Lloyd Rankin was also at Plugged In, run by New Wine on the 27 August, 2011, and expressed in a very easy to understand way a theory that I had been introduced to before; the more instruments there are, the less each one has to play.
The main point I got from Lloyd was that it is good to think of the worship team in fractions. If there are five members in your worship team, each member needs to bring one fifth. If there are 2 members, they both need to bring half. And you never want to get bigger than 1. Essentially this follows the rule that I mentioned in my earlier article, in that the more instruments the less you play. If there are 2 members in the team, both bringing half, youll have a lot more space to play in than if there are 8 members, and each only having to play one eighth.
Taking this to the extreme, if there is one pianist, they will have to play everything, including bass, mid range chords, high range fills, and rhythm. As soon as you add an acoustic guitar, that halves. The guitar fills the mid range (as that is its strength and limitations) and also picks up the rhythm. The piano then only has to play half of what it was doing before, and just pick up the bass and high range. (Note, it still contributes to the rhythm, and thus enters into complimenting, rather than competing against the acoustic guitar.)
Obviously, this is a best fit model. It is going to vary depending on individual skill, song choice, style, and a whole range of other factors. One of the main general points that this is getting at is that we don’t need the different instruments to each be bringing 4/5 to the song in terms of their mix. As soon as that happens, it cuts out the space for other instruments to work in, and leads to people playing over the top of others and competing for that space, rather than working harmoniously to bring an overall better sound by playing less.