Sure, we’ve heard the phrase over and over. But there is still so much truth in it. Do we ever give up on compensating for something? Where we lack we try and make up for, what’s empty we try and fill. It’s within our nature to try to bring more to the less.
Whether a novice or a professional, we can find areas in music or a song where we believe it to be lacking something, something more. Our instinct tells us that we need to do something about it.
For example, let’s say we have a song that our team is working on and we get to a refrain or an interlude where not much is happening musically. So, we fill it in with a part or solo. Before that, ask yourself, “Do I really need to be doing something here?”. Let’s look at another example, the song is just kicking off, simple pads or key and acoustic. How much is your electric needed right now? Is it pivotal to the song?
The answer to these questions, is ultimately up to you. Try and gauge the vibe and dynamic of your band. Ask your leader,
“Am I doing too much?”
“Should I come in later?”
There’s no wrong answer, but there is the possibility of over saturating a song with leads or heavy drive and washy reverb. Be strategic of your tone and effects use them to your advantage. Start with less and if necessary, work your way up with more drive and ambiance. Never start at 100 (unless the song calls for it of course).
It’s not only about crunchy guitars and long delay repeats, it’s about being sensitive to His Holy Spirit and how to respond to that in worship. Some areas where leads were not written for could have been done on purpose and with the intention of allowing the church to simply have the freedom to respond in worship. Allow space and liberty within songs.
Also, don’t over complicate solos or instrumentals. We all know that you can play well. There’s so much magic, for lack of a better word, in the simplicity of solos or major lead lines. Let’s look at the lead for a “Reckless Love”, as soon as it plays we know exactly what song it is and what we’re heading into. Over doing it can shift that into a “What song is this?” feeling. By no means am I not saying that you shouldn’t take liberties, by all means have fun! But try not to make it so unfamiliar and foreign to the rest of the song.
Our pursuit of creativity can be our strength and our weakness. It’s our duty is to be able to judge where we allow that to shine. Less, is more.