You can download the PDF of this resource here.
As a melody instrument, your primary role is to add interest and variety to what the rest of the band are playing. You’ve got the power to add texture with strong, lower, harmony or build the feel of a song with a higher harmony.
It should go without saying that making sure you get an opportunity to tune is key!
Make every note count
If you’re playing as part of a worship band, you’ll be competing with the guitarists and keyboard player. The key in this situation is to make use of the old adage and “play smarter, not harder”. Take advantage of the gaps between sung phrases to add in a harmony that complements the feel of the song or offer to help the clarity of the song’s introduction by adding in the melody during an instrumental section.
If a song is new to the congregation, or your band doesn’t have a singer, playing the melody can be helpful. If you have strong singers and a full band, then the melody is likely to get lost in the mix.
Harmonising can be daunting; the idea of playing something that’s not the melody and not even written down is nerve wracking for many orchestral players.
A key tip top reduce the worry is that it’s fine to dip in and out with a harmony, you don’t have to play all the way throughout the song. Have a look through the song and identify any harmonies that jump out at you, listening to a recorded version of the song if you need inspiration. Check that they fit the words - a strong harmony soaring above the melody would be best suited to the climax of the verse or chorus.
If you’re unsure where to start with a harmony, look at the piano sheet music - usually it’s possible to pick out a melodic line under the main tune using the harmonic notes that are written for the piano and passing notes between them. Get a copy of the music and try it along to YouTube!