Choose your song, pick your key – MAKE SURE IT’S THE RIGHT ONE!
It is hard to deny, but the songs in today’s church have brought to the creative team an interesting development and challenge.
The songs are powerful, they are breathing life to the House on a Sunday service, and extending beyond that onto our iPods, iTunes, Spotify, the car CD player – you name it, we’re listening to it – in our personal as well as our corporate space.
But a challenge has presented itself to the creative team of the House – many of the songs in their original key do not translate to the gathered church, and a lot of the time it can go from being a unifed sound to a spectator event. Eeeech!
Now, I could provide you with all the ‘clinical’ answers for male and female keys and ranges, but a lot of the current songs on our playlists don’t really fit into that model.
Without a doubt, there are incredible anthems proclaiming the life, love and works of God coming from the hearts of songwriters who are passionate about calling home the lost to Christ. And the songs, when we sing them, connect us to avenues of fresh revelation of the love our Father has for us.
There tends to be two strains here that I would like to examine; (I am certain there are more, and I am eager to discover them on my journey) – the first strain is the ‘personal worship’; that place where we do our one-on-one daily moments with God, the secret place that only He knows, and He tends to us in such a way a parent can, sometimes with guidance, sometimes with understanding but always with love. The songs we listen to help us connect in this fashion, and once again, the iPod or car CD player comes in handy to assist us.
The second strain is our ‘corporate worship’, and this is where I would like to spend a little time…
As stewards and leaders of worship, we need to have a sensitivity and understanding of what our purpose is on the platform to convey the message of Christ through song. This extends to the song choices we make.
Here’s a thought – imagine this….
The service kicks off, pre-roll video closes out and the band hits the chord!
We are into the first song, and the congregation is engaging, and the music builds and grows.
And then it happens….
The worship ‘leader’ lifts the song up an octave, heading into the musical land of ‘unobtainable’ by the average singer.
No one can sing like that!
So, the result is everyone stands there watching. There is no longer any active participation – it has become the observance of a performance. And then there is the added issue of those who really want to sing and join in are completely and utterly thrown off!
Now, this is a bold step to take in talking about this, and although the song may have a strong message, the result is the following:
Don’t they see that 75 percent of the people in the church just stopped singing? Don’t they see some people trying to follow them, hearing their voices crack, and then giving up? Most of the congregation just stand there feeling awkward until the pitch drops back down and they can join in again….
It’s important to consider, if no one is following you, then you are probably not leading….
My encouragement to you is this:
Remember that on the platform, we are there to connect the congregation of the gathered church to the Father, through the praise and song of His glorious love and works.
Be certain that the songs are in keys that are suitable for the congregation, so that ONE voice is heard in the House, and our AUDIENCE OF ONE hears the praises of His people.
It may be that the song is not necessarily in your key, but in the primary essence of your role, you are a LEADER, there to LEAD the congregation. There is a team with you to lead ALONGSIDE you, so if the song is in a ‘girl’ key, then let a ‘girl’ sing it; if it’s in a ‘guy’ key, then…. You get it…..
And of course, the land of the ‘co-lead’ (guy and girl) is making it’s mark strongly in the sound of songs encompassing our lives today.
A heavy topic, with many points of view. My thoughts on this are more to promote questions rather than provide an avenue of practical application.
Please as always, hear my heart in wanting to bring the best for His Kingdom.