How To Arrange A Small Band
By Dan Wilt
Letâ€™s face it.
Not every church has a big, powerful rock band, or a 200 voice choir, or any type of musical ensemble that even remotely sounds like your favorite iTunes download. Even if you lead at a church like that, you donâ€™t always have the whole group with you, nor do you want them at that wedding, that funeral, that house concert or night of prayer.
Some of todayâ€™s fresh acoustic-based music, filled with duos like the Civil Wars, ensembles like Mumford & Sons, and a myriad of unplugged concerts have helped to bring the unique sound that only a small duo or trio can make back into vogue. Bessy on piano, and Rico on mouth harp just may be enough.
So, working with what we have, where do we start?
1. Nail The Essentials
There are essential components to making a song come alive with just a few instruments.Â This part is all about listening. Grab that mp3. What are the drums doing? What is the bass doing? What overall â€śfeelâ€ť is created by the instrumentation?
2. Approximate Feel & Groove
Having determined what the instruments in the recording are doing, begin to find ways to â€śapproximateâ€ť the groove and the feel of the song.Â What rhythm instrument do you have in your arsenal? What instrument could fill up the ambient space like the keyboard does in the mp3?
3. Honor Musical Space
Resist the urge to get everyone piling on the song, trying to recreate volume and density.Â The original song does not need to be replicated. Itâ€™s time for your musicians to learn how to make music that is full of space, and musical breath, yet has the elements that bring it energy and life.
4. What You Have Is Enough
Once youâ€™ve decided that the instrumentation you have is enough to work with, you can stop beating yourself and your band up for not being Coldplay.Â This rite of passage now frees you to make some unique music, and for your musicians to learn how to make â€śsmallâ€ť sound like â€śallâ€ť that is needed.
WorshipTraining has a new 5-minute Video and PDF eBook that you can use to train your musicians to play well together in a small band setting.
Check out the fullÂ “How To Arrange A Small Band” Video and eBook here.
Join our FREE Whiteboard Worship Training Master Class webinarÂ here.