Creating Space in the Music.

Genesis 1 begins with the words “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. We all know that. Most of us could quote it. But recently I was reminded of something that has blown my mind. Before God created anything there was only God. There was no time and no space. Before God created heaven and earth he had to create space to put his creation in.

The beginning of creativity is to create space.

The artist puts a blank canvas in front of him. space

The writer begins with a blank computer screen.. space

The actor steps onto an empty stage. space

The sculptor begins with a rock or a piece of clay. space

There are so many implications and applications to this theological thought, but let me put it in my world.

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Over the years I’ve told our musicians (and I’ve regularly reminded myself) that the difference between the amateur and professional musicians is not so much in what you play as it is in what you don’t play. Great music is about the space between the notes. If you don’t believe me sit down with some great music (80s music and Lady GaGa don’t count) and listen for the space between the notes.

One of the biggest criticism I hear of church bands is that theyjust produce this wall of noise that comes at you relentlessly throughout the worship set. While I acknowledge it could be a mix problem, or an acoustics problem, more often then not, it’s a musicians problem. Here are a few tips that might help.

1. Play simple! In my opinion the number one problem in church bands is that everybody playsway to busy. The drummer the bassist the guitarists the pianists, everybody! If everybody would cut back by 50% (that’s not an exaggeration) it would make a vast overall improvement right off the bat.

Dynamics have everything to do with simplicity. If you want a quiet intimate moment you don’t just try to play softer you play simpler. Put lots of space between the notes.

2. Don’t play all the time . If everybody plays all the time you get that wall of noise that I was talking about. The bigger your band is the more this applies. It’s hard not to play. Believe me I know. Ask a drummer not to play and he will play little cymbal parts. The guitarists will want to play a little lead line. We feel like we have to play something! If you are playing all the time you are not creating space.

One thing that helps is to worship during the time you are not playing! That is a novel idea. Its way to easy to hide behind your instrument. I know, I’ve done it. Turn your instrument down, put your hands in the air and worship God!

3. Listen to each other . Of course that is only the beginning because as we listen to each other then we create space for each other. When there is a great guitar riff stay out of the way! When the drummer is doing a hot fill then don’t fill at the same time. Only when we listen can we create space for each other. As we get more proficient we can learn to play in a way that not only stays out of each others way, but complements what the other is doing; then you are truly creating great music. But it all starts by listening to each other.

There is more that could be said but I I think that is enough for now. Take these thoughts to your next rehearsal. Try it out and see if things don’t change a bit.

In the next blog (which I promise won’t be so long in coming) I’m going to talk about creating space in a church service for God to work. See you then.

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Posted in Computer Post Date 12/01/2014






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