I have been asked to lead worship for our small church. It will be my first time to lead worship, as our regular worship leader will be gone this Sunday. I play bass, and for my team this week, I have a keys player, drummer and a semi-good acoustic guitar player. (Mostly can play bar chords but he is getting arthritis.)
The songs I have chosen and sent out to them in this order:
Call to Worship - Hosanna (Praise is Rising) G
The Stand A
Open the Eyes of My Heart E
Better is One Day E
Glorious C - this is a new one, our congregation hasn't sung..
Can you give me any tips. I had to stick to keys I could sing, but I suppose I could change the order. I am sort of locked into the songs now, as the group has had them for about 4 days. The keys player and the guitar player sing backup, and I usually sing back up. So I am somewhat used to singing and playing at the same time. Just REALLY nervous.
Thanks and God Bless
Will you get a chance to practise with the rest of the band beforehand? Not wanting to scare you, but I have found songs I was quite confident on when practising at home turned out to be a little bit ropey when performed in front of other people. On the other hand, there's plenty of grace to go around and no time to dwell on mistakes in live performance, so it isn't all bad.
One thing that is great about playing with a group is that you can lean on them. The other day I was leading (on guitar in this case) and had another guitarist and a bassist with me. This was a small, mid-week event and rehearsal time was very limited. My guitar quickly dropped out of tune but I was able to make it through by relying on my little band to keep the music going while I concentrated on leading the singing (and dropping in a few lead licks with string bends to cover any particularly egregious notes!). Keep the bass lines really simple (the kind of thing that other musicians think you ought to be playing anyway) and enjoy your time at the helm.
I don't know all the songs you are intending to do but wonder if the new one might be better earlier on? The reason is that it is at the start of the set, you can cover any mistakes by excelling with the more familiar tunes. People often use the first song or two of a longer set to warm up to and so, in that respect, they are less important. If you land on a weaker song, that is what the congregation might carry with them as they move on into the rest of the service. If, lyrically, it really is the place you want to end, a compromise would be to teach the song or at least the chorus at the start of the set so it is already familiar by the time you end.
Thank you for the tips. I will take all of them to heart. We will have time to rehearse on Thursday evening. I was hoping to get one more in the week before Sunday warmup. Just because we are a newer group of musicians working together. But I haven't heard back as to their schedules.
Hi Ryan, good advice there from Wulf.
Looking at the list, the one song that stands out a little (if you'll pardon the pun) is The Stand. However if you're locked to those songs then (assuming you're doing the full song instead of just the "I'll stand" part) then I'd put it after Glorious (Paul Baloche?) especially as they know it already. I quite like to introduce new songs mid-way, so that people are warmed up & singing, but not right at the end so that the finish isn't awkward or discomforting. However there's no rules in this, so fit things together as seems right to you.
Another thing that might be worth mentioning is trying to find songs that fit thematically AND key-wise so that you only have a couple of key changes. Although this can make things sound a bit samey if you pick songs with similar rhythms and tempos was well as keys, it does make flowing between songs smoother and more natural sounding. You've got 2 songs in E together there, so if you wanted, you could run 'seamlessly' between them.
I can't offer useful advice about singing and playing at the same time as I can't really do that very much.
I like your idea about NOT playing the new song last and leaving them with that. I will try putting it before The Stand.
I am sort of locked into the songs, however if Glorious does not go over well for us at rehearsal, I may need to swap it out for another similar tempo song. Something that is easy to play, basic chord changes, etc. Any suggestions?
i hope this doesn't come across as harsh, but you are only singing to one, Him, everything else is not important. sing to God first, and let Him take care of the rest. This is live music. If you make a "mistake", someone needs to hear it. We have been overwhelmed when the band feels a song did not go well, but comments from the congregation said otherwise. I guess, just let God do his work through you.
I completely agree with you Bill. Thanks for the reminder that I (we) are up there to give him glory, not to perform and be perfect.
First off - congrats on taking the lead, so to speak.
And I would agree on Wulf's point that what works at home alone may not work as well with the whole group or the congregation.
Let me reiterate Toni's point of keeping a smooth flow of keys. I like to keep the key changes upward, but that is not always possible. I try to avoid a downward shift (like going from D to C or C to A) I also try to thematically change from declaring what God has done (praise) to addressing Our Lord directly (in worship). That also usually goes from faster to slower songs.
Leading from a bass can be fun. I have done it many times, although I usually lead from an acoustic. But if my list includes something of a gospel genre, then I will lead from the bass.
Enjoy God's Presence. Rev. Bob Mumford used to define worship as simply "enjoying God." Remember it is HIM who you are playing and singing to. You go to God and invite everyone to come along with you. If you do not go, they cannot follow.
If I am reading all the comments correctly, in order to keep the same key songs together, as well as not putting the new song at beginning or end. I will need to revise my set to:
Open the Eyes of My Heart E
Better is One Day E
The Stand A
This however, brings the keys down as we go :(
Like I said those are general guidlines, not hard and fast rules.
Dropping keys (going down) is not an issue if you have some kind of break between the songs, like introducing the new song.
I wouldn't worry too much about keys going down. After all, you could also look at it instead as keys going up by giant steps ;-)
More important, if you aren't breaking for some kind of prayer, reading or announcement between each one, is how the harmony and melody facilitate or hamper the transition. Both in your own preparation and in rehearsal time as a group work on beginnings, endings and transitions. Those tend to be the tricky points (some songs also need a bit of extra work as you go from section to section although, in most cases, those changes will feel natural and won't need so much focus).
Do you have the congregation sing during the call to worship? If so, you're asking an awful lot of them right off the bat (high Cs and Ds throughout the chorus in that key)...and it's on an "ah" sound, which make sit harder for the guys ("oh" sounds are much easier to hit high notes with). Just a quick observation. If you don't have them sing, then leave it as is. Otherwise, you may want to get that key down a whole-step or, if you're worried about your guitar player's arthritis & having to barre a lot in F, go down to E, which puts your chorus in the A & B range...much smoother for voices just getting warmed up.
I agree with what others are saying, put the new one between others, this will buffer it.
The "keys up/down" thing isn't quite as important as the tessitura up/down. Where the bulk of the melody falls is the tessitura. Sometimes you can go down a key and the tessitura is still sitting higher.
I also highly recommend going through the set in a few different orders at home...just to get a flow that feels good to you. Sometimes everything makes perfect sense when you think about it, but comes off different once you start singing through them. Let the Spirit guide you on this.
And lastly, remember that once you get started on Sunday, it's not about you. Let that ease your nerves.
The hard part with the keys changing, is that the guitarist requested to practice the songs in the same key as the recording. So I am sort of at odds with that part right now. They do sing during the Call to Worship, but the congregation is still entering during this time.