Adjust Your Musical Arrangements and Volume

Featuring Bob Kauflin Posted on December 13, 2010

Most play-by-ear musicians think that being up front means you should alwaysbe playing. Wrong. Varying when we play, how loudly we play, and what we play affects how people hear the words.

The larger the team of musicians, the more each member should belistening to and making room for what others are doing. Believe me, this takes practice. Lots of it. If this is a new concept, try having one instrument accompany an entire verse alone. It could be an acoustic guitar, pianist, percussionist, or synthesizer player. It may seem unsettling at first, but the effect is often dramatic.

Try different combinations of instruments in rehearsal. Be clear in yourdirection, and insist at times that people not play. Help them see that their silence makes someone else's contribution more significant.
We can also monitor and vary the volume. The volume of the band (and vocalists) might be raised when we're leading a new song, when the church is singing loudly, when we're setting the tempo, or when we're givingdirections. But the sound of the musicians shouldn't dominate or overpower the congregation. In the New Testament the predominant sound throughout the meeting is the singing of the congregation. They are the real worship team.

It's a good idea to check your volume by listening from out front, or ask someone you trust to evaluate it for you.

Use Instrumental Solos Wisely

The word selah appears frequently in the Psalms. Many scholars think itrefers to a musical interlude for meditation or reflection. While that can't be proven, there are numerous passages where God commends instrumentalmusic to praise him (for example, Psalm 33:3; 71:22; 150:3–5).

But a Sunday morning isn't a concert or recital, where an audience sits back to hear musicians use their gifts. We're not there to jam. The longer a band or music team plays, the more opportunity there is for the congregation to drift mentally or be more impressed with musical skill than with Jesus.

We've used instrumental solos as introductions, turnarounds between verses and choruses, or brief bridges. Be willing to for go instrumental sections that only serve as filler or that delay congregational singing unnecessarily.

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