Post of the Day: DBM on Showmanship vs. Musicianship

David Bruce Murray at Musicscribe has an excellent post up today about how, as he puts it, Showmanship trumps Musicianship every time. [EDIT, 6/6/12: Broken link removed.] Agree or disagree—either way, it’s interesting food for thought.


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6 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Well, this is my opinion and may not be shared by others. I would rather listen to a so-so group sing under the anointing of the Holy Spirit than listen to a A number one, professional sounding group. I wouldn’t think that could be called “showmanship”, cause it can’t be taught, manufactured, or practiced.

    On the other hand, I would rather see the “stumps” he referred to than someone trying to fake the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

    A little “showmanship” or charisma is definitely needed, but it will only take you so far.

  2. Well, this is my opinion and may not be shared by others. I would rather listen to a so-so group sing under the anointing of the Holy Spirit than listen to a A number one, professional sounding group without the anointing. I wouldn’t think that could be called “showmanship”, cause it can’t be taught, manufactured, or practiced.

    On the other hand, I would rather see the “stumps” he referred to than someone trying to fake the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

    A little “showmanship” or charisma is definitely needed, but it will only take you so far.

  3. In all fairness, David’s post has nothing to do with “faking the anointing of the Holy Spirit”. It’s all about artists putting everything they have into a performance and paying attention to those little stage-presence details that make a big difference in the communication of the message. While I don’t want to see fake crocodile tears neither do I want to see a group show up, sing with no passion, and expect the Holy Spirit to do all the work. A so-so group can become a phenomenal success if they’re willing to put everything they have into their performance.

  4. Keith, I was only making a contast to the “stumps” reference. If it isn’ there, don’t fake it is all I was saying. Stage presence, good vocals and organized preparation (includig time spent in the Word and prayer) are all essential for sure. But IMO once the artist does those things, the rest should be up to the Holy Spirit.

  5. I agree with DBM. And I don’t think the “stump” reference refers to the expectation that someone should fake it, because audiences can spot a phony more often than one may think.

    I think what he’s saying is either you have it or you don’t, and those groups who do are going to make an impression in the minds of the fans and be more successful than those who don’t. Showmanship, to me, equals a fun performance, a more memorable experience, and it tells me that the group is interested in what I, the audience member, is getting out of this performance. There is a fine line in showmanship and show-dogging, though. But people will more remember those groups that are more entertaining and have a spirit of showmanship.

    I personally believe there are better singers out there than the ones we call our favorites. But for whatever reason, those singers are selling shoes or working on computers. Maybe it’s because they just didn’t pursue singing, maybe it’s because they have other callings, but a lot of it may be because they just never got what it takes to command a stage.

    George Younce was one of the best at making whatever solo a guy had to sing the moment of the night, because he built them up and acted like what they were doing was the best thing he’d ever heard. I believe it was Kirk Talley who said once in an interview I read that he had many a mediocre performance that George made the audience think was the highlight of the evening simply by how he treated it in the context of showmanship.

  6. I really do not like the term “annointed” for there was only One who was annointed, the rest of us, saved through His mercy and gift, are blessed with the annointing of His Spirit. But make no mistake, there is not one among us good enough to claim to be annointed. Blessed by His spirit….yes. And to entertainment and showmanship…..the best ministers today are those who have a knack for public speaking and the gift of turning humor into a thought provoking point. This is a form of showmanship just as a singing group maybe. Both are fine, but both are made far far better when the Holy Spirit does the entertaining.