expressive worship

To Move or Not to Move – it’s One of the Questions

There are a lot of psychological and spiritual reasons why we don’t want to move when we’re on the platform. Many people think it’s distracting.

And it can be distracting when it’s done at inappropriate times. But it’s also distracting if it’s not done when it is appropriate!

We should always look to keep the integrity of the song. Musically, for instance, if you have a sweet song where the lyrics are really, really important, you don’t want to be singing your brains out and drawing attention to your voice. You want to be singing less.

Or, if you’re playing a rockin’ song, you don’t use a nylon string guitar. You’d play something that has some dirt in it. Something to give it a tense sound, because it’s rockin’! We use the appropriate sound for the song.

Well, it’s the same thing visually. We want to do the appropriate movement in the song. And it’s not doing the same thing over and over again. And I’m not talking about sliding across the stage on your knees. For a singer/songwriter that would be goofy, completely out of context.

But I don’t think that everything for an hour, hour and a half, twenty minutes, or however long you play and sing… has to look the same.

One of the reasons players and singers don’t move is because moving feels uncomfortable. That’s totally normally! Anytime you do something new, it’s not natural.

When I first started throwing free throws in basketball, I didn’t walk up to the line and say “hey, this feels natural!” I had to find a groove, I had to learn technique, I had to understand how to do it correctly.

But not moving at all because it’s uncomfortable, or it’s not us, or it’s unnatural – that is goofy! Learning to be comfortable moving onstage is a process. You need to practice it over and over and over again.

You also need to understand how to move and what the congregation or audience expects. That’s where we are happy to help you! What we do is all part of helping you develop as an artist onstage. Because if you can move with confidence, authority, and humility, the people listening to you will receive what you do.

But, if you’re self-conscious and afraid to try it – you try it once and somebody criticizes you, so you close up – then you’re down to “I hope that people hear the words and like my voice. I hope that works.” It is hard work to get through the discomfort. I have never worked with an artist that starts out feeling comfortable with something new that I’ve given them to do onstage.

But if you know where to move onstage and you move there with purpose and authority and (because you’ve worked on it) you have muscle memory so that it looks natural (not canned and planned), then your audience will respond to you more than if you just kind of “wing it” or do the same thing over and over.

And when that happens, then your music gets out there, your message is received, you make more money from product sales, and your fulfillment as a musician is heightened.

And you’re doing your best with what God has called you to do.

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Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson, world renowned Live Music Producer, helps musicians and worship teams develop songs into “unique worship moments.” His Live Music Methods help create freedom in the room so your congregation can express their worship more freely and passionately than ever before! Tom has worked with nearly every genre from rock to pop to Christian Gospel, impacting major artists and worship leaders such as Jars of Clay, Casting Crowns, NewSong, Sidewalk Prophets, Chris Tomlin, Francesca Battistelli, Todd Agnew, Phillips, Craig & Dean, Parachute Band, The Martins, plus a multitude of independent artists.

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  1. Dan says:

    Great blog Tom!!!!

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