I am asking this question not beacuse I myself dont know, but because I think there is a lot of varying opinions on what over playing is.
What I think it is may not be what you think it is.
Do we really know what it is, (or) is it that we "know it when we hear it"?
Is it a volume issue?
is it a rytham issue?
Is it a skill issue?
Is it a too busy issue?
Is it a theory issue?
What is your definition?
I would love too hear your thoughts. Lets try and keep responces to two paragraphs or less.
I want this to be an easy read not a treatise on the subject. :-)
The two issues I've had personally with overplaying on my team have been 1) a keyboard player that acted like a one man show and played everybody else's parts along with his own and 2) an electric guitar player that felt the need to solo through every song from start to finish.
OK and now a serious answer. Are people hearing One Voice as;
A) A group of people lifting an offering of worship in the Unity of the Spirit (Each part is distinct and compliments the other parts)
B) One person who is drawing all the attention to themselves, instead of the Creator (Their part is distinct with complete abandon for what everyone else is doing around them)
Watch Paul Baloche's Worship Band Workshop it has an excellent 10-15 piece regarding overplaying.
I would define overplaying as either playing more than your role in the band or playing more than the heart of the song calls for. To illustrate, in a five piece band, each player is responsible for 20% of the sound. If the piano player is playing the full chords that the guitar is holding down as well as the same notes the bass player is playing with his left hand, he is overplaying. Also, an issue, maybe the piano is the only instrument playing the song "Heart of Worship." If he is playing tons of runs and very busy notes, esp during verses, he is not interpreting the heart of the song and is overplaying. Anyone beside Pete agree? =)
I do. I think it is so important for musicians, however skilled, to have the insight to know when back off during a song such as 'Heart of Worship'..........just because you can, doesn't mean you should, in every song.
I think that it is a group skill issue. When working with musicians, I always say that what you don't play is as important as what you do play. The more instruments that you have in a group the less each one should have to do. Look for where ranges cross over. In the rhythm section the rhythm guitar and keyboards/piano are two of the hardest to integrate together as much of their notes cross over in the frequency spectrum. Experiment with simple piano if the guitars are strumming hard or finger picking the guitar for a piano led song. Try using a capo on the guitar to change the chord inversions. A great example would be Charlie & Jill Leblanc's Lord we love to worship. I find works really well if the keys are in C and the guitar capos on 5 and plays in G. The keys also need to be wary of getting busy in the bottom end as this will overlap with the bass. Bless all keyboard player out there and no offence meant, but I find avoid giving a full score to the keyboards especially if they're classically trained. A chord sheet should be enough.
Possibly a contentious issue, but I avoid instruments playing the tune too much. The singers should provide the melody, if the instruments play it too it can overpower the mix.
Solo instruments can be a blessing and a curse. We have all seen the lead guitarist who has to solo all through a song. Soloists need to be looking for the gaps in the songs to add a little flourish or the odd motif or emphasis these can really enhance a song. They must also know when to keep quiet. With more than 1 solo instrument they need to take turns or perhaps collaborate with some pre arranged bits. If you are fortunate to have good soloists, then make time and space for them. Have those instrumental verses to allow the spirit to move through the musicians as they pour their heart out to God through their instruments.
I hope you find this useful. Just a few things that have helped me over the years.
Judging by your list David, I would say that its a combination of rhythm (or timing) issues and too busy issues. There has been a lot of good advice given thus far, addressing problems that many of us have experienced at one time or another. I think Mark's post is pretty much spot on. William raised a good point too...the Paul Baloche "workshop" videos are VERY important. The three main areas I concentrate on are:
1) Make sure the keyboard player uses a LIGHT left hand, so as not to step on the bass players part.
2) Make sure the keyboard and rhythm guitar are NOT playing the same chords in the same octave at the same time.
3) Make sure that the acoustic and electric guitars are NOT playing the same chords in the same octave at the same time.
Nailing those three things are more than half the battle.