Stephen Miller offers tips for helping your band play like a team.
Every musician has his or her particular style preferences and bents. It’s what makes us who we are.
Jam Band acoustic guitar players.
Arena Pop Rock electric guitarists.
And yet, in the midst of our own unique stylistic identities, there is a greater, overarching force that determines the precise stylistic parameters that we ought play within. This force is called “the song.”
By song, I mean the arrangement, instrumentation and feel that a comprehensive group of musicians is going for – not necessarily the composition of melody and lyrics.
For example, a U2 song is generally known for 3 things: Simplicity. Massiveness. Transcendence.
There isn’t a lot going on in most U2 songs, yet they feel gigantic because of the spacey wall of sound the guitarist is producing. The simplicity of the bass and drums makes room for soaring vocal melodies to shine.
They are listening to each other and working together to produce a desired sound.
However, if their bassist decided he really loved to play slap bass and insisted on incessantly playing lead lines that competed for the listener’s ear, the song would lose its potency and integrity.
If the drummer refused to listen to what the other players were doing, but rather stubbornly defended his preference of playing funk beats over the entire song, it would lose its graceful elegance.
The same is true with playing music for congregational worship.