Video: Contemporary Praise and Worship Guitar

Volume 1. Instructional video with Paul Baloche, 1995. Available from Praise Stock Footage, P.O. Box 5331, Woodbridge VA 22194-5331; 703-590-0214; fax 703-670-6871. 90 minutes. $39.95 (U.S.) plus $4.00 shipping.

Paul Baloche is a gifted and skillful guitarist with a natural ease in presentation and a sensitivity for interpreting musical accompaniment. The techniques he demonstrates are applicable to guitar playing in general, and his own teaching is set within the context of the Christian worship leader using repertoire from the contemporary Praise & Worship idiom. He is very thorough in dissecting the technique of the bass walkdown and also suggests refin-gering of chords to allow for more color than the normal chord structure allows. These techniques are quite sophisticated for the average self-taught folk guitarist but can be useful to the talented players seeking to enhance their musical offering.

This instructional guitar video includes sections on tuning, bass walkdowns, fingerpicking, use of capo, chord inversions, chord families, chord voicing, and other specialized guitar techniques such as "hammer-on" and chord damping. The basic message is that one can do a lot more with the guitar than just play in root position, and Paul Baloche clearly demonstrates many possibilities. The video is designed for the guitarist who has a moderate to advanced level of proficiency in basic guitar technique. It is not for the beginner. It also presumes a familiarity with the language of harmonic analysis and chord structure.

Paul Baloche is not only a gifted guitarist; he is also the author of many songs and serves as the worship leader on Integrity Hosanna Music's He Is Faithful tape. His primary interest is in helping people become good worship leaders rather than just helping them improve their guitar techniques, although the video provides help in both areas. Perhaps the most important teaching ingredient in this presentation is the exhortation to strive for excellence through disciplined practice and to become confident with the mechanical aspect of playing the instrument so that one is free to follow the Spirit's leading in drawing others into worship.

Mimi Farra is a member of the Community of Celebration, pastoral musician for All Saints' Episcopal Church in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, and consultant in music and liturgy at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, Ambridge, Pennsylvania.