What is "Worship Music"?

BGDurham

Well-known member
As a non-religious person returning to drumming after a long hiatus I have been reading about "Worship Music". I understand it is played in church, but is it a genre of music itself? When did this come about? What is special about drumming in Worship Music and why are there "Worship" cymbal packs??? Help a heathen out!
 

Thin Shell

Active member
Worship music is music played in churches that have "contemporary" services. In other words, instead of traditional choir and organ or piano, there is music that is played by more modern instruments. Drums, guitar, bass, keys, brass or any other number of instruments you would normally associate with secular popular music. It can be acoustic, electric or amplified acoustic.

Worship cymbal packs, that's a new one on my so I had to look it up. It looks just like a marketing ploy. It looks like they putting these packs of cymbals together than are not as bright and lively as traditional cymbals like Zildjian As or Sabian AA. Zildjian is utilizing K's which are darker, have shorter sustain and are more suited to music that isn't meant to be all that loud.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I've played traditional and contemporary in large and small churches. Well really it was traditional with modern take because they have large orchestras and choirs and then music ministers/conductors who decide how it will be played-so it can change fast actually-like we practice one thing and then practice before service change it up. There is usually a line up of drummers-the main thing is keeping time and controlling volume-it's not hard stuff. Most have multiple services in different sanctuaries of different sizes-2,500 to 500 or so in size in smaller churches or a large church that still has an old small sanctuary as well as large. I actually liked the traditional service with orchestra more because it more like a big band production and it took more finesse-the contemporary more rock oriented (and it's just not my thing anymore). I hadn't gigged in decades till I came out of shell and started playing in front of people at church. One of the music guys was also conductor of a civic orchestra, big band, and jazz group and he plugged me into some great opportunities. It was all an awesome experience. If you haven't heard a Brooklyn tabernacle choir song or even some local big choir/big orchestra play some traditional songs with a modern take you have missed something. It's moving-like the walls breathing man. Here's a Brooklyn tab song-
 
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Sakae2xBopster

Well-known member
There is a spectrum of "worship" music often dependent on the setting, from huge protestant megachurches, to a medium-sized Catholic church that I attend, to small independent churches. I don't know about synagogues or mosques.

I think it's hard to be a good worship drummer because there often are so many constraints. Tempos tend to be slow, you're often stuck way in the back in a plexiglass enclosure, you do a lot of cymbal rolls or whooshes with soft mallets. A really talented music director can improve the experience immensely.

Worship drummers have been a boon to companies in the US like Sweetwater. Thousands and thousands of kits are in churches. Whenever I'm in an unfamiliar church (pre-Covid, that is), I walk up front afterwards and have a look at the kit. The gear is often pretty sweet! As for "worship pack" cymbals, maybe it's an easier sell for the music director to make to the church's financial officer. I've heard a lot of offerings taken for specific purposes (high school mission trips, new roof, etc.) but never for a new set of cymbals!

I've only been an observer. The closest I ever came was playing drums for "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat" as a teenager at a local church, which was loads of fun, actually, because the music director was a real character.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I have played worship music in a few different churches of various sizes for over 20 years. On a basic level, worship music is just about any music played in churches. In regards to these "worship cymbal packs," this is just cymbal companies putting together products to market to churches. To be honest, a lot of people who are in charge of buying the church's gear have no clue about music gear, so when they see something called a "worship cymbal pack," they will be more likely to get it as opposed to cymbals that are branded "rock cymbal pack" even though they may contain some of the same cymbals.

With that said, I endorse Heartbeat cymbals which are marketed to churches, but I use them in playing rock, Americana, bluegrass/newgrass, and country because they are fantastic and do what I need them to do.

This is one of my favorite worship songs that I've played quite a bit:

 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
I have been playing praise and worship music in three different churches under six different leaders. We have about 180 praise and worship CD's that span just about every musical style, tempo, and volume. I have been doing this for thirty years. Peace and goodwill.
 

Armor of Light

Senior Member
As a non-religious person returning to drumming after a long hiatus I have been reading about "Worship Music". I understand it is played in church, but is it a genre of music itself? When did this come about? What is special about drumming in Worship Music and why are there "Worship" cymbal packs??? Help a heathen out!

Always ads for 'worship music' musicians around here. It's kind of annoying TBH..
 

roncadillac

Member
I have been playing praise and worship music in three different churches under six different leaders. We have about 180 praise and worship CD's that span just about every musical style, tempo, and volume. I have been doing this for thirty years. Peace and goodwill.

Wow, you are probably rock solid to a click!
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Likely a dumb question, but where do the Twinkies chops 'gospel chops' fit into all of this?
Spend a few years in a predominantly white, suburban church. Then attend a predominantly black inner-city church. If you can’t figure out where the fills go, take up French Horn. 😉

I’ve never seen cymbal packs called “Worship” packs. While it seems to be superfluous, it probably works. I’ve seen churches buy kits, cymbals, heads, etc., and in the 25+ years of drumming for churches I never saw a drummer buy the gear. It’s always a desk jockey, sound guy, or music director and other people who don’t learn about the Drum kit as an instrument.

Another perk for playing drums at church: no late nights, no groggy Saturday or Sunday mornings, no drunken buffoons asking to “try out“ the kit. Plus, the music isn’t prog rock. It’s easy so people can sing & dance to it without giving it much thought.
 
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Lennytoons

Senior Member
I've played contemporary Christian music for several years now. At it's best it's a means of worshiping God and can be very powerful. It took me a while to get used to playing it. I've always been a groove drummer, playing Motown, soul, funk and rock. A lot of the drummers in the CC genre almost want to re-invent the wheel. Oftentimes, there is no groove, only an endless series of fills and crashes. To me, this distracts from the music and the purpose for the music. James Brown said "You can jump out of that groove if you want to but you better jump right back in." Here's an example of a song we've done that I like...cool drum parts and not a lot of overplaying.

 

Old PIT Guy

Well-known member
Spend a few years in a predominantly white, suburban church. Then attend a predominantly black inner-city church. If you can’t figure out where the fills go, take up French Horn. 😉

So 'gospel chops' came about in black inner-city churches, and its claim to fame is extremely busy fills. I get that. I guess what I'm asking is how does playing all over the song become a thing that someone aspires to? And Twinkies.
 
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