Archives For Worship Training


Caught this article by Jamie Brown via Musicademy and I re-post here because this is such an issue in the local church. I marvel at the reluctance of worship leaders to adjust the keys of the songs on Sunday so that the average singer can joyfully join in. It’s frustrating when either insensitivity or, worse, the desire to show off vocally, trumps the need of worshipers to be able to engage in singing. The following is great insight.

From Jamie:

I’ve written before about the art (it’s not really a science) of choosing the right key for your congregation, so I won’t go into all those details again. You can read this article if you’re wondering what guidelines to follow (generally) to choose congregation-friendly keys. But if you’re not convinced that it matters what key your songs are in, here are some effects that high keys have on a congregation.

They stop singing
They might not all stop singing at once, but they do start dropping off like flies pretty quickly. The brave and enthusiastic will keep on singing. But the people who are on the fence about singing (and you know that every church has them) will stop singing first. Then even the eager will start dropping out because their throats hurt.

They get confused
Here are the questions that start going through the congregation’s mind when the key is too high: Am I supposed to try to sing that note? Maybe I’m just supposed to listen to the worship leader sing it? I guess I’ll sing down an octave, but that feels really low, that can’t be right, can it? Am I just a really bad singer? Will the next song be more singable?

They get tired more quickly
When the songs are in unsingable keys, people will get worn out more quickly. After just one song in the stratosphere, people are going to want a break. Why? Because it feels like exercise. And it is, in a sense. If you’re singing songs in really high keys, you’re asking people to do a vocal work out. And it’s tiring.

They focus on (and blame) you
People don’t like feeling uncomfortable. That’s a basic fact of life. And when people feel uncomfortable, they look for someone to blame. So if I’m Joe the Plumber and I come to church on Sunday and the songs are all really high and unsingable, I’m going to blame the guy/girl who’s leading them. Now the worship leader is the focus and Joe the Plumber isn’t singing along. Not good.

They get conditioned to be spectators
After several too-high songs, or after several weeks/months/years of unsingable songs, your congregation will be conditioned to not sing along. They will have learned that it’s much more comfortable for them to listen to/watch you sing. At this point, you’ll really to have work to get them to sing along with you. Shouldn’t it be the opposite in the churches? I’d rather my congregation be so accustomed to singing along in church that it feels foreign to them to just listen/watch.

I can’t overemphasize the importance of choosing keys wisely for congregational songs. If the Psalmist said “let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:3) then surely our number one priority is unified singing. Good keys are the basic building blocks of unified singing.

Gotta love this: Ocean’s Edge School of Worship, a ministry of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, is a 10-month full time discipleship and training institute for the next generation of worship leaders and musicians. “You Alone We Praise” was recorded with the Class of 2012. Visit their website for more information about the school.

Worship Tools 7.31.12

July 31, 2012

New Releases

Emerging VoicesJesus Culture – Emerging Voices
Emerging Voices is the newest release on the Jesus Culture Music label and features four up and coming worship leaders; Derek Johnson, Mary Kat Ehrenezller, Nate Ward, and Justin Jarvis. 10 new original worship songs ranging from the deep and powerful “Mighty Fortress”, the surrendered message of “Where You Are”, and the soulful anthem, “I Belong To You”. From start to finish, Emerging Voices is a fresh worship experience by four relevant voices with a heart to see people encounter God and His love.  – From


Brothers McClurgBrothers McClurg – Join in the Sound
Brothers McClurg, a worship band hailing from western New York, invites listeners to Join In The Sound with their first full-length album. The new project follows the band’s 2011 introductory digital EP Alive, which was lauded by Worship Leadermagazine for its “tight harmonies” and “creative rhythms.” For Join In The Sound, Brothers McClurg delivers more of those signature harmonies on 10 new songs plus three songs from the EP. – From


Also check out:
Vertical Church Band – Live Worship From Vertical Church
Brian and Jenn Johnson – Undone 


9 Things To Consider When Planning Your Next Setlist – Posted by Peter D Webb 

How To Move Beyond Singing Songs to Leading Worship – by David Santistevan

TECH – Audio / Video


Should Songwriters Count Syllables Or Just Listen For Accents? by Bobby Gilles

Worship Tools 7.18.12

July 18, 2012


Bill Blankschaen at Patheos on “Why I’ve Stopped Singing in Your Church.”

The Good (and bad) News about Small Church Worship Ministry from Musicademy


The Scripture to Music Collective have an interview with songwriters Bobby and Kristen Gilles

 Gear / Tech

Alastair Vance – Adventures in Recordingfollowing my experience of recording with Logic Pro and learning as I go.” Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Is your guitar too loud? –  what can you do to turn it down and maintain great tone?


From re:Worship – Reader’s Theater: John 6: 1-21 Here’s a reader’s theater version of John 6:1-21, the suggested gospel reading for Proper 12 B (July 29, 2012).

From Thom Turner at Everyday Liturgy: Prayer for the Eighth Week After Pentecost

Worship Leading

Stephen Miller – Hide The Seams – Music Flow in Corporate Worship
“One of the greatest enemies of musical flow in worship is the awkward, pregnant pause that disrupts the momentum of the corporate worship experience. If you want to be the object of attention in worship, then by all means, leave long pauses in between songs. However, if you are aiming to eliminate as many distractions as possible for the people you’re leading, you need to learn to hide the seams of your song transitions”

A free ebook from Jon Nicol at Worship Team Coach:   “What’s In Your Playlist? Building a System to Make Sense of Your Songs”


John Acuff – Wishing your church bulletin explained the worship leader’s tattoos.

Worship Tools 6.25.12

June 25, 2012

“You cannot find excellent corporate worship until you stop trying to find excellent corporate worship and pursue God himself.”
~DA Carson

Global Worship: an interview with David Ruis

From The Creative Sunday5 Ways to Make a Stage Design Happen

From Rich KirkpatrickDeath by Comment Card: Decibel levels, worship style, and helpful suggestions

 Bob Kauflin with some suggestions if you’re looking for a piano/keyboard

From The Worship Community, Joel Klampert  shares: Self-Serving Leadership: The Platform is Not Your Throne

Worship Together is offering two brand new free songs from Bellarive:

Love Has Found Us
Free Lead Sheet // New Song Cafe

Free Lead Sheet // New Song Cafe

New Lead Sheet PLUS from Lifeway Worship: Strong God from  Desperation Band’s latest album “Center of It All,

From Worship Vanguard, thoughts on songwriting.

From Church Production News: Rash of Stage Collapses Could Prompt Changes in Insurance and Engineering Standards

An interview with Graham Kendrick:

Graham Kendrick has been described as the “Grandfather of the modern worship movement” and has been a huge influence on many of today’s worship leaders. What is Graham doing nowadays and what does he think about modern worship music?

Worship Tools 6.18.2012

June 18, 2012

“The best, most beautiful, and most perfect way that we have of expressing a sweet concord of mind to each other is by music.” –  Jonathan Edwards

Sojourn Music posts their liturgy recap every Monday. Always good ideas.

And speaking of Sojourn, Bobby Giles has an excellent post today: “Why Do Pastors and Theologians Pick on Worship Leaders?”

From Musicademy: Worship guitar techniques uncovered – Playing in sixths

I didn’t know there were this many! Votive Praise offers 44 Mistakes to Avoid When Leading Worship

WorshipIdeas provides the Top Ten CCLI for Week Ending 6.16.12 – No surprises here!

Jon Acuff wonders if you worship leaders notice when he quits clapping. (“Call to Palms” – funny!)

This is a lovely prayer / poem based on Psalm 13o  from Thom Shuman.

Canticle 130

i dangle my toes over
the curb of my heart,
my toes washed in
those tears racing
towards the storm drain,
my keening words
echoing through the
empty streets;if you wrote all my sins
on the blackboard
you would run out of schools,
but the Spirit stays after class,
banging dusty death out of the
begging your pardon
for Crossing
out your work;more than those
who watch the clock
on the graveyard shift,
i wait (we wait!) for hope
to be the lyrics of
the music of your heart,
more than a rooster
scanning the horizon
for that first glimpse of dawn –

we hope
for you . . .

— copyright © 2009 Thom M. Shuman.

Jeremy Riddle – “It Is Well With My Soul” – ” a timeless old hymn that was covered by Jeremy Riddle on his albumPrepare The Way (Live). You can find that album on Itunes and also at www.VineyardResources. com!”

Talent or Heart . . . What Matters Most on Your Worship Team? – by Jason Hatley

From Worship Together: “One of the most popular searches on is for fast/upbeat worship songs. Checkout some of our most viewed ones and let us know what your favorites are on our Facebook page.”

From Experiencing Worship: What is Worship – Some helpful definitions from a number of different teachers.

From Rob Rash: Private Worship Prepares You For Corporate Worship

Chris Gambill on Planning for The Summer

Worship Ministry Catalyst lists their Top 20 Worship Blogs (Thanks for the mention!)

From Gary Miller at Worship Ministry: Integrity Music Celebrates 25 Year Anniversary

From Votive Praise8 Practical Tips to Construct a Worship Set-List That Actually Works

Musicademy Logo

Musicademy’s new email is out and has some great links:

Five ways to use technology in church
Matthew Sterner gives five ideas for using technology to help make church more interactive, engaging and user-friendly.

Which 3 things do you want worship leaders and guitarists to stop doing?  Why are we posting such negative questions?
We’ve been running a relatively controversial series recently framed around a “negative” question. Here are our reasons for the approach and you have already had plenty to say about it.

Worship Backing Band free track
Don’t forget to download your free backing track this month. It’s Tim Hughes’ song Giver of Life.

Graham Kendrick’s new website design – your feedback
We’ve been working with Graham’s team on a new website design. Here are two new looks for you to comment on.

Graham Kendrick on worship leaders and creative freedom
Another in our series of video interviews with Graham Kendrick. In this piece he reflects on time management issues in worship services as well as enabling creative freedom.