How an add-on instrument can work in a #worship band #sundaysetlist #sundaysetlists

Accordion used by David Crowder

We have an accomplished accordion player who attends our church. As the “talent broker” in the church, it’s my responsibility to assemble the right musicians with availability into the right places at the right times.  Sometimes we get it right.  Sometimes wrong.  This past weekend, we got it right.

Here are some things that can make any worship band add-on instrument work.

  1. Allow the musician to prepare. This means get them both music and recordings 2-3 weeks in advance.  If the musician doesn’t play every week with the worship band, they may not be sharp on the music we are expecting them to play.  If they have time on the music, they’ll come more confident.
  2. Identify a “blueprint” arrangement. This means identify when they will and will not play for each song.  To make things easy, the we sat down in advance and said this is what we’ll do for each song.  Here is the blueprint started with for each song.
    • INTRO – depends
    • VERSE 1 – out
    • CHORUS – play
    • VERSE 2 – play
    • CHORUS (sometimes two choruses) – play
    • BRIDGE – out
    • CHORUS (sometimes two choruses) – play
    • OUTRO/INTRO – depends
  3. Select songs that work. Some songs work for an accordion (or cello, or pedal steel, or what ever).  As we select songs, make sure the songs somehow fit the genre of the instrument.  It’s OK to have a song or two that are out of the norm for the instrument, however most songs should work immediately with the particular instrument.
  4. Ask the musician what they know. It’s amazing what people can play if they already know the music.  When the accordionist was asked, “What do you know?” — she hauls off and plays a polka.  And a good one.  The band joined in.  Wonderbar!  We have a song to play as people greet each other.  Another time we asked a cellist, “What do you know?” — he hauled off and played Flight of the Bumblebee (see here).  Nice.
  5. Feature the add-on instrument at several points. If we are going to have an add-on instrument, let’s feature it.  People see it on stage.  People are smart enough to know when they aren’t hearing an instrument or singer.  They aren’t eye candy.  If we are going to have an add-on instrument, amplify them and make them a real part of what is happening.

Here’s what we did for “Accordion” weekend…

Setlist from June 20, 2010

  2. Test – click LEFT and loop RIGHT
  3. Sound Check – Full Band
  4. Sound Check – Vocals
  6. Set 1 – June 17, 2010
  7. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  8. Set 2 – June 19, 2010
  9. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  10. ___ END click here (cue)
  12. O Worship the King – loop and click 168
  13. O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing – loop and click 109 BPM
  14. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  15. Lord Have Mercy – loop and click 63 BPM
  16. We Fall Down — loop and click 74 BPM
  17. My Redeemer Lives – loop and click 136 BPM
  18. ___ END click here (cue)
  20. O Worship The King (G)
  21. O, For A Thousand Tongues To Sing
  22. Lord Have Mercy (G)
  23. We Fall Down
  24. My Redeemer Lives

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