Someone once told me that music with dodgy tuning is folk and music with dodgy timing is jazz… So does that mean lots of worship bands are actually playing sophisticated jazz-folk? All jokes aside, so many worship teams could improve their sound immensely if they just focused on improving their sense of timing.
Most musicians think they keep pretty good time, that is until they have play to a click. Then we find most people naturally speed up, which makes a song feel like its running away with itself, or worse still, they slow down, which sucks all the energy out. Now imagine if you’ve got both these forces working against each other in the same song and you’ve got a recipe for rough, shabby music. The right notes out of time is actually worse than the wrong notes in time!
Tempo vs dynamics
Sometimes this is down to misunderstanding the difference between tempo and dynamics. Generally in pop based music, i.e. the style in which most modern worship songs are written, the tempo never actually changes. The dynamics; its loudness, softness, gentleness, or aggressiveness may change but still the tempo stays rock solid. But when a worship song goes to a quiet verse many people slow down because they’ve fundamentally misunderstood this. Of course in some genre’s, particularly classical, you can play with tempo to create tension and release, but when done properly, this is deliberate, rehearsed, the band does it together and still comes back into time. Most out of time playing in worship teams is accidental, unconscious and to be honest until someone can really play ‘in time’ they should leave the experimenting well alone. So how do you approach this, especially if your musicians are in that unconsciously incompetent bracket? Read More