Archives For song keys

July 7 Header

As I’ve mentioned recently, one of the most common conversations I have with other leaders is on the topic of transitions and flow through worship sets. I’ve written to this topic a couple times, but thought that perhaps just walking through my train of thought behind a set list that I’ve led could be a practical application for what I’ve been writing about.

Sunday, July 7th (2013):
How Great Thou Art (B) – Paul Baloche verison
King of Wonders (B) – Matt Redman, and about 30 others …
I Will Exalt You (B) – Brooke Ligertwood
In Christ Alone (E) – Kristian Stanfill arrangement

I started off the set with a very quick ‘Good morning’.  I try to give a brief explanation every Sunday about what we’re doing and why — we have visitors that come through every week and we want them to understand why we’re doing something that may seem so strange. And let’s be honest, even those of us who have been involved in worship services for years need that kick in the butt on a regular basis. I believe our worship is completely out of a response to a revelation of God, so what I say needs to point people in the direction of a revelation that they’re responding to.

I believe our worship is completely out of a response to a revelation of God …

This particular week, I knew that Isaiah 40 said what I wanted to say much better than I could have ever said it, so I read that as the band started to build into the first song. I’ve said it before — if scripture can say what you’re trying to say, 10 times out of 10 it’s better to stop talking yourself and just read scripture!!

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  1. Take lengthy pauses between songs. Say nothing for extra effect while staring at the drummer displeasingly!
  2. Modulate, modulate, modulate!
  3. Keep your eyes fixed on the music stand. At all times. Do not look away.
  4. Always emulate Mariah Carey or Christina Aguilera in your singing approach. The more syllables, the better-yeah-yeah-ooooooh-errrr.
  5. Never practice together as a band before Sunday morning. Your collective talent is a gift from God that should not require any human striving.
  6. When in doubt, sing slightly off key. It’s helpful for the congregation.
  7. Clap. Even in slow songs. Yes Lord!
  8. Forget the words – and often. Make up new ones as the Spirit leads. In every song.
  9. Pick a key that is in the perfect range for your voice. Being the worship leader and all, you’ve earned it. Making sure that your voice sounds AWESOME is the most important part of leading people in worship.
  10. Practice your worship face. Make it pleasing to the Lord. (Ok this might be crossing a line, but I think it’s hilarious. Check out #WorshipFaceWednesday on Instagram)

Blog - Vocal Range Header

Worship leaders should have one approach to their leadership:

Lead in such a way that only provides encouragement towards (not distraction from) an opportunity to join together in singing declarative truths about who our God is and who we are as His people.

That may seem very self explanatory, but think about the things that could be a potential distraction for someone wanting to engage in musical worship.  Anything from inappropriately placed screaming guitar solos to lyric slides that show up a line too late (and everything in between) can fall into this red flag zone.

There are many things that can distract us from entering into engaged musical worship experiences, but I would say towards the top of “The Most Distracting List” can be the key a song is led in.  If a song is too high or too low, what are people going to do? They’ll just stand there. If they’re wanting to be singing by they physically can’t, it can be frustrating.

REALITY CHECK FOR TRAINED VOCALISTS WHO LEAD: If you choose a key based on where it sounds best or is even most natural to sing in your range, it’s probably not a good key to lead that song in corporately.

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