I was talking to a group of musicians today about what they do to create a tight sound in a worship band. Here are some of the points that they made.
Share a vision for the song and its purpose.
Communicate: talk about why you’re doing the song and what you will be doing with the song. Everyone has to be on the same page as to where you’re headed with the song and what is its place in the service. Without the same vision, you’ll sound like you’re doing your own thing.
Listen to each other. Someone is driving the bus for the song; listen to the driver. Flow.
There’s no place for a diva in a team. Period.
Listen to the song and look at the words. What does that song need?
Is it a contemplative song that focuses on God? If it is, then avoid over-processing or over-arranging it. Strip the music down to the essentials and then add color: a simple kick, a soft acoustic guitar, a string pad on the keys or something soft and simple, a guitar line that harmonizes with the lead line. Be creative, but respect the purpose of the song.
Is it an up-tempo, big, joyful song that boasts about what God has done? Then go big on the intro, choose a solid bass line that mimics the kick, maybe a busier strum pattern for the guitar, and your keys should find a rhythm pattern that supports the song.
It’s easier to have a tight sound when the musicians are talented and skilled. But if the musicians are just learning, find simple but powerful licks, and harmonies and lead lines that can be taught to them that they can execute successfully.
Practice at home.
Pre-rehearsal practice is vital. It doesn’t matter how talented you are or how many years you’ve been playing, if you don’t practice, you won’t be attuned to the nuances of the song.
In your personal practice time, you’ll find licks and phrases that you can bring to rehearsal. Be prepared for rehearsal.
If you’re spending your rehearsal time learning the song, you can’t create a cohesive structure for your song, and you can’t tighten your sound.
What do you do as a worship team to create a tight sound?