Solo Worship Leaders…Play to your Weaknesses

Featuring Loops In Worship Posted on June 30, 2010

I typically get two or more people a week emailing me asking for advice on how to use loops as a solo worship leader.  I love being able to share advice and tips to help worship leaders all over the world improve their corporate worship experiences.  There are SO many people wanting to know how to “fill” out their sound with loops and I promise this is on our radar.  I hope in the very near future to be able to provide some resources and training to specifically help you guys out.  But while the desire and drive is so heavy on my heart I wanted to provide those in this boat with some quick suggestions to get you started on the right track.  There will be a time and place to expand further but for now some quick thoughts to get you started and hopefully encourage you.

  • Play to your weaknesses.  You don’t have a drummer or bassist.. that’s okay!  Don’t try to make it sound like you do.  Use loops to enhance what you are doing.  Don’t get so obsessed with filling out your sound that you have a “full” band sound and there is only 1 guy on stage.  Not sure why or how the church got to a point where our acoustic worship times have to sound like a full band.  I’ve never met someone that says, “Hey we’ve got a full band – two electrics, keyboards, drummer, bassist, acoustic, 3 vocalists – but we want it to sound more acoustic and like there’s only one person on stage!”
  •  If you’re playing acoustic then use keyboard pad sounds to provide a base to “fill out” your sound without being too much.
  • If you’re playing keys, then layer pads, rhythmic synths and piano to get a “full” sound.  You’ve got the ability to fill space playing keys. Just make sure you’ve got something to provide the rhythmic base, either a simple loop or someone playing guitar.
  •  Even if you are a worship leader who plays acoustic and uses loops..Practice as if you’ve got a full band. You’ve got to practice your transitions and songs as much or more than you would if you had a full band.
  • Buy Ableton Live.  I know you may have Garageband, or an iPod but if you want to do it right and have the ultimate flexibility buy Live!
  • Listen to music that inspires you to create sounds/textures to fill out your sound.  Check out Owl City, the Postal Service, Album leaf, Imogen Heap etc.
  •  If you don’t have the time…Then just do an acoustic worship set.. It will be OKAY to just have an acoustic guitar.
  •  The easiest way to make the big parts of your song bigger, is to make the small parts of your songs smaller.

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