Plays Well With Others – #1 Dynamics
Intonation. With the days of “snarks ,” “auto-tune,” and an array of digital electronics, intonation is not addressed as it once was. However, intonation must be the benchmark to everything else we do as musicians. Be sensitive as a director to always maintain good intonation with your instruments and vocals. Do not move ahead in a rehearsal where something is out of tune. This issue must be settled before moving any further in your rehearsal. Now on to dynamics!
Layering: When we are in a hurried rehearsal, the natural inclination is an “all-skate.” This is a term that I use a lot with my group, and it is reminiscent of my childhood in the 70’s at the roller-rink. The announcer would say, “All-skate” and everyone would free-style on the rink. It is the same way with many church bands today. Everyone begins at measure one, and all play throughout the entire song…an sonic all-skate. While there are times for it, it should be within song climaxes. Instead layer the instrumentation. Take time before rehearsal and work the song in your inner ears, and decide who will play when. You can listen to the original to get ideas, but following them exactly is not important. Make it your own, and play your strengths. A layered song may look like this:
Intro: Guitar, Bass drum kick
Verse: Same with lead vocal
Pre-Chorus: Vocals only with acoustic guitar
Verse: Still all in, but drop the instrumental volume a third
Pre-chorus: Vocals only with acoustic guitar
Bridge: Vocals and drums
Repeat Bridge: Add guitar
Repeat Bridge: Add keys – buildup, end hard
Chorus: A Capella
Ending: Guitar, Bass drum kick
Song Dynamics: Listen to any song and one finds that volume and intensity level varies throughout the piece. For instance, the chorus is typically the loudest part of the song, whereas the verse is softer in nature. The bridge often begins softly and builds into the chorus. These volume variations are found throughout pop music, yet if we aren’t listening we will simply play at the same volume. In fact, I’ve given the band I work with, a college Christian band called PraiseSong, a standing order to always play the verses a third quieter than the chorus. You might consider mapping out a song this way.
Repeat Bridge: 5
Repeat Bridge: 6-7