Referencing Your Worship Team

Posted: April 30, 2014 in From Me To You
Tags: , , , ,

ReferringIt’s good every now and then to inject some new life into your ministry’s intellectual arsenal. In the case of the worship team, continuing education in music is an obvious choice for what type of training the ministry should provide. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, because even something as basic as a master reference sheet for chord qualities (major, minor, etc.) in a given key can be invaluable to many guitarists and pianists. It can even benefit singers, if they sing unique lines different from the album recordings. The Number System goes hand in hand with resources such as this sort of reference sheet and can do you and your team a lot of good in the long run.

In the number systm for chords (the “harmonic degree” in technical terms — see the above link for more info), you replace the chord letter with numbers. Using this system, a C chord in the key of F would be a 5. In proper music theory, one would notate this particular chord as a V, with the roman numeral indicating the chord position within the scale (the fifth, in this case) and the capitalization of the chord indicating the quality of major vs minor (major, in this case, as noted by the upper case rather than the lower case). This is a better option than the arabic numeral (5), but you do see both used.

One might compare this system to the movable Do system as opposed to the fixed Do system, used by different choirs. Any choir member without perfect pitch would tell you that it is easier to learn the system and adjust the Do (for chords, the I chord) rather than singing the altered solfeggio syllables (“Ra” or “Ri” in place of “Re,” for instance). This movable system makes it easier for the worship band or the choir to play or sing in a different key than the previous time without relearning the entire song. (This is a decidedly simplified version of the numbers system, but it will get you started. Do some more research on it if you want to learn more, or feel free to ask me for more info!)

It is more difficult for musicians, of course, because it is a completely different way of fingering their respective instruments rather than a mental/range exercise as it is for singers. But in the end, it makes for a much tighter band to have them thinking this way. They need to know the basic chords in a given key without sitting down and writing them out one by one. Have you seen someone transpose on the fly, reading off a sheet printed in E and playing in C? That is the result of this style of thinking. Wouldn’t you love that for your worship team? I made a two-page handout for all the major keys with the appropriate chords that you can use to get them going. Don’t expect a change overnight, of course. Remember that anything worth having is worth waiting for!

While you’re at it, check out the Resources page on my blog to see if there are other things there that you might be able to use right now! I’ll be adding more over time, of course, so check back every few months to see what’s new! If you have a suggestion for links/downloads to add to my page, contact me and let me know. I’ll review it and see if it will fit in!

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