Normally when I plan music for church I want to soup it up as much as possible – strings, electric guitars, full band… the works.
Seeing as many people involved as possible with the best sound as possible is the general goal and should be the norm. However, on this foundation of your music program it’s a nice change of pace to occasionally strip things down. It might also be a necessity in the summer months when praise teams are harder to schedule.
A few weeks ago at Brookwood Church we stripped the set down to a piano, an acoustic guitar and a single worship leader. Watch a video of one of the songs we did – an acoustic version of “Pray to Your Name” (download a free MP3 and chord chart.) We introduced the song a few months ago with a full band and choir and it still sounded good with a more intimate arrangement.
Adding a simple drum loop and strings fills out the song and adds some icing – a click track enables us to do this live but we could also have included a keyboard synth strings player.
Which songs that your congregation sings would work well in an acoustic setting? Some tunes are built around the drums, a specific groove or guitar lick and won’t translate well to an unplugged feel.
Try an unplugged Sunday in the next few weeks. Plan your praise set accordingly but have a few alternate tunes lined up in case you discover the ones you picked won’t work without the full band.