Friday, September 7, 2007

Mixing Things Up

Many church bands love to learn a new song while adding their own unique flavor to it. I'm all for that (although I've tasted some really BAD flavors over the years), and we tend to do some of that as well. But, our main goal in learning a new song is to try to replicate it as exactly as we can, unless we have to make a change because of limitations. In doing this, we're forced to really focus on the song as a whole and listen to how each instrument and vocal works together. It's also helped us, as a group of self-proclaimed amatures to learn some new techniques and stretch ourselves musically.

But, once we get a song down to where we can play it inside and out, backwards and forwards, we usually start having fun with.

For example, a few weeks ago I got an early copy of Casting Crowns' new CD, and noted how the drum beat at the end of the first track went from what I call "double time" to "half time", giving the song a totally different feel for a few measures. I've heard several other bands do this (Building 429 does this a few times in their newest album as well), and we've even tried it a couple of times with a few of our songs. But, for some reason, this instance of hearing this one song really inspired the creative juices to flow.

So, a few nights later, as some of our band was praticing for our young adult service, I had them run through Chris Tomlin's "Let God Arise", and then told our drummer to change to the "half time" beat for a minute. It was fun to watch everyone's faces as the heard the totally different but cool sound and adjusted their playing to match. To say the least, we were all excited to try this out, so sure enough, I put "Let God Arise" on the setlist for that next Sunday. We just added it for a few measures in a few key spots, just enough to make it interesting without overkill.

We (and our other band members who weren't leading that week) may be the only ones in the entire room who conciously recognized the change.

So, what kinds of things have you done recently to keep things fresh and new?



David said...

Hey...thats an interesting perspective on changing the song up a little. I play in a worship band at my church as well...and play the electric guitar. So the possibilities for changing a song up on my end are limitless...I usually just a little more distortion, or switch things up with different chord forms. Hoping others would reply, could definitely use some ideas.

MilePost13 said...

yep. Another thing we'll do sometimes is take an acoustic driven song and turn it into a piano driven song, or something else along those lines.