One of the most important responsibilities of a church musician is to play sensitively. Providing the right musical soundtrack for different parts of a service shows that you…
- have the attitude that makes playing a supportive role possible, and
- you have a high degree of musical skill – the aptitude – to know and execute the right musical ideas.
That was my task when I got up to play at the end of last Sunday’s message. I had to help create the transition from speaker to corporate singing and create a musical atmosphere that supported the congregation’s response. This almost always starts with playing the chord progression from a chosen song through the completion of the sermon, then gradually building the dynamic to where everyone is singing.
There are two guidelines I try to follow in this situation:
- I try to start very softly, usually fading in a keyboard pad sound only, and not playing too many notes.
- I always start with the proper tempo of the chosen song. This ensure that the vocals can enter without any abrupt tempo changes.
This past Sunday, those two guidelines were conflicting. The reason was that the song we were to sing changed chords every two beats. Even if I only played the chords without any embellishment, there would have been too much movement at the proper tempo.
Watch the video below for the simple fix, how I was able to play at the right tempo and still keep things smooth. Going through this thought process will help you create the proper musical backdrop every time.