How to Think Sonically and Improve the Sound of Your Band w/ Ross Fishburn

If you’re a worship musician, it’s important to think about where your instrument fits in with the rest of the band. Ross Fishburn from Equipped Worship joins Matt McCoy to discuss how to think sonically and improve the sound of your band!

What does “thinking sonically” mean?

In order to think sonically, we first have to know what that means.

Ross: “Thinking sonically is considering the frequency your instrument produces. There’s a sonic spectrum from 20hz to 20khz where all of the frequencies of instruments and vocals fit. Thinking sonically considers where your instrument falls on that spectrum. The misconception is that it’s all up to your sound engineer to consider this. For example, if you’re a bass player, determining when you’re going to play high vs low on a song can really determine the dynamics of the song. You create a different emotion when you play low vs when you play high.”

Matt: “Sonically too then is how your drum heads sound, the tone of your electric guitar, or the type of pickup you’re using on your acoustic guitar. It’s basically not leaving all of the EQ-ing up to your sound team. Send them a good sounding instrument.”

How do you play sonically?

As a worship musician, how do you think sonically to make sure your instrument is fitting in well with the band?

Ross: “Listen to one another. You’re listening to each other’s parts and each other sonically. As a bass player, I’m considering the keys player. The left hand of the keys player is usually sitting in the same frequency as the bass player, so it’s important to listen and communicate with them.”

All of the instruments and vocals work together to create the song.

Ross: “In 1 Corinthians 12, it talks about university and diversity of the gifts. It’s a great parallel in terms of band dynamics. It says, “The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” and later it says “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” Applying that to your band, your bass player might be the hand of the body, your keys player might be the foot of the body, etc. None of the parts are indispensable, but we all work together and compliment one another to make a unified body.”

When you’re mindful of everyone’s part in the band, you’ll sound better and fit together better. If you’re just playing over everyone, it doesn’t do well for anyone in your band or for the church.

Learn more about thinking sonically in the full interview below!

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