One thing that I’ve found so useful is educating myself in my surroundings. My surroundings being drums, bass, piano, pads, etc. As both a guitarist and as a worship leader, learning how other instruments work has been a game changer and benefits my growth as a musician. What benefits one learning the operation of other instruments? Why does one have to know how everything else that I play with work? Simple answer: it makes you better.
One thing about being on a team is having to remember that you’re not alone up there. It’s you and a group of other musicians. You have to learn how to work off of each other, to make each other sound the best that you can. This takes having to learn how each member works. There are so many ways to do this. Lets look at 4 different ways to educate yourself.
Research: You take some time to crack open a book or in today’s technological culture, look up videos on YouTube. Watch or read drummers talk about time, technique, dynamics and so much more that you might now have realized before. Same goes for guitarists, bassists, and keyboardists. My favorite to sit and learn is keyboards. Synths and tracks are a whole other world to me and what musicians have been able to accomplish in today’s worship is incredible.
Learn The Instrument: This is probably the toughest way to go about educating yourself. This will probably take up the most time and dedication as well. The most definite way to learn about your fellow musician’s instrument is to learn the instrument itself! Stepping into their shoes can really give you the ultimate experience in learning. You can always ask your musician for help in the matter, or have them teach you!
Ask Questions: It’s simple, it’s easy. How does this work? What can I do to compliment what you’re doing and why would that work? Why does this make such a difference in your playing? Etc. There are no wrong answers! Just be ready for earfuls of answers from gear nerds!
Jam Session: Have it out with your band. A jam session can just open up creativity and you can’t help but watch your brother/sister do work. Watch and examine, work with dynamics, try and compliment each other. Have a fun stress free time. No time limit, get to know each other getter in the musical sense.
In this process you will surely develop a new appreciation for your fellow musician for what they bring to the team. Don’t let this turn into work or a chore, in the end this will help you become better in your surroundings and is a terrific form of team building. Have fun!