Art of Music #1 – Volume

In the technical pursuit of learning to play an instrument it is easy to forget the ART of music. Just like painters, cinematographers, sculptors and the like, musicians have a responsibility to themselves and their craft to delve into the mystic. In my humble opinion, this is where 90% of music misses the mark.

The art section of the blog will not follow a step-by-step approach. Instead we will travel different paths until we’ve gone on a bunch of tangents. I will attempt to give you some sense of how to take these ideas and approaches and put them into use as a musician yourself.

In the real world low volume means often equals far away. Thousands of songs fade out at the end and the result is natural and smooth like slowly walking away. Its how we end so many of our interactions in day-to-day life.

Different volume levels give music three dimensions (3-D). This feeling of the music is very powerful. In pop music the singer is usually the loudest and makes them feel front and center in the sound. Usually the other instruments are “further back in the mix”. Their lower volume makes them feel like they are behind the singer.

As a player, judging and adjusting your volume is vital. Should these chords fill the entire background with a wash of sound or should they be just barely audible until the chorus so I can suddenly pummel the listener? Am I singing background parts too loud, or do they sit just right against the lead singer?

You should practice some parts of songs from super soft to super loud and everywhere in between! You want to master how different volume levels feel and understand what it does to your experience as a listener. You should also practice going from soft too loud quickly as different sections start and also with different notes within a single phrase. VOLUME LEVELS ARE SUPER IMPORTANT. b u t  s o m e t i m e s  l e s s  i s  m o r e !