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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,
For those who are praise and worship (P&W) leaders, have you tried leading the worship and playing the sax at the same time? Previously, I don't play when I lead P&W. Now I thinking about it.
Would appreciate any insights and experiences. Pros and cons?
Thanks and God bless!

Ben
 

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I've done that, and it was a mix of singing, prayer, and sax playing. I would usually have the horn around my neck, suspended on the strap. If the lyrics were unfamiliar, I'd sing them. Otherwise, the praise team would handle the lyrics while I played harmony and improv. I think leading P&W is great with a sax at your disposal. Don't over play it, and the Spirit will find its way in.

Be Blessed
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Dave,
Really appreciate this. God bless!

Ben
 

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The “pro” is that you don’t have to give up the sax in order to direct. The “con” is it could becomes a religious version of “American idol,” now called “Church idol.”

There are many ways to direct without using one’s hands.

Once, upon a time a sax player was working with a choir that didn’t have a real sense of rhythm and tempo. So, this sax player sensing that the choir was a little more than hesitant starts to subtly move with the beat as a human metronome. The choir picked it up. Sometimes, just moving your foot to the beat can do the same thing. The choir watches your one foot instead of your hands. It’s amazing how perceptive a choir is with body movement. Especially, those that are lost, they will look at everything in order to help themselves follow the song.

As a suggestion, you might want to work on directing without using the normal stance that a regular director would use. Just play and let the choir go with it.

Most choirs will follow what you are doing on the horn. If you play louder the choir will get louder, etc. As Dave points out, if they know the material, then they really don’t need a lot of directing. If they don’t know the words, well that’s another story. Time for at least one strong voice that does know the lyrics.

The key is to direct them without looking like you are directing them. It develops over time. It also make the choir look like they really know what they are doing in front of the congregation. And most choristers like that.

You might become their favorite director.
 

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You know, that isn't really such a bad idea! I led a service using saxophone, and I didn't really know much on how to lead in this position. Since I knew how to improvise very well, I used one hand to play and one hand to give signals when we went from verse to chorus,etc.

I find that very helpful! Thanks! :)

-The AOM Saxist-
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Straightsax said:
The “pro” is that you don’t have to give up the sax in order to direct. The “con” is it could becomes a religious version of “American idol,” now called “Church idol.”

There are many ways to direct without using one’s hands.

Once, upon a time a sax player was working with a choir that didn’t have a real sense of rhythm and tempo. So, this sax player sensing that the choir was a little more than hesitant starts to subtly move with the beat as a human metronome. The choir picked it up. Sometimes, just moving your foot to the beat can do the same thing. The choir watches your one foot instead of your hands. It’s amazing how perceptive a choir is with body movement. Especially, those that are lost, they will look at everything in order to help themselves follow the song.

As a suggestion, you might want to work on directing without using the normal stance that a regular director would use. Just play and let the choir go with it.

Most choirs will follow what you are doing on the horn. If you play louder the choir will get louder, etc. As Dave points out, if they know the material, then they really don’t need a lot of directing. If they don’t know the words, well that’s another story. Time for at least one strong voice that does know the lyrics.

The key is to direct them without looking like you are directing them. It develops over time. It also make the choir look like they really know what they are doing in front of the congregation. And most choristers like that.

You might become their favorite director.
Thanks Chris. The "Church idol" thing is exactly what I was worried about. I mean the congregation may get distracted by how good (or bad) I play instead of focusing on the prayers and worship.
Fortunately in our case we have a good choir (if I may so so myself, ahem, lol) which need like directing but really supports the prayer leader.
God bless!

Ben
 

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Discussion Starter #7
AOMsaxist said:
You know, that isn't really such a bad idea! I led a service using saxophone, and I didn't really know much on how to lead in this position. Since I knew how to improvise very well, I used one hand to play and one hand to give signals when we went from verse to chorus,etc.

I find that very helpful! Thanks! :)

-The AOM Saxist-
Good suggestion AOM. Thanks. God bless!
 

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Allow me to chime in with a different opinion. I've considered this for a while, as one who either leads or plays sax. Would it not be great to do both simultaneously?
I decided not.
IMO, the idol issue is a big one. Trying to do two things at once, assuming there are others that can also fill either role, speaks to me of an enhanced sense of self importance. Of course that my be different if there is really a need for extra hands on deck! I would find it hard I think to not be distracted, wondering I guess why this leader felt the need to do everything.
Song or worship leaders in my experience do just that - lead - and in our sound mix their voice is prominent, the one that the congregation listen to for cues and direction. Perhaps if the mix is different and the choir is huge that may not be necessary.
Practically, I would find it cumbersome to juggle a handheld mike, sax with clip on, or another floor standing mike, cue cards etc. all whilst trying to focus on leading the service. I think my multitasking is perhaps limited.
I personally would prefer to lead the service, direct the musicians, singers and congregation as well as focus on being sensitive to what is happening in the congregation, OR, focus on the music, the other band members, and doing the best I could with each song.
Personaly criticism not intended at all. I am fascinated that people would want to take it all on at once. Frankly, I am in awe!
For a worship leader to delegate the leader function to another singer for a particular song that 'needed' a sax part, and then inconspicuously slip back into the leader role would be fine for me. But to try to be a musical soloist, vocal leader, and director all at once: definitely not for me!
 

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Fortunately in our case we have a good choir (if I may so so myself, ahem, lol) which need like directing but really supports the prayer leader.
Well, Bldhk -- now the secret is out. The better they sound, the better we sound. There is nothing like a good choir and being the instrumentalist/sax player. It's the best seat in the house (of God) and one step away from Heaven. Sometimes, I just have to stop playing and just listen and ask myself, "What am I doing here?"

But then, I guess we all can keep a secret. It's cool, God knows.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ian said:
Allow me to chime in with a different opinion. I've considered this for a while, as one who either leads or plays sax. Would it not be great to do both simultaneously?
I decided not.
IMO, the idol issue is a big one. Trying to do two things at once, assuming there are others that can also fill either role, speaks to me of an enhanced sense of self importance. Of course that my be different if there is really a need for extra hands on deck! I would find it hard I think to not be distracted, wondering I guess why this leader felt the need to do everything.
Song or worship leaders in my experience do just that - lead - and in our sound mix their voice is prominent, the one that the congregation listen to for cues and direction. Perhaps if the mix is different and the choir is huge that may not be necessary.
Practically, I would find it cumbersome to juggle a handheld mike, sax with clip on, or another floor standing mike, cue cards etc. all whilst trying to focus on leading the service. I think my multitasking is perhaps limited.
I personally would prefer to lead the service, direct the musicians, singers and congregation as well as focus on being sensitive to what is happening in the congregation, OR, focus on the music, the other band members, and doing the best I could with each song.
Personaly criticism not intended at all. I am fascinated that people would want to take it all on at once. Frankly, I am in awe!
For a worship leader to delegate the leader function to another singer for a particular song that 'needed' a sax part, and then inconspicuously slip back into the leader role would be fine for me. But to try to be a musical soloist, vocal leader, and director all at once: definitely not for me!
Good points Ian. Thanks and God bless!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Straightsax said:
Well, Bldhk -- now the secret is out. The better they sound, the better we sound. There is nothing like a good choir and being the instrumentalist/sax player. It's the best seat in the house (of God) and one step away from Heaven. Sometimes, I just have to stop playing and just listen and ask myself, "What am I doing here?"

But then, I guess we all can keep a secret. It's cool, God knows.
I agree completely. God bless!

Ben
 

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Playing For The Church live www.Miraculous.org

Modeled my style after Boots Randolph. Started with private lessons with Gary Keller, (1st chair Tenor Sax) when I was 12. Played From Miami to Denver as I ran from God. Grew up! Now I touch and point the way for others in praise and Worship. I have been blessed with a Selmer Reference Alto & Tenor. I do solo's, events, by invitation. I do not ask for renumeration. I leave that in God's hands, period. I encourage you to go on, as the Sax, like many instruments can touch people. Regards
 

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Update

In the wake of this thread I led the praise and worship last Pentecost Sunday (May 27) with my sax. Just got this photo from that event from a friend who was still learning how to use his new camera.:)
The guy on the left is the choir master/lead guitarist (other instrumentalists are behind him and not in the photo). I let him let him take care of the music while I focused on leading the prayers and playing my sax. FYI, I didn't do any solo just the usual fills and melody line during the chorus.
God bless!
Ben
 

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Greetings.

I have played with some of the greats. Now I play for the Lord. Sing Solo's, percussion, but my love and call is the sax. In any band, it lends beautiful fill in, harmony, and at times, the chance to express your soul and heart through a melody, or take the lead with a bright edgy call to your feet. I play a Selmer (Paris Reference) Alto and Tenor. I also do specials for other events taking my background music with me and sound system. I have had so many compliments, and I modeled my style around Boots Randolph, (played with him to). But even though it is me playing the horn, it is the Lord that has annointed me with the ability to communicate with the audiance through the Holy Spirit. Where are you? Would you be interested in doing a special for your church. I never turn down an opportunity to meet with new artists and a chance to bless someone through the language of all nations, Music. If you so desire, You can see me on Miraculous.Org in Kingsport, TN. We broadcast over 38 countries and are setting up to do a special Concert of 4 hours of praise and worship concert in Johnson City in which we may have to get the Freedom Hall to accomodate the crowd. Anyhow, I wish you the best and would love to hear from you. Regards, Desax
 

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I have played with some of the greats. Now I play for the Lord.
Hmmm...interesting two sentences. If you play for the Lord, then what's greater than that? Jus wondering.

O.K. I'll leave you alone and in --
 

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Straightsax said:
Hmmm...interesting two sentences. If you play for the Lord, then what's greater than that? Jus wondering.

O.K. I'll leave you alone and in --
Hah, I think that's his point. ^^

Moved from the greats to something better. ;]
 
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