expressive worship

Be the Unique Person God Made You

Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.

Taking risks can be a scary thing. In all the years I’ve worked with musicians and singers, I can’t recall one who didn’t have an invisible wall of fear – something they were afraid or uncomfortable to try.

But if you want to be the unique person God made you, using the special gifts and abilities you have, pouring your personality into whatever you do – you need to have the courage to take risks! You can’t always just “play it safe.”

If I do my job as a Live Music Producer correctly in the rehearsal room, and if there is freedom to explore ideas, then artist development happens, and the artist will eventually be confronted with their wall of fear.

And if you want to grow as an artist, then you’ll need to take chances! Here are some places to take those chances:

In your planning. One time I was developing an artist’s #1 radio song. I’d been listening to it multiple ways and places to get ideas: in the office, before bed, on vacation, through headphones, on my stereo, using different EQ’s to hear different parts pop out. I got an idea to develop a rhythmic part.

As I began to hear the rhythms in my head, I started getting excited about working with the band, developing the idea. I could see in my mind’s eye the standing ovation they’d get at the end of the song.

Immediately I experienced a feeling of apprehension and fear: “what if it doesn’t work?” Not everyone in the band had great rhythm… could we pull off a cool rhythmic thing like this? So I had a choice to make. Do I bring the idea to rehearsal, or do I scrap it and have them play it as recorded? After all, it was a #1 song.

I chose to take the chance.

In the rehearsal room. So the band and I started our marathon week of rehearsals working on this #1 song. Most everyone loved my idea and was willing to give it a shot. But one very vocal guy voiced my immediate fears. “Dude, it’s a number one song… why mess with it?” He pulled me aside and said, “Some of these guys have no rhythm. It’ll never work!”

Because I’d seen the end result in my mind’s eye, I didn’t listen to this guy and my fear. I told him “let’s give it a shot… besides, your contribution is needed to make this work!” (He actually had great rhythm.)

We spent that entire first day working on the idea, adjusting the complexity of the drum break to fit the players – some had simple parts, some more complicated – and it worked magnificently! Afterward, the dissenter came up and said, “Dude, I thought you were crazy” (this was the first time we’d worked together) “but I’m glad you persisted… this will be the highlight of the show!”

And it was.

On the platform. When you’re in a groove and everyone loves what you’re doing… or you’re in front of a hometown crowd where you can do nothing wrong… or on a night when all the planets align… in these situations, listen to your instincts and take a chance.

People who are unwilling to take risks will have a hard time developing the uniqueness that separates them from other artists. Some musicians develop this uniqueness through their songwriting, their appearance, or their voice.

But taking risks, in planning, in rehearsal, and on the platform, is key to developing your uniqueness onstage!

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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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