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Create Dynamic in the Songs not Just the Set

Dynamics Explained

First, let me explain what I mean by dynamic. Dynamics refer to the emotional space of a song. The energy, intensity, and form that the music takes.

Creating dynamics in a song means that you let that song take you on a journey.

Song Sets with Dynamics

A lot of church worship teams do a great job in creating dynamics in the set. They will have a strong and fast song, followed by a medium tempo song with not as strong of a feel and progress to a soft and slow song. If they are a progressive church (I say that with the intention of humor) then they might end with a strong and fast song again.

Songs with Dynamics

Sets with dynamics, though, are not as strong as songs with dynamics. A song that takes you on a journey is priceless in a worship set. Teams that can build and tear down a song will be able to engage the congregation in a more creative fashion.

Our Music Director, Jason Mills, is a genius at crafting a song’s dynamics. A couple of things he emphasizes are:

  • Not everyone has to play all the time. Use the time to add instruments and build dynamic by inserting and taking away musical lines. (I.E. start the song with high-hat, acoustic. Then add the bass and electric on the climb or the first time through the chorus.)
  • Don’t feel pressure to play “all out” at the first Chorus. I hear a lot of teams start a song and the first chorus is as loud as every other part of the song. Or they start the verse soft, then Bang! there’s the chorus. Use the time to build.
  • Find your instrument’s space. This means that you listen to what other’s are playing and find how you can compliment what they are playing in a different musical space. For instance: An acoustic guitar who is playing the rhythm with strong chords could be complimented by an electric guitar finding a space an octave above the Acoustics notes and play a melodic line. The idea is to compliment what others are playing.
  • Less is More. Drummers – You don’t have to hit everything just cause you have it. Bass players – Simple is most of the time more effective. Keys – compliment don’t drive. Electric Guitars – It’s cool you can play blues scales, but I don’t want you to put it every song solo. Less is More!

Plan Ahead

Most teams never reach their full potential because they don’t plan ahead. If you are the director of your band, think about the integrity of the song ahead of time. Ask:

Who will be the lead instrument?
How can we be creative with the dynamics?

If you are a musician. Rehearse your songs and practice ahead of time. If you know you won’t be carrying the lead, anticipate what others will be playing and think about what space could be filled with your instrument.

Little things like this will raise your level of execution!

Here’s another Hillsong Drum Cover from my buddy Craig. Great for drummers looking to dissect songs.

My buddy, Craig, has this brilliant idea to cover Hillsong tunes on the drums so drummers who play their music can see the complicated rhythms as well as hear them.

Great idea and well done Craig!

Desert Song – Key of D (original Key)
(Hillsong United: Across the Earth)
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Desert Song – Key of G (Male Vocal)
(Hillsong United: Across the Earth)
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This Day – Key of G (original Key)
(Jadon Lavik: Moving on Faith)
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Hurricane – Key of G (original Key)
(Jimmy Needham: Not Without Love)
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Hurricane – Key of F#
(Jimmy Needham: Not Without Love)
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Hurricane – Key of Gb
(Jimmy Needham: Not Without Love)
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Never Stop – Key of B

(Michael Gungor: Ancient Skies)

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Never Stop – Key of Db (original key)

(Michael Gungor: Ancient Skies)

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Sing to the Lord – Key of A
(Hillsong: Savior King)
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Thought I’d post a couple of Chord Charts.

Alive and Running – Key of B
(Kristian Stanfill: Attention)
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Lift High – Key of D
(North Point Live: Louder Than Creation)
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Breathe On Me – Key of Db
(North Point Live: Louder Than Creation)
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Happy Day – Key of C
(Tim Hughes: Holding Nothing Back)
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Holding Nothing Back – Key of B
(Tim Hughes: Holding Nothing Back)
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I bought a new keyboard but I’m venturing out from my history of purchases and only getting a controller.

I went with the M-Audio Keystation Pro because of the hammer action and massive amount of controls.

I have Reason Adapted for now and will be upgrading to Reason 4.0 in a couple of months.

I’m excited about the possibilities of this.