Worship Leader Onomatopoeia

(Yes.  I had to look up the spelling.) I’ve been leading worship music for about 10 years, so I often find myself in the position of giving leadership to instrumentalists.  It’s common for us to have a band that includes acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and keyboards/piano.  I don’t play any kind of guitar or drum, yet those are the instruments that are usually driving the songs.  So, how do I give guidance to those players if I need to?

Enter onomatopoeia.  

I get ridiculed for this.  Hard core, slam down, ridicule.  And yet, they always end up knowing what I’m talking about, so the proof is in the whatever, right? It was suggested to me at our most recent rehearsal that I start a website called worshipleaderonomatopoeia.com.  Probably I won’t do that because that’s the worst URL possible (times infinity squared).

Anyway, here we go. Those of you who play instruments or lead a band or whatever…. see if you can guess what instrumental sound I’m going for. 

Listen on Posterous

Listen on Posterous

Listen on Posterous

Listen on Posterous

Listen on Posterous

Listen on Posterous


Yep. This is real life. Don’t you want to work with me now, like, more than you can even imagine?  :) So give me your guesses.  Numbers 1 through 6.  What are they?

View answers here.  

Download this file


26 thoughts on “Worship Leader Onomatopoeia

  1. good work, mandy. don’t know if you checked the answers, but…4 = acoustic strum patternt5 = trick question. me doing an autoharp which we actually never use but sometimes I just walk around imitating one. :)

  2. Ok so I can’t play cuz I ain’t got no G-A-M-E, but I do believe that you have discovered an hidden language. One that could bridge the musical world with the non-musical world. Great job!

  3. Brian. you’re right except for #5 which was a trick question. that was an autoharp which we never ever use but somehow I end up imitating one from time to time anyway. I like your description of #6.

  4. So I made sure not to read previous comments so my guesses wouldn’t be influenced.1. High-hat (maybe snare)2. Definitely toms3. Fuzzy distorted electric guitar4. Acoustic guitar – with down-strums??5. Maybe open strummed acoustic guitar.6. Potentially inappropriate electric guitar with wahI totally make the drum sounds when I’m putting together stuff here at church.

  5. Oh man. ha ha…nicein NY a worship leader guy I know always made choir tapes with every part in his voice. Even soprano. His name was Joe, but on the soprano ones. josephine.

  6. Ah! The music-teacher-uncle in me is sooooooo proud! I knew exactly what you were going for in each, but I was laughing too hard to type any answers. For the record, if you ever want #6 in a church, I would seriously look into the theological reasons for needing it! Maybe a marriage enrichment Sunday?!!?!!?!!? Sorry! Uncalled for!

  7. BETH! I had a feeling you would be my buddy on this. Yes, it most definitely is the drummer with whom I am usually communicating this way. What’s also fun… one of our band leaders (a proficient keyboard player) will sometimes have a clearer vision of exactly what the drums should be doing, especially if the drummer is OVERplaying. So he’ll point at the drum kit and say ‘just play that, that, and that’The Kimfest Symphony… that’s an effect I had not thought of. :)

  8. oh. my. word.I DO THIS TOO. Even though I play keys, I’m always doing this sort of thing to tell the drummer, especially, what I’m looking for or hearing in my head. Guitar players, too……and they just laugh and laugh and laugh…FYI, it is possible to play all six of these simultaneously and get a Kimfest Symphony. Very entertaining. Try it!

  9. I don’t play any instruments Kim…but I know how to read music, and I know all the theory stuff which virtually no-one else in the team does.So while they ridicule me as I bm-chicka-doof-doof my way through practice, when I wow them with glissando, largo, allegro, crotchets, quavers, bass clefs and such … they just think I’m making stuff up.(And #6 I’m sure was used in an advert down here. do you do adverts? if not, someone is stealing your creativity. I expect you to mount a lucrative court case in our Supreme Court soon)

  10. Bwahahahaha!!!! That was awesome.OK, I had#1 – Hi Hat or shaker#2 – Toms, this was a no brainer#3 – Big guitar#4 – I had electric rhythm, but acoustic works too#5 – I had acoustic strumming (You got me:)#6 – Is clearly a funky guitarLove it! Glad to see you got the garage band stuff working :)

  11. hmmm, I do not need to guess 1-6 as all examples are perfect imatations. I am disappointed that you did not post an example of the only instrument never intended to be part of worship…you know what I am talking about. Don’t make me send you an example.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s