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Bringing improvisation to a worship team

Discussion in 'Secular Music' started by Lemmiwinks, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Lemmiwinks

    Lemmiwinks Newbie

    I've been in worship teams where we sort of improvise, like if there is an altar call and the pastor will signal us to "keep going" but the results are rather lame in my view because we usually just keep repeating the chorus ad nauseum.

    It would be great to REALLY be able to improvise as a worship team the same way a jazz band improvises.

    I wonder if there are any resources I could use to foster better improvisational skills among musicians I play with?
  2. Timothew

    Timothew Conditionalist

    This is a really good question. I wish I had a really good answer.

    Maybe, knowing the song structure and working out some variations ahead of time, maybe just the acoustic and bass guitars, or piano and bass. Then the other instruments could fill in lead type melodies, major pentatonic stuff, based in and out of the melody.
    I'd like to be able to do this better.

    We've played around with "call to worship" tunes, just revolving around 3 or 4 chords, we call it "noodling", it's kind of a signal to let everyone know that it's almost time to start.
  3. theseagullwithoneleg

    theseagullwithoneleg hungry for God

    yeah i know what you mean as well, maybe have a certain signal by someone when you get sick of the groove to change into a different chord progression?

    we normally keep playing the last song, but use various dynamis and keep out of each way to keep it interesting.

    i play sax, and the longest ive played for is easily 3 hours, specially in a big meeting.

    but the focus is to always try and help people to stay engaged to whatever Holy Spirit is doing.
  4. pianoman23

    pianoman23 Newbie

    Send me an email and I can definately give you some great jazz improvisation tools
  5. mysterE

    mysterE Newbie

    Be patient and add a little bit here, a little bit there. If you try to go all at once you'll meet opposition.
  6. RobPhillips79

    RobPhillips79 Newbie

    In Relationship
    I think the more you improv, the better you get at it. So practice and gain confidence would be my advice.
  7. gnombient

    gnombient reformed librarie-keeper

    I would love to play in a worship band that did more improvisation, as a musician I live for extended jams and free playing. At the same time I have to wonder if including extended improvs is contrary to the band's primary role -- to lead the congregation in worshipping God through song. As a congregant, I personally would be distracted from my worship if the band started trading 4s with the drummer, or the guitar solo went through the changes more than once or twice (depending on the tempo). Instead of focusing on God, I would be keyed in on what the band was doing. I have to confess, as a musician it's already hard enough not to focus on the band!

    If improvisation was being incorporated into a regular Sunday service, it would have to be subtle and restrained. If it was a special worship service (perhaps in an evening) that was more purely focused on music, singing and praise, then by all means -- go crazy!

    Regarding your other question, the best way to develop improvisational skills as a band is to jam together. It helps to work out a rough arrangement beforehand -- play through the verse and chorus, then the guitar 1 solos through the changes 2 times, then piano 2 times, and so on. There are different philosophies about improv, but to me it's all about listening to what other musicians are doing and responding to what you hear. Books and other instructional materials can help, but the only way to improve as an improviser is to listen and play.