Plays Well With Others, #3, Filling in the Holes


Sometimes we are blessed with instruments other than that of the normal praise band. They can be very useful instruments to “fill in the holes.” This article is a musical demonstration of how that works.

For instance, a trumpet, flute, saxophone player comes to rehearsal and perhaps they improvise. Oftentimes, the solo instrument player will tend to play along with the melody if not given proper instruction. This is kind of like the “all-skate” that I described in my first installment of “Plays Well With Others.” It isn’t the best use for this instrument, as they may often be “stepping on top of” the vocalist.

However, a better thought is to have that person play when no vocals are singing, in a complimentary fashion. This works great for intros, outros and turnarounds.Here is a great example of this in action with Wynton Marsalis and his daughter Oni.

In this video, the solo instrument plays an intro, then vocals on melody. You will notice that when Wynton plays he is VERY careful to play at ends of phrases, and never upstaging the soloist. When he does play during Oni’s singing, they are long notes in the background. Also, this is a tender song, with a tender voice. Mr. Marsalis is using a cup mute in the trumpet, to better compliment the style of the singer.

Nowadays, improvisation is great, but not mission critical. You can find parts on PraiseCharts or LifeWay Worship for just the instrument you have in the orchestrations of songs that you want to use, available for pennies. Just be willing to tell the instrumentalist when and when not to play, as it is an orchestration part.

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Remember that “filling in the holes” is just another great way of playing well with others.