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Musician Resource Reviews (by Kim Gentes)

Kim reviews musician training or resources. Musician resources may be DVD training, songbooks or even enhanced CDs with video or music resources.  Basically, the term is for anything that is not a regular listening CD, but has to do with helping musicians and/or congregations learn the music and play it for a local church worship service.

Entries in training (5)

Whiteboard Worship Training / Dan Wilt (2011)

Whiteboard Worship Training

Over the last 20 years, I have lead a lot of rehearsals and worked with a lot of bands. I wish I had watched this series of amazing teachings from Dan Wilt on some very practical guidelines to rehearsals. And that is just one topic covered by his new "Whiteboard Worship Training" sessions. WOW.


Dan Wilt's "Whiteboard Worship Training" sessions are just about perfect. They are clear, excellent content with perfect, punctual and enjoyable presentation. There is a reason Dan is the premier teacher in the body of Christ on all things worship- he is a brilliant thinker and great presenter. The videos are literally 3-5 minutes each, and jam packed with truly usable information.

All wrapped up in his practical style that shows Dan is "one of us", who isn't talking down to anyone, but is sharing from years of experience and the joy of a gifted leader. The first video "How To Lead A Great Worship Band Rehearsal" is FREE. Even if you aren't interested in taking his whole course, go check out this one free video. Really great stuff. Dan has hit the nail on the head with this -- it is how we will all be learning in the 21st Century. Perfect.


Format: Online
Producer/Instructor: Dan Wilt 

Check it out online at :


Learning with you,
Kim Gentes


What Is Worship? - Dan Wilt (2006)

There are as many definitions of "worship" in the church as there are teachers, which results in a myriad of reflection, study and teachings on the topic.  Captivating this topic in a helpful video symposium, Vineyard Worship resources and host Dan Wilt have gathered some of the most insightful and influential voices in the global church.  The new DVD entitled "What is Worship ?" serves as a panorama of expression from scholars like Peter Fitch, N.T. Wright, Peter Davids and Don Williams.  Adding pastors and writers such as John Wimber, Derek Morphew, and John Eldredge, along with worship leaders Matt Redman, Brian Doerksen, David Ruis, Tim Hughes, Kathryn Scott and Nigel Briggs this DVD teaching tool is an hour and ten minutes of coordinated walk through many topics centered around a culturally-current definition of worship.

"What is Worship?" walks through topics such as "Who we worship", "Why we worship" and "how we worship" as it prepares the viewer by laying the groundwork for its thesis. In the 5th chapter of the DVD (about 12minutes into it) Dan Wilt frames a definition of worship that is expanded up in the remaining 11 chapters of the DVD.   In listening and watching a DVD like this, I started off thinking, " I already know what worship is.  I am not going to learn much here."  I was wrong.  I found myself learning a lot, and then re-watching the DVD two more times to soak in.

What I enjoyed most about the DVD was the teaching from N.T. Wright, who's scriptural understanding of the throne room scene in Revelation 4 and 5 is particularly insightful.  Discussion with scholar Peter Fitch and Don Williams were also excellent, as was a genuinely personal interview with Matt Redman.  I found the pastoral contributions of John Wimber and David Ruis to be both well thought and challenging.  Noted author John Eldredge (whose books include "Wild at Heart", "Sacred Romance", and others) contributes a short, but very welcomed warning for our church culture to remain clear on the balance of major and minor messages in the Christian life.

The DVD has the nuance of a 60-minutes style interview/monologue interlaced with a teaching style outline framing the chapters and their transitions by Dan Wilt.  It is a viewing experience that is very easy to enjoy and learn.  The videography is well done, save a couple of clips of archive footage that were integrated into the DVD.  The DVD has options for Spanish and Dutch subtitles, as well.

This DVD could easily be the basis for a 3 or 4 week small group, and it is nicely segmented for stop and start viewing, if needed.  In fact, one thing you should be aware of is that its likely you can't digest the material in the hour and ten minutes in which it is presented.  This is simply because the points are rendered quickly and the presentation moves on.  If you aren't watching it carefully, you will miss points made along the way, which is a great argument for watching it multiple times. Alternatively, viewing this DVD in segments (4 chapters at a time) would be a great way to walk through it in a group.  A good application of this would be for a worship leader to present 15 minutes of this DVD to their worship/praise team as a teaching tool during a rehearsal or team meeting.  Not only would it fuel discussion, but would expose the team to some excellent teaching.

This DVD is a very well-thought, well-presented tool, that is useful in any church. I highly recommend it.  You can view online details (chapter titles) and an extended online video of the DVD by clicking on/viewing the clip above.

Product Link: What Is Worship? (DVD)

Review by Kim Gentes

Acoustic Guitar - Paul Baloche (2005)

Musicians have always understood something about learning and playing music. Moving from the use of basic constructs and components, like notes, rhythms, chords and strums, the way on to proficiency is two-fold: modeling and intrinsics. Ask any quality musician and they will tell you that understanding the instruction and mechanics of playing an instrument are just the building blocks of music. How you take those skills and apply them will develop into your style. Modeling is simply learning by example. When speaking of intrinsics in music, we are talking about the nuances that are part of the instrument and its operation, but need a veteran to really bring them out.

"Acoustic Guitar", the latest instructional DVD from Paul Baloche's Modern Worship Series, is a complete volume built on these ideas- modeling the intrinsics of playing an acoustic guitar to the average rhythm guitar player. Paul serves as your own acoustic guitar version of Yoda, taking you through all the secrets of the instrument. But unlike his Jedi Master counterpart in the movies, Paul's digital video version of your trials won't leave you frustrated or turning to the dark side. The techniques learned in this DVD are the summation of every good nuance, tip and hint that a rhythm guitar player or worship leader/guitarist will need to know and (for some of us) may have searched for years to find.

Paul starts off with simply tuning the guitar, which is the slowest part of the DVD. But don't let derail you. The first major concept Paul introduces is what he calls the "open chord" concept, something familiar to most acoustic guitarists leading contemporary worship. Paul makes clear how you can play dozens of songs in the key of E by using open faced A2-form chords across the fret board. If that sounds complicated, don't worry about it, Paul will have you in the "know" in just a few minutes with his great, personal style and patience in explaining each detail he is demonstrating. He spends a lot of time explaining, showing, exampling this method, and this is good because this one technique is enough for weeks worth of revising and enhancing your current repertoire into an uncluttered modern acoustic sound.

From there it's an X-wing fighter, rocket ship ride through 24 "chapters" in which Paul covers a blizzard of techniques. But no techniques are tossed out without an example. He painstakingly shows you exactly what to do, and always gives a song sample in which it can be used. In fact, every single technique on this DVD is accessible to the average Joe (or Luke) acoustic guitar player, save perhaps the very last topic, when our guitar teaching Yoda makes us face those dreaded barre chords. But that time you have gone through everything from finger picking, using a capo, strumming patterns, to right/left hand dampening, walkdowns, and triads. There is far too much content on this DVD to review in detail, which is due in large part to Paul's personal approach and taking time on each topic to show and explain everything. But even with the 2 hours and 30min of digital footage on this DVD, you will have material enough for many weeks of practicing and incorporating the excellent instruction communicated here. Feel free to take breaks, come back after a couple days practicing one especially pertinent concept, and just jump back in. This is exactly what instructional DVDs are supposed to be!

One thing to keep in mind is that this is not really a lesson plan or a progressively built method of learning guitar. The person most suited for this DVD is the average acoustic guitar player or worship leader. You will need understanding of what the basic open faced chords are, and how to play regular strumming patterns with them. It helps if you are familiar with how a chord is constructed, but that is not absolutely necessary. I would guess that 95% of the acoustic guitar playing worship leaders out there would greatly benefit from this DVD, even those with strong proficiency, because it will force you to re-establish all these important concepts not only in your mind, but make you practice along with Paul as he strums and hums along through every topic. And for those of you who think you are pretty much master's at this point, then I would suggest this DVD for another reason- a teaching tool. Most people who are exceedingly proficient at an instrument have little ability, if any, to help communicate their craft to people of average ability. The beauty of this, and all of Paul's resources, is that Paul is a master communicator as well as musician. You aren't talked down to and you aren't left dumbfounded in the wake of endless technical terms. It's just you and your Jedi Master of acoustic guitar (Paul) sitting down for many, many mini-session of great training.

So if you want to excel at your acoustic guitar skills, this DVD is absolutely perfect for you. If you are a master already, this DVD is exactly what will communicate what others have been asking you to show them but you have not been able to explain.

The companion instructional booklet is an excellent resource. It is a PDF downloadable file that comes with the purchase of the DVD (you will have a free link for it online once you purchase the DVD), and it is a scripted outline of the DVD from start to finish. Not only does it include every chord and progression played, but also references and content to the songs exampled too.

The "Acoustic Guitar" instructional DVD is an easy winner of our Editor's Choice Award for an exceptional resource- great job Paul! If you are a guitar player, this is a resource you really should have at least one of for your church music/worship department library. Well, I am off to practice my triads in galaxy far, far away...

Product Link: Modern Worship Series -Acoustic Guitar with Paul Baloche - Instructional DVD

Review by Kim Gentes

Hear Harmony Series / Rachelle Randeen (2004)

Hear Harmony I, II, and Warm Up

Hear Harmony was the winner of the 2004 Resource of the Year from

Hear Harmony are Vocal Training CDs focusing on harmony through independent singing in rounds, parallel 3rds, finding a starting pitch and harmonizing above or below the harmony. There are 3 CDs available in the series and each focuses on training through actual particpatory exercises. Demonstration followed by an opportunity to sing along.


Hear Harmony is a wonderful 2 CD set that introduces the concept of learning to sing harmony. The Lessons begin with the very basics of teaching the listener come concepts for ear-training. In order to sing harmony one must start with ear training. Hear Harmony does a wonderful job of teaching the listener to pick out the differences between melody and harmony lines in a song using 2 familiar songs most of us learned as children. 

Succeeding the first five sessions, the lessons break in to the real strength of the Hear Harmony method: the exercises. The exercises start at a very basic level and as they progress the build on each previous exercise. The exercises begin by singing numbers in the steps of the major scale and learning to sing in parallel thirds, which is the most common that we hear on a daily basis. The lessons then segue into singing notes using solfeg (i.e. doe, ray, me) and the first CD finishes with the building upon previous lessons and singing over different chord progressions and harmonizing to melodies that have skips in the intervals of the notes. When you break in to the second CD, the fun really begins. You are shown what it sounds like to sing in and out of tune on a harmony line and how to train your ear to hear the difference. The harmony exercises become more complex with continuing to learn to sing harmony at a third and forth interval above the melody line and when each is appropriate. 

The reward start to come in the second half of the CD as you move from exercises to working out harmony parts on familiar songs such as Are You Sleeping, Jesus Loves Me, Amazing Grace and others. This is where the exercises really begin to make sense as they are applied in these songs. As you continue to practice the exercises and sing along with the songs, you will grow stronger in learning to sing harmony. The only difficulty that I noticed in working through the lessons is that it can get tedious and at times, monotonous. But if you think back to learning to play an instrument in school the practice although time consuming and sometimes difficult to follow through on, did pay dividends if you stuck with it. The same is true of these lessons. 

If you have never been able to sing harmony in the past, this double CD set will help you, but it is not going to come overnight. If you are able to sing harmony to some degree, this CD will help you understand some of the wherefores behind singing harmony and you will improve. Even if you have been singing harmony for years, you will be able to glean something from the Hear Harmony CD, even if it is just using the scales as warm-up exercises. All in all I think that the Hear Harmony CD set would be a great tool in any worship leaders library

Review by Brian Bloom

Editor's Note: Not only as an editor, but as a worship leader, I must completely agree with Brian's review of the Hear Harmony Vocal Training CDs (see the review below). We need more solid resources like this in the church. So many vocal resources strive to fix & perfect technique but don't actually teach people (from scratch) the simple how-to's of attaining proper pitch (whether in a harmony or melody context). I was so happy to see this being done, and done with excellence, we decided to select Hear Harmony Vocal Training with our Editor's Choice Award. Great work, Hear Harmony! Great review Brian! I strongly encourage ALL you worship leaders and vocalists (current and hopefuls!) out there to seriously investigate this great new resource. Be sure you check out both Part 1 and Part 2 of this resource (available on separate CDs).  Kim Gentes

Executive Producer: Joe Randeen 
Producer/Instructor: Rachelle Randeen 
Vocalists: Andreana Arganda, Raquel Cooke, Murray Hiebert, Tony Sanchez 
Engineer: Jeff Dykhouse


Available online at Amazon at:

Hear Harmony Part 1
Hear Harmony Part 2


In the harmony with you,
Kim Gentes


Modern Worship: Music Styles - Paul Baloche (2003)

The era of the DVD has arrived. This has become more evident by the number of various products found in DVD format. And the area of worship music has actually been a recent strong adopter of the digital video format. From iWORSHIP brand products by Integrity, to great live worship videos from Hillsong Music to artist worship concerts with Michael W. Smith and Third Day, praise and worship has gone digital with the major releases. Now worship leader/songwriter Paul Baloche has blazed the trail by presenting the first edition in a series of instructional DVDs for worship leaders and worship teams. This first DVD is entitled "Worship Styles".

While the DVD is an independently produced effort by Paul Baloche, the videography on this DVD is top notch. A nicely set 6-camera presentation, with excellent audio, transitions, effects and edits, this DVD is far above normal indie video efforts. Introducing the main content is a brief talk with Paul, as he strolls down the street, coffee cup in hand. And this really sets the mood for the presentation of this DVD- you are invited into a relaxed, but intentional session with Paul and "the band" bringing you fruther along on your trek as worship team.

The main content of "Worship Styles" is a worship team teaching tool that walks through a single song in no less than 6 different stylings: traditional, celtic, reggae, rock, country and R&B. A jazz rendering is also added to the end of the DVD, but not discussed at length. The DVD works this way: first, the song is played through once in the style; then Paul Baloche discusses the main concepts of the style. Finally, each instrumentalist breaks down the individual parts of the song in that style, describing and playing the part for all to see and play along with. The instruments covered are bass guitar, drums, keyboards, electric guitar and acoustic guitar. Each instrumentalist is an extensively accomplished musician, who talks the language and plays the grooves with precision and meaning.

It would be unrealistic to try to match the level of musicians presented in this DVD with your local worship team, but fortunately, that is not the goal of this instruction. Instead, the musicians play precise stylings that most mid-level players can copy and practice to make their own. The beauty of this DVD is that Paul taps in on something all of us have known for a long time- don't tell us how to play something, show us. Nearly all of the garage band musicians out there learned (at least in part) by watching someone else play. The weakness of some traditional training is the "book and classroom" methods that don't incorporate extensive amounts of "show-and-tell". Paul brings us some digital music mentors in this video, letting us sit in on sessions on how to construct (one instrument at a time) a song into the style of your choice.

Let's be clear, you won't learn basic music theory or simple "how to play your instrument" lessons on this DVD. But you will take the essential rudiments that each instrument needs to compose a consistent, polished sound for a given style. For example, drummer Carl Albrecht gives precise example and instruction on how to lay down the two variations of country beats needed in two parts of a country style rendition of "All Hail The Power of Jesus Name". After that, bassist Don Harris explains and lays down the bass parts. And so on, with the keyboards, electric guitar and the rhythm acoustic guitar. Each style is walked through in this same fashion, giving the video consistency and content. Throughout the transition from style to style, Paul also talks candidly about his struggles as a worship leader in a local church to use various styles. The talk is light, but meaningful, and a refreshing bridge across the "meat" of the musical examples laid out in this presentation. Paul and his coffee penchant return as the DVD is concluded by a lengthy black and white interview with Southern California pastor Bob Branch. In that discussion, Paul and Bob settle the melee for worship leaders and pastors on how they can come together and work as a team for the good of their local churches.

If you are wanting to sample some of the DVD, we have created a short online preview for you of the Worship Styles DVD Preview [ Windows Media | Realplayer ] . Click on the format you prefer to see the preview.

I liked this DVD so much, I watched it over and over to see if I had missed any obvious flaws or gaps in the content or production- to make sure my lauds wouldn't be misplaced. I could find any flaws. What will be evident to anyone leading a contemporary worship team (drums, bass, piano, guitars) is the excellent encouragement this will bring to you and your band. Not only do you learn the proper rudiments for the style, but (as a leader) the language for communicating that to your musicians. Giving an Editor's Choice to "Worship Styles" DVD is a no-brainer, as this product blazes the trail to an era of digital training resources which many will, no doubt, follow. And as they do, they would do well to follow in Paul's example by using not only top quality people, but excellent production in the project. Congrats on a great resource, Paul!

Product Link:  Music Styles With Paul Baloche Modern Worship Series (DVD)

Review by Kim Gentes