Dynamics is one of the most important tools you have as a drummer. Building and cutting back a song changes the whole mood and atmosphere. In a worship set, if a song is up tempo the whole way through there maybe no room for people to slow down and think or reflect, or if its too laid back the whole time people might get bored. But be careful though, not to have to much happening, you don’t want to take people on a fast roller coaster! The dynamics you use should flow with the song.
Why does this fall on you? Because you have the easiest control of the volume that you produce. It is easiest for you to be the main one building and cutting back. Team members will also find it easier to fit in with you and build with you rather than them building and you following them. Whether its a building fill into a chorus or a cut back to the ride into a free worship time, what you play will have a lasting effect on the atmosphere that has been created. Its a big resposibility to have but with practice you will gain confidence. Work with the team to help you grow in confidence.
It is important therefore to follow leader. Work out signals, if needed, for building or cutting back. Learn the best way to use these dynamics. Listen to songs that build and cut back for ideas on how to do this smoothly and well. Whether is on the ride or a quiet tom beat there are many many options to build and cut back. A couple of examples are Surrender and Even Greater by Planetshakers. The drummer is also very good at helping to create space in the songs.
Not Just Worship Songs
Every song should have dynamics throughout them. In most cases the chorus is stronger then the verses, so maybe you open the hi-hat or use the ride, but usually you need to increase the energy. For example when you build up for a chorus, hit into the chorus and keep it up rather then build up to it then dropping out when you come into it. Work out where the climax of the song is. For example if the climax is in the bridge you dont want to be going all out in the chorus. There are always exceptions and sometimes the worship leader will want to do a song differently every now and again. Listen to different songs and their dynamics. Get an idea of what are good ways of using dynamics. Don’t be afraid to pound out a chorus! More about this later…