What to Play for Background Music

Dec 01, 2022

What do you play when the song is over and someone comes up to speak?

If you’re like most musicians, you spend time listening to the songs you’re going to play for service. Then maybe you find a chord chart and play through the song a few times. YOU FORGET to practice one of the most important things…BACKGROUND MUSIC!

Why you should practice background music:

  1. Background music is vital to a service because it keeps the flow of what’s going on.
  2. Playing the same song you were playing before is a distraction and will cause the congregation to focus on you instead of what the minister is saying.
  3. Not playing is not a good strategy when it comes to background music. You need to be ready to play and flow.

Can you answer a question for me… when’s the last time you intentionally practiced background music or are you a make it up as you go kind of musician?

When it’s time to play background music do you:

  1. Freeze and stop playing - this is most often the wrong thing to do and can cause a bigger distraction. The silence creates unease in the service.
  2. Keep playing the same song you were before - this is a great way to get all of the attention. People will keep singing along with the song and miss everything that’s said.
  3. Play the same chords of the song but slower - if you’re not careful, playing the same chords can still sound like the song and therefore be a distraction.

Now that we know what not to do

Here’s what you should play for background music:

  1. Play any variation of chords that sound good.
  2. Play without rhythm
  3. Mix up the chords of the song you just played.


Remember that playing background music is a vital part of playing for a service. Use these tips to practice this week!

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