Instrumentation can be a tricky thing when writing worship music. As a songwriter, it’s easy to let a song be driven by an instrumental hook. As a composer, it’s fun to layer instrumental parts. As a music director, you are limited by the instrumentalists on your team, and by their skill levels. I try to ask myself a few questions as I’m writing: Is this song relying on its accompaniment to be effective? Would it work with only guitar, only piano, or even a cappella? Are the instruments supporting the melody, driving it, or overpowering it? In short- is the instrumentation a crutch for a weak melody?
It’s important to me that my songs are useful regardless of the instruments a music director has available. None of my arrangements are meant to be set in stone, but starting points for a director to adapt to their needs, adding, changing, or minimizing. My goal (not always reached, but always reached for) is that the text and melody will hold up and shine in any arrangement.