As an instrumentalist (keys, bass, acoustic, electric and even drums) playing in a worship band, it is very important to listen to what is going on around you. This means listening to the people serving with you and working with them, not trying to play over the top of them.
Perhaps this is illustrated with a clip that I’ve recently seen on the Internet:
Take a moment to critically analyse the content of this clip. You can notice a few things:
- The lead vocal is great, and so is the piano part she is playing.
- The sound mix is not great, and there is clipping (which may be the camera mic used here).
- Come on, admit it, the drummer is technically quite good – but he is not listening to the song.
Now, let’s go listen to the original Oceans track from Hillsong:
Notice how the drum part is very similar to the first track? You can tell the drummer is trying to emulate this, but the mix (and the fact that he is playing a harshly set up electronic kit) is letting him down.
Food for thought, and maybe this wasn’t as big a failure on the drummer’s part as one might think.
Always listen to the people serving with you – make sure you “feel” the song. Be open for the Spirit to take the lead. Quite often less is more even if you are struggling with other elements like the mix, monitors or a lack of instruments.