• Behind the Scenes
  • How to Empower Your Sound Team

    By Caleb Chan


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    The role of a sound volunteer is becoming an increasingly crucial need in churches, spanning from simply ensuring that there is sound, to helping create an atmosphere for God-encounters to take place.

    More and more churches and leaders are beginning to recognise the need for, not only available but equipped sound volunteers in the church. However, most don’t know where to start.

    In this post, I hope to help get you started on 3 powerful investments you can make to empower your sound volunteers to rise up and meet the needs of your church.

    1. People Investment

    Unfortunately, the sound team is usually not an area to which much value or attention is given. In my previous post, I encouraged sound crews to view themselves as part of the Worship Ministry. I would like to encourage leaders to view the sound team the same way.

    The sound team is often made up of volunteers who want to be a part of the worship team but do not play an instrument, non-serving members who have been called upon to fill a need (that was how I began), or musicians who double up on sound every other week. It can quickly become a gathering of passionless volunteers who report weekly, turn systems on, and push volume faders.

    You could always start with a simple “Thank you”, and if you already do that, go further! Empower them! If you see a need to meet up with your worship leaders, band members, or singers, then also include your sound team. Involve them in the briefings, debriefs, bible studies, appreciation dinners, meals, and anything else you plan for your worship team.

    Make investments into the lives of the volunteers and crew on your sound team. When you sow into this relationship, I believe you will reap volunteers who serve passionately because they know they are a part of the bigger picture.

    2. Equipment Investment

    A practical way to empower your sound team is to invest in necessary equipment.

    We want our songs and sermons to be heard clearly and audibly, but sometimes our equipment is no longer able to support the ever growing needs of the church. Newer and more capable gear are being released at lower prices these days and it might be time to consider an upgrade.

    I’m not suggesting you go out and purchase the best mixers and speakers available, but perhaps keep in mind that you plan to empower your sound team by providing them with better tools for the job.

    Listen to their needs and opinions, and work towards a good goal. Upgrades can also be done in phases if the budget does not yet allow for a full major upgrade. New gear might also renew interest and desire in your team to learn more, which leads me to my last point…

    3. Training Investment

    You could give a car to an unlicensed driver and he is likely to get into an accident and wreck it.

    One of the best ways to empower your sound team is not only to equip them with the right tools but the necessary know-how in using the tools to operate effectively. There is a common saying that it’s the ears behind the sound that make it sound good. We may never have the perfect system, but we can certainly optimise what we have. To do that, your sound volunteers need to be trained.

    It does not take an engineer with a diploma or degree to achieve good sound, no matter how technical sound can be. There are certain fundamental concepts that can help provide a platform for sound volunteers with no experience to start off. Just as much as we would not like to roster an inexperienced guitarist on the music team, it is unfair to roster a sound volunteer with no training and expect good sound.

    Again, I challenge you to make these investments. Have a plan to develop and empower your sound volunteers and I believe you will see – or hear – the difference!  Empowered sound teams empower worship teams to usher in the Presence of God.

    For more information on Awaken Generation’s Sound Training Courses, please click here.

    Caleb is a full-time live sound & recording engineer and mentor with Awaken Generation.


  • Blog
  • 2017: Heaven’s Invitation to Rise

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    by Alarice

    “And God raised us up with Christ & seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus”
    (Ephesians 2:6)

    Heaven is extending its invitation for us to rise – above the chaos, above the trouble, above our circumstances. No matter the weight of the world, the divisiveness of the state in the political realm, the fluctuation of economy, & no matter the challenges each of us are facing individually, we are called not to be defeatists but to rise above in extravagant worship.  

    As we look forward to the gift of a brand new year in the Lord, it starts with making a decision – not to stay where we currently are but to let the fire of our hunger for Him spur us to deeper realms of knowing Him. We must choose to look beyond the storm just like Peter, to fix our eyes & entire beings on Jesus, to MOVE by faith, to take Him by the hand, & that’s when we meet with the impossible. Walking on water is no longer a dream, but a reality.

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    That is my prayer for each & everyone of you this year in 2017, that you will answer the call of the Father to go deeper in the realms of intimacy of worship – that when you do, He will take you by the hand & raise you up to be seated with Him in heavenly places. & how mind-blowingly beautiful & peaceful it is to be seated right here, in the presence of the King of kings with the perspective of Heaven, gazing on the magnitude of His beauty & majesty, completely shattering the falsity of your finite & fragile world.

    Are you ready to take Him by the hand?  


  • Blog
  • “I’ll be praying for you…” – Sound Familiar?


    by Ian Chew

    “I’ll be praying for you”.  

    We quite often say this as a casual remark to bring comfort to a relative or friend when they are going through difficult moments. Yet, how many of us actually do take time amidst our day to present before God in prayer the person we said we would pray for? Many Christians acknowledge the importance of prayer but struggle in the daily pursuit of it. I know I am guilty of expressing the intention to pray for a person yet never really getting down to it.

    It wasn’t until things starting going wrong for the people around me that this realisation came to light. A friend struggled to find a job. A church member failed a driving test. A colleague suffered from sleepless nights because of spiritual oppression. Suddenly, the Lord convicted me of my negligence & indifference. It is not enough just to have a ‘thought’ or ‘intention’ of praying for someone, & then expect God to come through for them at the end. I needed to contend in prayer intentionally to see breakthrough.


    No, not that the hand of God is manipulated through intense & fervent prayer; but that the Lord is passionate about one thing – PARTNERSHIP. The Lord reminded me of this mind-blowing Kingdom truth: He has placed such a weight of power & authority in our lives that until & unless we partake of God’s desires & ask that His will be done, we will not see the fulfillment of things we expect & hope for. How inconceivable it is to recognise that our obedience or lack of it has such a profound effect on the outcome of events & circumstances for those around us!

    “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, & stand in the gap
    before me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

    Ezekiel 22:30

    God is not needy of us; but He desires partnership & wants us to be involved in His redemption story, and He searches for those who would agree with His heart. We carry godly authority – more than we think we do – to shift atmospheres, affect outcomes, heal the sick, break bondages, & simply call things into being. We can all press in to greater things when we partner with God in obedience.

    Ian Chew was part of Awaken Generation’s pioneer vocal stream batch & joined the team mid-2016 as the head of missions & media. Having always had a heart for missions, he yearns to see revival throughout the nations & serves actively in his church’s music ministry as a worship leader. Ian leads the team frequently in prayer, devotions & worship.

  • Behind the Scenes
  • Let It Sound Like – The Story Behind the EP


    by Alarice

    Earlier this year, I wrote a song curiously named ‘I Have a Song’ – a prayerful longing of the heart that sought to bring deeper understanding of the truest form of worship – a surrendered heart of total obedience to God. It is not about the music or something that can be compartmentalized neatly into a service – worship in the rawest form is our unabandoned obedience to follow Jesus because we have been overwhelmed by the love He first showed us. The song posed a question beyond just a melody: What would our worship sound like?

    I believe that the songs written for this EP capture the facets of worship. Prodigal & Come Alive explore the depths of repentance & the need of the human heart for a Saviour.  He is Yahweh – the sound of high exaltation & praise in the presence of a Holy God. & finally, Where the Spirit, a joyous melody of the prisoner set free.

    Let it sound like
    A church alive
    Let it sound like
    Our faith on fire
    Let it sound like
    The song of heaven on earth 

    (I Have A Song – Awaken Generation)

    What do you hear when you listen for the deepest cry of worship?

    I hear the revival of the coldest of hearts, I hear the footsteps of a Father running to embrace His lost child, I hear the cries of a church alive & burning for Jesus, I hear hope for a dying world.

    We pray that as you listen to the songs of this worship EP by Awaken Generation, that you would be ushered into the deepest realms of worship, that it would spark a desire in you to live radically for the God who gave His all for you.

    You can now purchase Let It Sound Like on iTunes – a culmination of a year’s worth of prayer, songwriting & production work by the 2016 student cohort & the Awaken Generation Team. 

  • Blog
  • The Power of Dance


    by Angel Lee

    Shall I let love and love let me
    Entrust to hands pure honesty
    Shall I arise though scarred my face
    To stand and dance without a trace
    Of fear.

    (Heather Clark)

    The body doesn’t lie; it cannot even if we tried. A subtle twitch of a muscle, a held breath, the gaze of the eyes. The body responds to any & every trigger honestly (just think about what your body does when someone scares you from behind), often failing to hide the very emotions we try to conceal.

    The power of dance is found in this honesty of the body to express. We were made to dance; we were created by a creative God to embody movement as part of the expression of our being. The body has the ability to communicate joy, pain, excitement, confusion & everything in between. It is able to create shapes, images & paint pictures like only the human body can. It stirs the imagination & brings the audience into another world altogether.

    The world understands the power of dance, so much so that it is used prolifically in most areas of society today – the education sector, commercial sector, entertainment sector & even just in communities (I really mean void decks & community centres). The world has an understanding of the impact & power of dance that the church at large seems to be unfamiliar with. When it comes to dance, I’ve seen churches fumble at how to even begin, how to educate their congregations & how to effectively use dance in ministry.

    I believe that dance opens up a new realm of worship & connecting with God in the Church. The potential of dance for evangelism, missions, praise & worship, intercession, visual enhancement & in the prophetic needs to be explored & tapped into. Dance in the world needs to be reclaimed for the glory of God. It was made by God, for God & for His Kingdom’s purpose.

    What would it look like for the church to send out mission teams that preach the Gospel through dance, breaking language barriers? What would it look like for services to be interlaced with prophetic dance to Scripture being read? What if dancers danced & healing took place? What if the Church raised up dancers, excellent in skill & heart, & sent them out to the professional dance industry? How then, would dance in the world look like?

    A worship & prophetic dancer, Angel will be joining us next year as a pioneer of Awaken Generation’s Dance Stream. She graduated from LASALLE college of the arts in 2013 with a BA(Hons) in Dance (First Class) specialising in contemporary dance. Her biggest dream is to see a group of technically excellent dancers minister across the nations with dance as its primary mode of sharing The Gospel. 

  • Blog
  • All About That Bass – An Interview with Raymond


    by The Awaken Generation Team

    Okay let’s start off with something easy. What was your journey like as a bassist?

    Oh I’m not really a bassist… I’m a keyboard player right? I started playing in church as a bassist when I was 12 or 13 because no one else wanted to play bass & I really hated it.

    Because it was boring?

    Yes, because it only had four strings & I only played one string at a time (laughs). But about four years ago, I started becoming very interested in bass.


    It’s funny the way it started because it was a complete accident. There was a need for bassists in my church- then again, there’s always a need for bassists in churches. I was in a rehearsal & the worship leader suddenly asked me to play because the scheduled bassist pulled out last minute. So I tried & I sounded good because I understood the concept of bass guitar. I knew how to “lock” it. I never sat down & learnt it formally. I just applied music & band dynamic fundamentals that I already knew.

    What are some simple things that bassists miss out?

    Sometimes bassists miss the most bassic (pun-intended) things. They go straight to learning funky grooves or slapping without even knowing what to look out for in a band setting. For example, simple things like reinforcing the accents of the kick drum or paying attention to phrasing. I don’t blame them for not knowing these things because I think no one ever highlighted it to them.


    So why is AG introducing a bass stream next year?

    I think it’s really answering to that obvious need that churches have – the need for solid bassists who really take ownership of the role. Most of the time, people are just “assigned” to bass because maybe they can play guitar & there is no one else fulfilling that role. & so I think we wanted to start the bass stream to raise up bassists who TRULY understand music, who can use that instrument effectively & not just play notes. The church needs bassists who take the instrument seriously & who understand how crucial their role is.

    What can prospective students expect next year besides understanding their role as bassists?

    We’re going to explore band arrangement, playing techniques, chords & the relationship between chords so that they can fill-in properly. Also, I intend to teach bassists to lead through their instrument because I really believe that bass guitar has the power to change the dynamic in a song – you’re in charge of the harmonies! You can change the colour of the progression with just a simple inversion.

    Some people say that bass isn’t a very “creative” instrument. What do you have to say about that?

    What do you mean?! (fake angry face)

    I mean, people always say that oh, there’s so much space to create on a keyboard or a guitar but I see bassists play the first two strings & that’s it…

    No no, there is actually a lot of space. There is so much frequency to explore but you must know where & when. Inversions, pedal points, counter-melodies… Again, it comes back to knowing your instrument well & knowing what to look out for. For example, when I play with a drummer, I know they have different nuances in how they play their fills. So I try to figure them out & accent my groove accordingly to match them

    So what are the requirements to get into bass stream next year? It’s not that hard right?

    Ah, we are looking for people who can play the guitar just to make sure that they can do basic things like press a string, play some chords & be rooted rhythmically.

    Any last message to prospective students of AG Bass Stream next year?


    Maybe some lame bass jokes?

    Lame? Oh, you mean my high-level jokes? They are strictly for my students only, so you will have to enroll to hear them!

    Raymond Hernandez is the resident Keys & Guitar Mentor at Awaken Generation & soon-to-be Bass Mentor. Besides being a talented multi-instrumentalist & music director, he also enjoys creating excel spreadsheets & thinking up of “high-level jokes” to tell to his students every week.

  • Blog
  • Learning to Write a Congregational Worship Song


    by Alarice 

    I used to think it was the hardest type of song to write.

    When I started to explore the realm of songwriting when I was 14 years old, my natural inclination was to express what was on my heart in the flow of my heart, & in any way that I wanted to. Learning to unleash my unique artistic sound was a necessary & exciting stage in my development as a songwriter. My songs were generally full of stories, life lessons & passions written with a pop/folk influence, & I loved how a song could release the ponderings of the heart into a tangible form that others could capture & make their own.

    As the Lord continued to raise me up in my calling in praise & worship, He deepened a desire for me to not just write songs for myself but to learn to tune into the desires of a PEOPLE & to give them a song to sing. As exciting as this new commission was, I was facing just one problem: I suddenly had a fear that I would not be able to fully express my view in a unique artistic manner anymore. I suddenly saw parameters, almost felt restricted & hindered by the boundaries of writing a worship song. Generally, there’s a few guiding points to follow when writing a congregational worship song that is different to when you’re writing for yourself:

    • Describe an unchanging biblical truth about God BUT
    • …in a way that’s unique so that your song isn’t exactly like thousands of other worship songs. It’s supposed to be fresh.)
    • Melodically easy to catch so it’s easy for a congregation to sing
    • Prophetic – you want to capture what God is saying NOW in this season

    The Lord had to do a work in me to remove the lens of seeing these pointers as restrictions. It was when I learnt to take ownership & believe in my call as a worship leader & songwriter that the mental blocks I saw as ‘artistic restrictions’ were completely smashed & torn down.  The Lord instead unveiled a deep well of unlimited revelations from the heart of the Father – all seeds to write powerful worship songs. I learnt that there were no ‘restrictions’ to writing worship songs when we are in fellowship with Him as He is the giver of all & unlimited songs!


    Two additional pointers I’ve learnt from my journey?

    • Good congregational worship songs are REVELATION-BASED. When writing worship songs, the most powerful ones are those that are written when the truth of God hits not only your head, but your heart! There is a difference between just a beautifully crafted song & a beautifully crafted AND Spirit-breathed song.
    • It is a joy & honour to SERVE people by writing songs for them to worship God with! The pointers serve to guide & help us to achieve that purpose.

    I pray this helps you in your worship songwriting journey!


  • Behind the Scenes
  • Jean Tan: Finding Inspiration as a Songwriter


    by Jean Tan

    Everything can be inspiration.

    I remember turning my head to see the world upside down as a kid; staring at my fingers & wondering how my invisible will could control their tiny movements.

    Today, I wonder at crazy movie plots, the interesting people I meet & the mind-boggling beauty of nature. Many things speak deeply about life & its fullness: its beauty, as well as its pain.

    Once I met a taxi uncle & spoke with him at length, starting with the usual questions of how long he’d driven for & what he thought about the country. Then we arrived at the topic of his family. He hardly saw or talked to his family, seemed evasive when I asked about his children, & through the rear view mirror I saw a deep longing & loneliness in his eyes. That spoke volumes to me about humanity – & how we, like this particular uncle, drift in search for connection despite the seeming busy-ness of everyday business —

    Circle round in a taxi
    In a one-man space of a one-man car

    (‘Taxi’, from the album Dance, 2010)

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    Then there was an insane time of my life when auto-immune kidney disease jolted me out of normalcy & confined me at home months at a go across a span of 5 years. At one point I was 20kg heavier with water, puked 5 times a day for a month, & was so bloated it would take 4-5 tries each time to draw blood or inject medications. My vision was blurry, & walking was difficult.  At that point, the only thing you could do to survive was to focus your mind on what was good & give thanks. I gave thanks for a bed to lie on, for being able to stand for 20 minutes, for being able to sing, even in gasps. For still having the ability to see colour, & all its splendid arrays —

    Even when it’s lonely,
    even when it hurts sometimes
    There is so much more to see
    The little things so beautiful

    (‘Colours’, written for the 28th SEA Games, 2015)

    I’m currently working on my third album, & in the collection are songs inspired by biblical text, poets, pictures of dandelions, & a song cover by Tommy Emmanuel. Anything can be inspiration when we open our eyes to the world & our ears to hear its whispers. Peel your eyes for inspiration & get ready to receive.

    Let to, let in
    Something is waiting
    And where my heart is beating
    I have love to keep me going

    (‘Walls’, to be released in 2017)

    Jean is a part-time songwriting mentor at Awaken Generation. She has released two full-length albums (Dance, 2010; Passage, 2012) with a third to be released in the following year. She is a great educator, worship leader & wonderful woman of faith who has inspired many with her story & simple love for Jesus. 

  • Blog
  • Spontaneous Song: What is it?


    by Gideon Lim

    Spontaneous songs come from the very depths of our hearts. The words that we sing are what we fuel ourselves with, & a spontaneous song is one of the many vessels where truth can be conveyed. Be it a roaring anthem or a tender whisper, God is pleased when we offer up songs to Him that are pure & unadulterated. What one must realize is that spontaneous songs are actually a gift from God – a precious expression of overflowing love & gratitude.

    I used to struggle with how people would respond to my spontaneous song. Is the melody memorable? Do the lyrics make sense? Is my melodic range too wide? Are my stress points on the right beat? Yes, all these factors help to create a powerful, spontaneous anthem, but the truth is that God is looking at the heart of your song. What is the premise of your spontaneous song? Why do you sing your spontaneous song? Who is your audience?


    When I lead devotional sets at Burning Hearts, I always sing spontaneous songs & tend to really like them (most of the time!). The trouble is, I forget quite a lot of them. After the set, I would beat myself up trying to remember the lyrics & melody, thinking that such revelations should be shared with others. Whenever that happens, the Holy Spirit would remind me of what my brother from another mother, Josh Yeoh, once said to me. “Sometimes, the spontaneous songs that you forget are the most pleasing to God. He will never forget those songs even if you do, & those songs were written & sung solely for Him.” No one else needs to hear them! Again, why do you write spontaneous songs? Who are you really writing it for?

    My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
    I address my verses to the king;
    my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

    Psalm 45:1, ESV

    The vein of songwriting is such a good way to connect with the heart of God. If we however write songs solely based on whether it will bless others instead of having a ‘audience of one’ perspective, we lose sight of why we write these songs. So just let your heart overflow with songs & praises unto His name. Let psalms 45 be a reality of your life. Never lose sight of why you write, as when you turn your gaze & affection on the One that is truly holy, all things will start to dim & fade.


    Gideon is a part-time vocal mentor at Awaken Generation & is a gifted worship leader, songwriter, pianist & producer. He graduated with a Degree in Contemporary Writing & Production (magna cum laude) at Berklee College of Music  in 2014 & concurrently serves at Burning Hearts, a local prayer & worship house.

  • Blog
  • How to Avoid Vocal Strain


    We’ve all been there. As the music swells, you feel yourself getting swept up in a wave together with the congregation. An electrifying need arises within you to declare God’s majesty & glory with your whole being. You throw the entire weight of your voice into your words. 20 minutes later, as you exit the stage, you notice the dull pain throbbing in your throat accompanied by a familiar rasp. You’ve lost your voice again.

    Our vocal cords are remarkable instruments capable of producing a rich range of tones & textures with varying volume & intensity. Like all parts of our body, there are limits to how much usage they can withstand, so caring for your voice is important for it to serve you well throughout your lifetime.

    When I sing on stage, sometimes I am unable to hear myself clearly due to a variety of reasons. With no way of gauging how loudly I am actually singing, I usually end up pushing my voice too much. Essentially this results in one’s vocal cords being used beyond what it is capable of doing comfortably. So I’ve learnt how to rely on physical sensations that are produced when singing correctly instead.


    #1 Rely on SENSATION, rather than VOLUME.

    In your practice, try to develop an awareness of the vibrations you experience in your upper body & face as you sing. Everyone will be different but most people will feel them primarily in the nasal, mouth, throat or upper chest cavities. These are your physical cues which will aid you in producing a balanced & controlled tone in situations where you may not be able to hear yourself singing.

    #2 Develop TECHNIQUE

    Vocalists often equate practice with simply learning songs but one also needs to be deliberate about technique development. It is only with thoughtful & focused practice that you improve your singing in areas such as tone, range, control & even musicianship.


    You want to reach a point of skill where your instrument submits to your intention, not your emotion. The more you understand how your voice works & how to nurture its potential, the more you will discover the freedom to truly express what’s in your heart. That is another question to ask – what is it that you are trying to convey?

    The next time you are singing on stage, try recalling the physical vibrations you felt when practicing & use that to guide you. Your vocal cords will thank you for it!

    August is a resident vocal mentor here at Awaken Generation. He has completed grade 8 in ABRSM vocal training & has conducted numerous choirs at many different levels. August’s passion is to help each of his students find & appreciate their own sound, & to use that very sound to worship our King.