Learning the chords to a given song is surely important, but when you have done that – the real magic can begin.
I am sure we have all experienced this sometime: the song starts, everyone plays, strum, strum, strum…. it’s over. Next!
That’s not a song! A foundation for a song, perhaps, but not a finished product we can be satisfied with.
As with a home, the foundation is important, as that is what the home sits on. It must be sturdy and solid, but the real beauty of the home lies with the detail: the front door, the siding. Windows. COLOR! Without all that it would just be a box, and a drab box at that.
Let’s look at our music in the same way: we need the foundation of the proper chords and the basic arrangement (intro, verse, chorus, etc.), but this is only the foundation. Now we need dynamics!
Is the first verse best played quietly, followed by a rousing chorus? Or is it the other way around? Perhaps the lyrics of the song suggests that it should be played with energy at the beginning, followed by a reflective and more thoughtful bridge section, then a final burst of energy to finish the song.
Is the song a happy song, or is is a sad love song? Slow, fast, loud, or quiet?
Take all this into consideration when you are playing and arranging a song to perform, whether it be a solo open mic performance, or a large group playalong.
Use dynamics to enhance your otherwise drab and average song. That is what will turn that drab, colorless box of a song into a vibrant and engaging residence wherein your musical story lies.