Dr. Tim’s Worship Tip of the Month – April 2017

Worship Tip of the Month | Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Contrast is your friend

Sometimes, as musicians, we technically progress through the worship service forgetting to play with a heart that musically interprets the message of the song we are ministering. One important part of our delivery of these songs should be the use of contrast, which is amazingly easy to accomplish. Without contrast our sound can become monotonous, predictable and tiring to the congregation as well as to ourselves.

Far too often, worship bands play non-stop, loudly and unending – mercifully it does eventually end. Without the nuances of music, the dynamic control, the shape of a phrase or the thoughtfulness of pared-back instrumentation, our worship can easily turn into a barrage of sound and noise that can deaden the ear of the most earnest worshiper.

The fix is not just about loud and soft – let’s remind ourselves of the many ways we can introduce contrast into our worship.

  1. Individualize sections of songs. Today we have intros, verses, prechorus, chorus(es), bridge(s) codas and ‘outros’. What a great opportunity to consider how to treat each section uniquely to enhance the song.
  2. Change Dynamics. Many bands have two dynamic levels: loud and louder. Work the nuance of the softer parts of songs. Look for them and use them to make everyone listen more intently to these wonderfully tender moments.
  3. Feature individual instruments
    • ‘Drums only’ is common (try toms, or cymbals, hi-hat or just the kick)
    • Try flute only (or any solo instrument – recorder is nice)
    • Acoustic guitar and voices.
    • With most keyboards today you can find all sorts of contrasting voices to accent a change; ie strings, pad, vox, organ, etc. don’t just play a piano sound the whole time.
  4. Feature the Human Voice. A capella (no instruments) is a delightful sound especially in contrast to a full band sound. Try cutting out directly into an a capella section. Most importantly with a capella: sing full parts, in tune and well-blended. Light drums and bass underneath is nice too. Or a pad on the synth sustained under the voices.
  5. Change Tempo, Meter and style. Try fast to slow; high to low; old to new; historic hymn to contemporary; meter change (4/4 to 6/8); style change (gospel to rock ballad).

Be creative and enjoy the multi-faceted nature of each song you minister.

Dr. Tim Smith, Worship Without Borders

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.