We’re now three weeks into the startup of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville.
I’ve been having a great time getting back into the pattern of leading every Sunday, planning out the order of the service, having weekly rehearsals at my house, being part of the set-up and take-down teams again, and getting to the Sunday meeting a lot earlier than I’ve been getting there the last few years.
And I love it. Except maybe for the “getting to the meeting early every Sunday” part.
One of the things I’ve missed as I’ve handed off regular Sunday leading to others is being involved in the day-to-day issues, challenges, joys, mishaps, failures, and successes that accompany leading congregational worship. I’m sure I’ll have more to share on those items in the days to come.
This past Sunday I had a revelation I thought might be helpful for any keyboardists who read my blog.
For years now I’ve taught piano players to play less. Less is more. Use the donut style (leave space in the middle). Tie your left hand behind your back. Etc., etc.
This past Sunday, in order to give our bass player a break, I played a Fender Rhodes piano bass. It actually belongs to Joel Sczebel, our electric player, but he let me use it because he was playing drums AND electric guitar. My son in law, Jacob, was on loops, synth, and electric. His dad, Dave, was in town and he played acoustic guitar.
After the meeting, the guys were saying how everything sounded so much clearer that morning, because they had so much space to play in. Julie, my wife, who was mixing, said the same thing. When searching for an explanation, they realized that my left hand had been limited primarily to the Rhodes. That means my contributions were right hand fills and left hand bass lines with no pedal. Ouila! Clean sound.
It was a humbling moment. So here’s what I learned:
- Teaching people to play less and actually doing playing less are two different things.
- I may be playing less, but if I regularly use my left hand with the pedal, the overtones are still filling the aural spectrum.
- Changing the instrument I typically play can be a profitable learning experience.
- I play with very patient, kind, and honest friends.
So if you happen to visit Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville in the near future, you may not see me playing the Fender Rhodes piano bass, but hopefully you won’t hear my left hand obscuring the rest of the band.
And for all you overplaying keyboardists, you’re welcome.