Archives For simplicity

Flow Header

A Set List …
It can flow places you never thought it would go.
It can be just as much of a teaching moment as the message or sermon.
It can grab the attention of even the hardest of hearts.
It can determine what people are thinking about when they leave their seat.
It can make or break the flow in the service.
It can be a determining factor of whether or not someone comes back next week.

Am I putting too much emphasis on the proper development of a set list? I don’t think so.
Even the best leadership of a bad set can leave a mediocre impression.

We need to be intentional when we’re planning sets. Sometimes, they come together with ease. Sometimes, you may feel like you could have grabbed two random songs with your eyes closed, bashed them together and it would have flowed better than what you had spent two weeks planning.

I think one of the most important approaches to choosing a set list is to determine a common theme throughout the entire set. I know this may sound obvious, but we all need the reminder. Continue Reading…

Blog - Sonic Range 1

When playing together in a band context, by now, I think we would all agree that the sonic range I’m playing in (the octave I’m singing or playing my instrument in) is just as important as the rhythms I’m playing, right? Knowing this importance is one thing, but working it out in rehearsal can be very challenging and time consuming.

If there’s one instrument that runs the highest risk of eating the whole pie (100%) in the sonic plane, it’s the keyboard. The lowest note on the keyboard is an A – two semi-tones lower than the low B on a 5-string bass guitar. If your bassist is playing a 4 string, the piano has a whole 5th below the low E on the bass. No one in the band can possibly play those notes in the low A-E range except the piano player. You might think, “Great!  Sonic room for me to play without worrying about anyone else running into me.” Well, let me put it this way, if there’s a bass guitar player in your band, let them live up to their name and actually be the bass player in the band. Keyboardists, let the bassists have their range and take that left hand and bring it up the keyboard.  I know, that’s almost two whole octaves chopped off of the low end of the keyboard. There is an exception to almost every rule, but when it comes to the keyboardist’s left hand, I wouldn’t have it playing much lower than the C that is one octave below middle C. When keyboard players get their left hand away from what the bass player is playing, the sound will significantly tidy itself up and the listener will feel more depth to the overall sound.

There is an exception to almost every rule, but when it comes to the keyboardist’s left hand, I wouldn’t have it playing much lower than the C that is one octave below middle C.

Continue Reading…

In order to abide by the “100% Rule” that we talked about last week, we all need to be thinking about simplicity, but we also need to be thinking about consistency.

If there in one instrument in the band that has the ability to make or break the overall sound of the band, it is … yes, you guessed it — the drums.  (Pretty much everyone else can just be turned off)

Drummers, this one is for you — Consistency.

One of the greatest tells on whether a drummer is an experienced player or an amateur player is how consistent their grooves are throughout a song.  If a drummer keeps changing its groove through the sections of the songs, it’s next to impossible for the rest of the band to lock into it.  Here’s what it might sound like for your band to play with an inconsistent drummer …

As a drummer, can I ever change the groove that I’m playing in a song?  Of course you can.  But, unless the arrangement asks for something different, the only typical places for a drummer to switch things up are new sections (Verse, PreChorus, Chorus, Bridge, etc).

Keep your grooves consistent and simple so that the rest of the band layer on top of what you’re playing!