How, as a worship leader, do you deal with pedantry?

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I try to keep it stocked with plenty of nonperishable items.


That would be da pantry;  NOT pedantry. 

Oh well, I guess you got your tang tungled on that one.

You know your title is simply not true, don't you?


But seriously, refocus on Jesus, what we're there for, why we do what we do. TBH I've seen very little pedantry in worship teams over the years, with most people just wanting to rub along together and worship. When it does appear, it's usually from someone who's technically accomplished insisting something is done right, instead of 'good enough' (I coined the phrase 'that's close enough for Rock'n'Roll' to deal with things that aren't perfect but can be lived with, like tuning & intonation on an acoustic guitar).

I learned originally "close enough from my Dad; but I've found there are two types of jazz people, those who want to enjoy the improvisational, living-music aspect, and those who want to memorialize the way they learned it (the pedant); and maybe a third kind, the one who merrily, as you've put it -- rubs along together. 

There's always time for pedantry. :-)

First, kick out all the pedants....

To establish a kicking-out, you have to define who is a pedant.  For instance, Pol Pot defined them as "anyone who is educated".  Other dictators have punished the intelligentsia, literally trying to eliminate their obnoxious literality about things from the gene pool.  But pedantry is in all of us.  "If it ain't country, it ain't music" is sheer pedantry; yet it rules popular Christian music today from its mecca in Nashville.  There is no chief pedant here, no Board of Pedantry to schmooze in order to exist.  You just have a lot of us, regular people, saying, "it's on the CD, therefore we have to do it that way." "Look, here's the tempo, printed right on the CCLI copy." "It shows sixteenth notes in the score" (I usually offer, "the rhythms are impossible to notate, and even if we got them right we'd lose all our freedom to sing this kind of song the same way twice in a row.  So I'll sort of lead, but mostly enjoy the song."  Perhaps if you hooked up your team to electrodes and measured their internal response to that kind of thing, you might be able to identify the pedant and then administer society-rescuing measures.  But I'd venture that the Pharisee exists in all of us latently; and once we get rid of them, we become them.

I may be a pedant for preferring to work with keyboard players who play by ear, rather than following the dots, and who can follow things when they go a little off-piste.

I also subscribe to Spike Milligan's maxim "we have no plans, therefore nothing can go wrong".;-)

The ear was there before the dot,

The beat before the flag;

Some don't know Bach from Hottentot,

But play an awesome Rag.

"Off-piste" is a new one for me.  In context the meaning is evident; but what does it relate to, as in origin? 

I have oon occasion worked with people who claimed they played by ear (hence were offended by the mere presence of notes); but after playing with them awhile it became evident that they didn't play by ear at all, but by reading the little chord symbols and matching them (which is reading a symbol for music) with a beat according to the style of the music.  Others, not wishing to read even these symbols, merely copied chords that had been shown to them (a quite legitimate way to learn chording), but were unwilling (or fearful) to learn new chords or apply the ones they knew to the appropriate place in the music.  But we did manage to rub along together, if I could keep the pedants away from them, at least out of earshot.


Off piste is from skiing, the piste being the official slope to ski down, and going off it can be a journey into the hazardous unknown.

I've been privileged to play with some great musicians (way above my level). As I've got older & the eyes (and mind) become less sharp, following anything written has become difficult.

Thank you!  And I promise never to say it backward:)


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