Fire Camp India

I’m so pleased to be launching a fundraising drive today!

I’m going to Hyderabad in India to do some Christian Charity work in September 2013.  I’ll be the only Brit amongst 35 Americans! I’ve put together a video so you can see some of the things I’ll be doing while I’m there.  For more information on some of the charities I’ll be working with follow these links ACET India, The Joy House.

You can make donations using the PayPal button below every donation will make a difference in the lives of those we meet and love on when we are there.

Thanks so much for your support.

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CTF UK Soaking In His Presence

This conference is for anyone who wants to know more of God’s unwavering, fully committed, all encompassing love for them.

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CTF UK Soaking In His Presence

12-13th February 2010
Holmer Green Baptist Church
The Common, Holmer Green
Nr High Wycombe/Amersham
HP15 6TD

www.holmergreenbaptist.org.uk

Cost: £25 sing/£45 married couple if pre-registered
– £30 single/£50 married couple if paying on the door
– OR £7 per session attended.

Session Times: 10am, 2pm & 7pm Friday & Saturday

Contact uk@ctfministries.com or phone 01978 353984

Should Women Worship Leaders Sing in Male Keys?

This is a good topic to write about. In so many churches you find that the female worship leaders are having to push their voices to try and hit notes that are difficult, this is not because they can’t sing very well. It is because the Key of the song is too high for a woman.  My vocal coach says that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, meaning that if you don’t have the full picture you can find yourself tied up in knots  (I’m explaining because I didn’t really understand the saying until I met her).

We are given a natural vocal ability, we can move past our natural ability but that will take time and training.  Some of the songs that we sing at church are complex which means that they won’t always fit into our natural range, this is where technical singing comes into play.

So lets talk about our natural voice, you know that place where what you’re singing is neither too high or too low.  I struggled with this one for years. I felt that I couldn’t sing because I couldn’t hit the high notes or any notes sometimes!

I discovered that the reason I was struggling to sing was because everything was pitched so high. I think that is mainly because the worship scene is dominated by male worship leaders, bless them, naturally they are going to sing within their vocal range and so they should.

Women are typically divided into three groups: soprano, mezzzo-soprano and alto.

  • Soprano -The soprano is the highest female voice.
  • Mezzo-soprano-The mezzo-soprano is the most common female voice.
  • Alto-The alto voice is the lowest female voice.

(I have generalised here as there are many sub-categories to the three categories above and I encourage you to find out for yourself where your voice fits in)

The most common female voice is not the highest  in the female range so why are we (women) singing in uncomfortable keys?

Girls if you are leading worship at church transpose the keys to keys that you can sing in comfortably.  Make sure you give new chord charts to the band, unless they are used to working with women because they will be used to playing the songs in male keys and it won’t feel like a comfortable set piece for them.  If you don’t know how to transpose enlist the help of someone who does.

When you are singing in a vocal range that suits your voice you will feel more confident about what you are doing and you will have vocals in reserve for the highs in the service when you want to push into the heavens.

Finally when you choose your keys make sure that you pitch the songs as high as possible, you are called to lead men and women in worship so try your best to include both sexes, this is honouring to God and to our congregations.  Guys I challenge you to do the same, pitch songs as low as you can so that you are including everyone to the best of your ability.

We Give You All The Glory – Free Track (Limited Offer)

Free Track Download

Here’s my Christmas present to you, a free track from the album. The song is called “We Give You All The Glory.”  You can download it by clicking on the download link on player on the right.

The song is a favourite with many people who have purchased the album, if you haven’t got a copy you can buy one from this site.

The song begins with piano and vocals which creates a lot of space and then it gradually builds up to an anthem of praise.

I wrote if for many reasons, the heart of the song is to give God all the Glory, letting Him know that we know that if we are moved in worship it’s because of Him, if we are encouraged it’s because of Him, if we are healed it’s because of Him.  I could go on but I think you get the picture.

I hope you enjoy the track feel free to let your friends know about the free download and share the track.

Recording the album – Mix days

Pat had given me more rough mixes of the songs.  He wanted me to listen to the recordings at home and then feedback to him.  The family and me listened to the songs, I made notes of their comments and suggestions.  I had extensive notes on all the songs.  

Finally the recording process was finished and mixing could begin.  Pat and I first went through each track listening carefully to everything.  We adjusted sound levels, picked the best vocal parts, discussed which instruments would play and where.  

Pat mixed and tweaked and mixed and tweaked.  We agreed that the lead vocals for ‘At The Foot Of The Cross’ needed to be re-recorded so we did that.  We worked through all my notes until we had final mixes.  Again Pat sent me home with the mixes so that I could listen to them outside of the studio environment.  

I listened to the tracks over and over just to be sure that everything was good.  I made more notes and then we worked on them.  Once we had got all the songs sounding the way that we wanted we sat down and listened to the tracks again, we made more notes, then we tweaked.  We continued this process for two days.  My ears were like sonar by this point I could hear a pin drop!  Pat was amazing.

At the end of the three mix days I left the studio with the final mixes.  I felt that I needed fresh ears on the project so I asked a couple of people if they would feedback to me.  

I listened to the tracks on headphones, on surround sound and in the car.  I knew what needed to happen in order to improve the project.  So I made more notes, I re-wrote the tag line for ‘I Love You Lord’, worked out the backing vocal parts and went back into the studio.  I spent another day in the studio with Pat re-recording, tweaking and working on the songs.  

I was really happy with how the album was sounding.   I think up to this point my inner compass was telling me to keep on working at it.   Again I listened and listened and listened to the recording.  I did go back to the studio for another hour or so and then was happy for the project to go to the next stage.  Mastering!

Recording the album – day 2

On day two Rob and I arrived at the studio for 9 am, Rob now had his producer hat on, he has an amazing ear for musical detail.  Rob heard errors in the recording that nobody else could. 

I had arranged for Tim (Keys) to come in and lay his tracks, Steve was due in after Tim and Amy Jane (viola) was popping in to lay her tracks while Steve was taking a break. 

Tim had been at the first rehearsal and was confident that he could lay his parts in a couple of hours, but because the songs had evolved so much since the first rehearsal it took much longer than anticipated.  If time and money are driving factors make sure your musicians are at all, or as many rehearsals as possible.  Another option would be to get someone to fill in for them and then bring them up to speed.

On day two we began to fall behind but by the end of the day all the keys, electric and viola parts were down and we were back on track.  Everybody was working really hard. 

steve-at-the-controlsSteve at one point recorded himself, which I thought was amazing.  He was in the control room with the rest of us playing the guitar while the amp was in the live room (this is a standard set up in recording studios).  steve-in-the-control-roomIt must have been quite pressurising for him with us all watching him, he’s a cool cucumber.

When Amy Jane popped in we listened to the scratch tracks that we had come up with at  our one on one meeting, Then she recorded her parts.  She normally plays in concert halls with lots of other musicians so the recording process felt a bit alien to her, she adapted well.  

It was really important to reassure all the musicians as they recorded and gave of themselves, because its such a nerve racking thing to do, the whole process can leave you feeling really insecure.  We ended day two with Steve coming up with some inspired stuff on the electric.