3 essential components on how to improve your worship team (Part 1)

Dec 5th, 2012, by Kelvin Lim-


1 a.m. (One Accord Ministry) has taught worship to many churches and we realized through our experiences, learning this 3 essential components will help improve your worship team significantly.

Kelvin Lim with 1 AM

Before I begin writing on the spiritual aspects of worship, I want to touch on the practical issues first.


I like to ask you, have you encountered situations like this before?

Imagine you are an audience to this music band.

The pianist busily ran his fingers from the lowest key to the highest key, akin to playing a Beethoven classical piece. The acoustic guitarist strummed his guitar out of rhythm at its loudest attempting to be heard… or maybe not? You could not tell.

The bassist ran every scale according to Youtube lessons. And the electric guitarist fiddled with his newfound distortion or delayed sound, as if he was in front of a thousand screaming fans. Of course, you cannot miss the drummer who rolled every two to four bars of a song thinking only a real drummer hits their Toms. The singer lastly sang and imagined that they were songbirds.

If you have, welcome to the world of musicians who want to be a rock or pop star.

So let me share with you Part 1 of the FIRST component.


Hear Each Other

Interestingly a rock band or worship band like Hillsongs or Planetshakers does not play like the above. But if you listened, you will realize that only one person always leads in the band. Most of the time, it’s the singer and when the singer takes a break in between phrases, only one instrument will lead while the others will back him up. That is the basic foundation. We can have two or more leading instruments but let’s just focus on the basics.

This is called arrangement.

Whether you have skilled or unskilled musicians, it is possible to arrange your music when you start to learn to HEAR EACH OTHER.

Hearing one another is a skill many people brush aside simply because we prefer to play what we like.

If you are interested to play in a band, then you have to realize that you are just the hands or feet or maybe the inglorious toe. In a band, you have to play your role and not what you like.

Let’s begin with the basics and I will try my best to share it in layman terms.


Drummer and Bassist

First let’s focus on the drummer and bassist. Always remember both of you are the heartbeat of the band. The drummer’s goal is to maintain a constant rhythm while the bassist follows the rhythm of the drum by following the drummer’s kick drum (kick drum is the biggest drum on the floor where the right feet of the drummer is hitting on).

All the bassist needs to do is to hit each time the drummer hits his kick drum. To do that, the drummer must keep a constant kick and not kick the drum whenever he likes. With this, we have the backbone of the band and we have now established a groove.


Acoustic Guitarist

As the drummer and bass provide a rhythm and groove, the acoustic guitarist’s role now is to strum his guitar base on the rhythm of drum to provide a chord structure that provides a musical rhythm.


Electric Guitarist

The electric guitarist helps to provide colors and also a stronger rhythm section to the band. Whenever there is an acoustic and electric guitarist playing, always learn to play on different octaves or different inversions so that it provides different harmonies. Nowadays electric guitarist carries a lot of the song’s signature tune. Signature tunes are often heard at the beginning of the song, in between and at the end of the song.


Keyboard or Pianist

Now the keyboard or pianist is to feel in the gap and find areas in the music where it’s empty. They do sometimes play the signature tunes as well.  I realize as a pianist, it’s hard to just use your right hand to play and not do anything with your left hand since that is usually the bass part that plays that register. My advice is learn how to press lightly on the left hand if you are playing the low bass parts or not moves to much on your left hand. This happens mainly in fast songs. When you play slow songs, learn to give space to the other instruments and learn not to play too many notes at the same time.



For vocalist, you carry the melody. Thus it’s important that you must sing strongly and confidently so the congregation and musicians knows who is the boss J. It’s good to have people who know how to sing parts (Parts are counter melodies of the lead melody). Learn to not always sing altogether at the same time but vary different styles like starting with a solo singer, a duet or different variations so that it add different dynamics to the vocals.

1 AM Band


Less is More

Always remember as a band, your goal is to enhance the melody, which comes from the vocalist.  Help build the melody and not overtake the melody. A simple way of knowing you are ahead of the melody is you can’t hear the melody but more of the music. That tells you that the musicians are overplaying their parts.

I often tell my musicians, remember my surname, which is L.I.M., It stands for Less Is More.

So if everyone is willing to hear each other on this simple basic playing together as a band and learn the L.I.M. factor, you will begin to hear a difference, and you may surprise yourself that your worship band sound pretty good J.

So try it and let me know if it worked for you.


I will share more on Part 2 in hearing each other.



Dear Viewers in Christ,  if you do find this article edifying to you, please do not hesitate to use the social media plugs (Share, Email to this article) to bless your friends. The Lord will surely bless you even as you bless others. May the Lord’s peace and love be with you.  Amen. 



 References for pictures:












1 Comment

  1. Thank you very much. Very helpful article, especially for small churches working to build up their worship team. Looking forward to Part 2.


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