Steps to Learning to Whoop

Many people contact me wanting a step by step method to learn to whoop, here is the outline of a method.

1. Listen to Other Whoopers

The first thing that one should do if you want to learn how to whoop is listen to other whoopers. Just like if you want to learn how to play jazz, you must listen to others who do it well. Please note that there are different levels of listening. The first level is merely for enjoyment. Here you simply listen for things that you enjoy or that “speak to you” on some level. Another level of listening however is critical analysis. Here you seek to understand what is happening. You listen to the whooper trying to hear the pitch changes. When does the whooper change pitch. When does the whooper change the volume? Does the whooper only get loud at the end? Does the whooper get loud and soft? Another question one might listen for is a sequence of pitches. Does the whooper make use of a sequence (sometimes called a riff in music)? What about rhythm? Does the whooper change his or her rhythm?

Along with the critical analysis, the budding whooper should listen to a wide variety of whoopers. Listen to the traditional C. L. Franklin, Caeser Clark, and Jerry Black. Listen to the Harvard Whooper. Listen to the young whoopers like Marcus Cosby or Rudoloph Mckissick Jr. And listen to the whoopers who have a style totally their own like Leory Elliot. Listening to a wide variety of whoopers will help you find who you are as a whooper.

2. Sing

The next thing to do is to sing. There is a connection between singing and whooping. Listen to Jerry Black as he sings and then listen to how he whoops. There is a connection. Now you may not ever sing a solo, but you need to sing as a member of the congregation and as you go along. Sing spirituals, sing the great hymns of the Christian faith, and sing the Gospel Songs. Sing Andre’ Crouch and Fanny Crosby.

The important thing is that whooping has a lot in common with singing. listen to a whooping master and a great gospel singer. You will find that they both make use of vocal dynamics. They go from loud to soft and vice versa. They both make use of rhythmic changes. They speed up or slow down as needed. they both make great use of timing. They both improvise. Etc. Listen to great preachers and singers and sing.

3. Practice

Finally, you want to practice. Don’t go up into the pulpit without having practiced whooping. Personally, I think that all preachers should practice more. When I used to play the trumpet, I would practice 30 min – hour a day just practicing playing. Perhaps preachers should spend 30 minutes to an hour a day just practicing their presentation skills. Be that as it may, if you are to whoop, you probably should practice it. Practice in your car, practice in your shower. Jasper Williams notes that many have learned to whoop while sitting on the toilet. You want to practice. As you practice you must critically listen to yourself. Jasper Williams notes that when it sounds good to you it is ready for use.

4. Incorporate Whooping in Your Sermons

Finally, we should look for opportunities to incorporate “whooping” into our preaching. Without forcing, slowly put some musicality in your preaching. Add rhythm to the way you say some things. Explicitly hit a note when preaching. Don’t force it. Do all your forcing in the practice room, but when you get out in front of the congregation, just preach and let it happen.

5. Whoop with Integrity

Please to succumb to the temptation of using whooping to cover up a lack of preparation. Perhaps we all have heard whoopers who obviously haven’t done the preparation necessary to preach an effective sermon to the people of God. Then these preacher simply start whooping and the people go wild. However, during the week when pain and trouble come the people haven’t been given the tools to deal with the world because the preacher decided to serve slop and then try to put cream over it. We as preachers have been called to give the word that is needed, a sweet whoop does not discharge us of this duty. If you whooop, please whoop with integrity.


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Comments

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Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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Posted in blog, Feature Articles, Preaching, Preaching Methods, Whooping
8 comments on “Steps to Learning to Whoop
  1. Minister G. Lloyd says:

    I am so glad that God has directed me to this website. It has been most enlightening and educational.

  2. Jimmy Stanfield says:

    I agree with Minister Lloyd! This is such a helpful site and the articles are all so well thought out. I agree that to whoop well comes from hearing preachers who do it well. It has to come naturally and that comes from being around it.

  3. Rev. J.I. Harris says:

    I heard a woman whoop in a soprano voice. She told me later that she had tried to whoop in a lower vocal register, but it just wasn’t her — she couldn’t sustain it. The soprano whoop was odd, but intriguing. Her musician provided her excellent support.

  4. Sherman Haywood Cox II says:

    Yes…I think your story demonstrates that people need to “find their own whoop” even if it doesn’t sound like the “traditional” whoop.

  5. Sara says:

    I like the idea of ‘whooping with integrity’. Many a Sunday has gone by and I’ve heard a pastor whoop the people happy but laid down not one bit of information that they didn’t already know. Like, Jesus..Mary’s baby…They call Him the…..Rose of Sharon and the….Lily of the Valley..and the…Bright…and Morning Star!

    And I agree that practice is important…Vick didn’t get that good without practice. (Just had to throw that in) And there have been plenty of times I have, as I like to call it, preached to the shower curtain. Still don’t have a whoop yet but hey….waiting on nature!

    Enjoying your site.

  6. B.Taylor says:

    I have a question. Do you have to whoop when preaching? When preaching something significant could not whooping take away from the sermon? Just wandering.

  7. Sherman Haywood Cox II says:

    Do you have to whoop? No…here is an article where I discuss that question http://www.soulpreaching.com/when-it-aint-time-to-whoop.

    Your question implies that anything substantial would cause whooping to take away from it…I don’t agree…Please note that you don’t whoop the entire sermon…you simply whoop the “celebration.” You are celebrating the truth of the sermon….

    But I would encourage you to read that article When It Ain’t Time To Whoop!

  8. Tyrone Leonard says:

    Thank God for this website every preacher can learn something.

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Proper 14 (February 26, 2017)
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