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Worship for a Smaller Setting

Oct 30 2013

It was such an important night. I think it started with some conversations and ideas of how to keep evolving team nights. Hannah and Benny (I think) picked guys to play, and it was well thought out. The reason why I would say it was an important night is because it was so different to what we are used to doing as a music team. We often have a full band and a full sound. Electric guitars and drums often feature, with big dynamics and a lot of playing etc. I guess the idea was to recreate the simplicity of worship with a few.

What can we explore dynamically when there are no drums? Can something be powerful if it’s not loud? I’m a big believer in emotion and intent. We carry something in our spirits that is of God, and there is a time and a place for loudness, and another time and place for quietness and attention to detail.

We spent a lot of time just playing, the three of us. We tweaked our sounds and how we played, and we listened to each other. Collectively, we felt moved by the sounds, and we all spoke about the concept of restraint in our playing. Instead of strumming the guitar, maybe use fingerpicking. Instead of playing the piano loudly and with both hands, perhaps mess around with playing gently and just with your right hand, and stay in the high register of the piano as a rule of thumb. A banjo played well is a beautiful thing, and not too many people can pull it off!

We changed the key of the first song to suit the vocal. Where we started playing the song was a little too high for me vocally in the chorus so we dropped it down a tone from G to F.

We listened to what we were doing and we asked questions of what we were doing personally. We engaged our minds and our hearts in it, and we worshipped God during the rehearsal.

There came a point where we had dinner waiting upstairs, but the three of us were enjoying the rehearsal so much that we wanted to keep playing and worshipping God.

It wasn’t a normal rehearsal and it’s not something you can force, I just think we approached the idea of a trio of musicians in a new way for what we are familiar with and we enjoyed the process.

Creating a contrast to what you are used to is a big part of why it worked. It could explain why we connected with what we were doing, but another element is that we were listening. Each player engaged in active listening to the other musicians, and we collectively approached the music and the specific element our singular instrument brought to the sonic quality of the whole.

I can’t emphasise enough how much we enjoyed that rehearsal, and that night. Just the whole idea of being a little quieter, a little different to what we are used to, and an incredible team of positive people from sound engineers to lighting directors to the players and everyone who turned up and worshipped God that night.