drums

  • Behind the Scenes
  • Detours & Destiny

    By Caleb Kay

    27 November 2017: I attended the graduation for Awaken Generation’s Class of 2017 alone as a guest. I was friends with a few members of the staff, had played the drums once or twice with them, but that was it.

    I had just landed a new business development job, with hopes of saving up to head to Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry this year in August. It felt like God was opening all these doors; I had all these plans and dreams in my head.

    I thought I was stepping into my destiny.

    26 January 2018: everything derailed. Towards the end of my 3-month probation, I was unexpectedly let go, and given just three days’ notice of my termination. I was devastated. The entire weekend, I wrestled with my identity and self-worth: “was I really not good enough?”

    I wrestled with God: “why did You open doors only to shut them in my face?”

    Unbeknownst to me, God was setting things in motion. Just the week before my termination, I had arranged for a lunch with Ian and Calvin, just to catch up, and it was at that lunch that I was offered a short-term position at Awaken Generation.

    One year on, as I witnessed our Class of 2018 graduating – now as a full-time staff in Awaken Generation – and thinking about where I was a year ago, I’m truly lost for words at God’s goodness.

    Here are three things I’ve learnt on this journey:

    Detours Are For Growth

    I remember how I felt when I got the news that I was going to be terminated. I remember my mind going into overdrive, planning how to update my resume and who to send it to.

    In the midst of swinging between self-deprecating thoughts and psyching myself up to blast my CV to potential new employers, I suddenly felt a prompting upon my heart to stop and worship. It was so tough and I remember barely getting past a verse and a chorus before choking up.

    But then there was a peace – in the midst of all that chaos and turmoil.

    I’d like to think that I grew more in the heart of a worshiper in that moment. It was in that eye-of-the-storm moment that I realised what it was like to worship through the pain and to be given a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness.

    Detours Are For His Glory

    “Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
    I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.”
    Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)

    For a way to appear in the wilderness, and rivers to flow in the desert, we must first take a detour into the wilderness and the desert.

    An impossible circumstance is a prerequisite for a miracle to take place.

    It was because of this sudden interruption to my life that I could see God’s providence, with a position in Awaken Generation offered to me just a day after my termination.

    It’s in the detours that our faith is tested and strengthened; it’s in the detours that our character is refined and purified; it’s in the detours that we are brought to a place of complete, total reliance, so that God can come through for us, and so that we can get through only because of God.

    Distraction & Deception

    Oftentimes, with detours come distracting, deceptive, and destructive thoughts. I constantly found myself wondering if I could’ve done more to retain my job. I doubted the abilities God had given me and the fact that when God created me, He said, “this one is fearfully and wonderfully made!”

    Even joining the AG staff team felt like a detour to my Bethel dream, and there were real doubt and fear: would God be able to provide? Was this the right path?

    I’ve since realised that fear is a tool of the enemy, and that fear is not our own; when we step out in obedience, the enemy projects his fear onto us. Our obedience makes the enemy afraid, because it advances God’s kingdom and His purpose in our lives.

    In Joshua 1, God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous; it’s not merely an encouragement, but a command, to be obeyed.

    Take detours in your stride! Step out with confidence and courage, eyes firmly on the Lord, our God, who is ever with us.

    Detours: The Route Towards Destiny

    David was anointed to become king when he was merely a teenager. Little did he know that the path to his eventual destiny as king would be riddled with detours, discouragements, and even danger!

    Psalm 27 is one of the most-quoted passages on worship; the entire psalm is penned by David as a declaration of courage, with his security rooted in his desire to seek God and God alone. David was unshakeable in his obedience because he kept an unwavering gaze upon an unchanging God.

    Sometimes walking into our destiny may require us to take what might seem to us like a detour.

    My season with my previous employer, along with the dramatic and sudden termination, felt like a huge detour (a derailing, even) but what gave me perspective was a realignment of my gaze to Christ.

    Perhaps you may be considering taking a year to join Awaken Generation’s year-long programme. Perhaps you’re counting the cost and it may seem like a detour.

    But I know that God wastes nothing. He is never too early or late; His timing is always perfect, and even when we think we are too far out on a detour, God still uses those detours to direct us towards our destiny. What keeps us walking steadily is a steady gaze on the Lord.

    Whatever battles you are facing, step out with boldness and courage, for the Lord, your God, is with you!

  • Behind the Scenes
  • The Metronome: Blessing Or Curse?

    by Caleb Kay

    The metronome (sometimes referred to as a ‘click’)  is an often-disused piece of equipment in worship teams, and sentiments toward it run the gamut from mere disregard to extreme disdain.

    Ten years ago, I was asked to play the drums with a click, because the opening song of a special service needed to be in sync with a video. I struggled and gave lots of excuses reasons why it couldn’t be done. I’m sure some will be familiar to readers:

    • It’s so rigid!
    • It’s distracting or hard to follow.
    • I can’t worship with it (and don’t you know that’s the most important?).

    But over the last ten years, I’ve grown to learn how to play with it, and even how to appreciate the significance of its role in worship music. As with everything in life, there’s a learning curve, but I’ve grown to enjoy it, and have discovered three benefits to using it in a band setting.

    1. It’s an objective foundation.

    Ever had that experience where your band rehearses a song and at the end, someone goes, “Hmm that felt draggy,” and someone else says, “No, it was too fast”? How easily swayed we can sometimes be!

    The advantage of having a metronome is that you can always set it to the speed of the original song that the team is referencing. If the worship leader wants adjustments, tweak it from there.

    We don’t have to rigidly follow the original without budging, but at least having the click makes it objective, and not subject to feelings – unlike how I might play anywhere from 2 to 5 BPM slower after a heavy dinner.

    2. It’s a foundation that frees.

    In my early years of using the click in a worship band setting, I found it so hard to play freely because I was so focused on following its timing. But there was a day when we went into spontaneous worship, and in our debrief after the set, all the musicians remarked that the click had “disappeared”!

    It was really still playing, but what actually happened was that, as we all got better at following the click, it ‘disappeared’ because we were playing precisely in time. It takes practice, but eventually, your internal clock gets better at playing at a constant tempo.

    It might seem counterintuitive, but having the click eventually liberates your team to express yourselves; because you’re less focused on keeping time with each other, the metronome becomes a solid foundation for your band to express more creatively – together!

    (A question that might come up: “Don’t the band and all the singers need to be able to hear the click? What if not everyone hears it?” In such cases, the metronome can still be used as a guide for what tempo to start the song in, at the very least. It should also be used in personal practice time, when you’re working out your own instrument or vocal parts at home.)

    3. Craft and heart go hand in hand.

    “It doesn’t matter if I can’t play or sing in time; what’s most important is my heart! I simply can’t worship with the click so take it away!”

    I think that this may be the cry of every worship musician at some point of our journey (myself included), but we must understand that as musicians on platforms leading others in worship, our craft is just as much a part of our worship as our hearts’ postures. They are not mutually exclusive. As a congregation member, it is easier to follow the leadership of a worship band that plays in time, rather than one that doesn’t.

    So keep stewarding that heart of worship, because it starts from a heart that loves Jesus. But get better at your craft, too, because that expression is the overflow of what’s within, and to grow in it is to better serve the communities we lead in worship.

    It takes humility to honestly assess ourselves – perhaps our craft has not caught up with our heart – and take steps to ensure both are growing in tandem.

    I hope this article inspires you to not only consider using the metronome in your teams, but also hone yourselves to become better musicians. I can safely say I’ve seen the hard-earned fruit when teams collectively work towards improving their craft, specifically in the area of timekeeping. Strive towards greater excellence – because Jesus is worthy of that!

    AG is excited to share that we are kicking off a pilot Drums Stream for our 2019 cohort, and it is now open for applications. If you’d like to apply or find out more, do email [email protected]!