All too often, worship leaders ask whether they should be copying professional worship recordings. Our answer… of course you should!
Let’s begin with a simple truth: it’s an amateur musician’s nature to overplay. These musicians want to be active in every moment of the song, playing each chord with all they’ve got. They tend to believe anything less won’t be enough; anything less and they aren’t participating as they should. Inevitably, this leads to rather chaotic band rehearsals.
Endearing? Perhaps. Productive? Not so much. Look at any professionally recorded worship song and you will find that not every instrument is played continually throughout.
The best songs are dynamic. It may take until the second verse for the electric guitar to sound. Or perhaps strumming only begins in the final chorus. Or maybe everyone is jamming from the start but it all drops to a light, bare-bones bridge before everyone returns for a grand final chorus. Each song is different, and each song should be performed appropriately.
Getting your amateur musicians to copy professional recordings will separate the sheep from the goats. Musicians who truly strive for greatness will seek to replicate and learn from what more seasoned musicians have done. There is simply no better way to improve (and learn a few new tricks along the way).
Look at interviews with famous musicians… you’ll hear about how they spent their childhood years locked away in their bedroom studying [insert music icon here]’s latest record until they could play it note for note. The greats become great by studying greats.
Only an amateur mindset is opposed to copying a pro. They want to be unique; they want their own shtick. But you’ve got to be a good musician first and foremost. There are two paths set before the inexperienced: seek to climb the mountain of knowledge laid by others, or settle on a plateau of your own making.
Current praise songs should sound like their original recording. With the smorgasbord of contemporary worship songs out today, congregations have a hard time knowing each song in a given praise set as is. Let’s not introduce more confusion by changing the arrangements of the songs they do know. Keep to the original as closely as you can, at least until it has been in rotation for a decent period of time. Once the congregation knows it like the back of their hand, by all means have some fun and switch it up on them.
Help amateur musicians realize how valuable it is to copy professional recordings. It’s the best way to leave that amateur status behind.