While I don’t subscribe to the idea that any particular genre of music is more “worshipful” than another, there are definite differences when it comes to leading the congregation in a traditional church and a church that embraces modern worship music.
Most of my personal experience has been in modern worship services, so I found this article by Michael Lee really interesting:
I could not have been more out of my element. For a young keyboardist more at home with face-melting rock anthems than four-part harmony, it was a huge adjustment. Not only did I need to learn new musical styles and a new repertoire, I had to learn to think differently about the technology we were using in the service. If you’re a contemporary worship leader stepping in to lead congregational worship in a traditional setting, let me share four things I learned along the way.
Michael goes on to list four things to keep in mind when leading worship in a traditional service, such as:
Turn down the lead vocal mic.
In a contemporary service, we often mix audio at a level where the sound envelops the listener, so that there’s a kinetic reaction to the experience even if they aren’t singing along. When we’re leading, we get nervous if our mic isn’t loud enough to sing out over the congregation. In a traditional service, the congregation doesn’t need that kind of leadership. As I’m often reminded by some of our church members, they know these songs better than I do! Traditional congregations love to sing, they love to hear themselves singing, and cranking up the lead vocal mic can get in the way. That sense of overwhelming power and sonic envelopment? That’s the job of the organ.
That’s definitely a different sonic environment from what I’m used to!
What about you? Do you have any tips for leading a traditional service?