Being musicians who think creatively, we are always fashioning our sounds and developing our craft to bring the best of our skillset to our services.
Have you ever considered though, that often what we don’t play, is at times more musical than what we do play? Space is a concept that we can and should think about; music can potentially be just a wall of sound but when punctuated by space it becomes textured and expressive. Much like being in a group of people who are all speaking at once will make it difficult to draw out anything of value, a true ‘conversation’ of sorts between musicians can allow for the one significant message to become clear.
Here are a couple of things to get you thinking about how to utilise space as well as sound.
Songs have been carefully developed and arranged in a way that carries the lyrics and engages the congregation. We need to keep true to the arrangement while at the same time having freedom to bring our individuality into the mix. The things that best add an individual’s touch are their nuances, articulation, tone and their presence on the platform. Appreciate the space that’s inherent in the song rather than seeing it as a gap that needs to be filled.
Play for the song, its context and for what the service requires, making sure you’re not just playing for playing’s sake. This can relate to instruments being played in the wrong sections, overuse of effects and general overplaying. What we bring has the potential to really serve what’s happening in each service. We need to keep mindful of what‘s going on around us, while listening to the direction of our worship leaders and the MD.
Be aware of what you and the rest of the band are playing (register, chords, soundscapes, lines etc). Don’t play over each other, or engage in sound wars of ‘my ambience’ versus ‘your ambience’. Focus on accompanying one another and building into each other’s sound to create a workable texture for the Front of House to use.
Let’s not be afraid to allow our music to breathe. Mindfulness of the balance between sound and space will help our instrumentation to build a new and fresh moment each time we gather together.