal boards, no complicated mic setup, no click tracks, and especially no music stands!
Yes, they are "professionals", but it reminds me of how simple it should be.
At the core, all we need are simple songs (easy to play and easy to sing) that convey the simple truths of God. Sometimes we get caught up in the clutter.
Simple is better. There is power in just the piano and a vocal, or just the acoustic guitar and some vocalists.
We should look for ways to effectively use the tools we have, but we should not overlook the power of embracing simplicity.
Question: What do you think? What lessons for musicianship and platform presence do you draw from the Beatles?
Chris Skelnik is the lead worship tech and a drummer at his church, Ontario Christian Fellowship. He has been playing drums for over 25 years, has played hundreds of live gigs throughout the Midwest in a variety of bands, and his drumming can be heard on various independent releases. After recording in various studios in and around the Chicago area, he took the plunge and created a home studio in the late 90s. Since moving to Ohio in 2004, his focus has been on helping the local church better understand and use technology. Chris is also the co-author of "Roland VS Recorder Power!". You can reach him via at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @chrisskelnik.
October 19, 2012Tweet