In a previous post I wrote about singers listening to each other to create a unified vocal sound. When singers are listening to and blending with each other, they can add the next two equally important skills.
Listen to the band.
You may have been in a church service where the band began a song and one or more of the singers didn’t know when to begin singing. That’s awkward for the singer and the congregation. It’s also frustrating for the band. When a singer pays attention to the intro of a song, counting the beats of the intro, they will not miss the point where they should begin to sing. And when you’re listening to the song’s key, you’ll also be able to determine your starting note.
At times you may not have the best sound gear, and you may not be able to hear yourself sing. Maybe you’re singing outside, and you can’t hear the overall band mix well. When that happens, try to listen to the bass guitar to determine the key and your notes in relation to the song.
In one of the groups I toured with, we were often in acoustically challenging venues. My position on each platform was at one end, and many times I couldn’t hear any of the other singers or most of the band. This was before in-ear monitors were available for the group. There was one mix (no custom mixes) for the platform and only a few floor monitors. So I listened to the bass guitar. I could hear it over everything else, and that helped me to keep myself in pitch. I could determine where we were in the song, and I could feel the rhythm of the song because of the bass. I also listened to the drum kick. The band kept me focused as a singer on the arrangement of the song.
Listen to the Holy Spirit.
Since we’re worship leaders, it’s vital to listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. He wants to direct the flow of the worship. His prompting is most often very gentle, or I would describe it as a knowing—where you just know that you should increase volume or intensity or to wrap the chorus.
When you’re comfortable with listening for the Holy Spirit’s gentle nudge, it’s easy to flow with other people who do the same.
I was invited to sing with a group once where I didn’t know the main worship leader. He was going to lead from the keys. We had a short rehearsal before the special service, and as he began to lead the band and singers, I immediately relaxed. I could tell that he was listening to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. When we led worship for that service, I knew when he was going to increase intensity, change key, and go to the next section of each song because we were both independently listening to the Holy Spirit. It was a beautiful and easy experience.
Recently, while in Kenya, I had been teaching a course on worship and praise in a Bible Training Center. During the course, I was demonstrating how to flow with the Spirit in the worship set. After the students and I had finished worshiping together, in my spirit I heard an older song that wasn’t really sung anymore. Before I could even say anything about that song to the keyboard player, he began to play it. He had heard it in his spirit too. So we all began to sing the song, and the depth of worship was amazing. It was Spirit-led.
When we let go of our own agenda, and allow the Holy Spirit to prompt and direct us, the resulting worship will be far beyond any depth that we could create in our own ability. It will be life-changing.
Listening to each other and to the Holy Spirit will keep you in the flow musically and spiritually.