Sung worship is a really important aspect of a worshipping community – it can also be one of the most difficult to get right and it can seem even more difficult still when a church has no musicians or musicians who are only available occasionally. If this is the case for you then don’t panic – there are a couple of options available to you that might help. We’ll start with the least technical option and work our way up to the more complicated stuff.
There are plenty of great worship music albums around these days so if you are stuck without musicians and want to do some sung worship these can be a great way to go about it. Choose the songs that you want to use, get the words on a PowerPoint and add your music to a playlist on a laptop or mp3 player. This can be a really simple solution but there are a few things that are worth looking out for:
- Make sure that the words in the song and the words on the PowerPoint are the same – Lots of songs have slight variations in the words or, more frequently, the order in which the verses are sung. Making sure that your PowerPoint matches the words and the order in which the songs are sung will save you having to flick back and forth through slides mid-song looking for the right place.
- Live versions of songs can sometimes have additional parts – On some live albums you might find that the worship leader decides to repeat the chorus five or six times at the end or goes back to the start of the song and repeats the whole thing again. Sometimes this is fine but occasionally it can feel like the song is dragging on a little. Make sure you’re happy with how long the song is and if you need it to be a little shorter perhaps look for a studio version or simply have someone ready to fade the song out at an appropriate moment.
Worship Backing DVDs:
There are now a range of DVDs from Musicademy on the market that have worship songs and the words built in so all you have to do is start the DVD and the words change automatically along with the music. These are really simple to use and you can even choose to switch off the lead vocals if you have someone in your congregation who can lead the singing. The DVDs cost around £35 each.
Worship backing band:
Recently we discovered Musicademy’s “Worship Backing Band” a simple piece of software that gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to sung worship.
The developers of this program have come up with a system which allows you to choose the elements of a worship band that you need and have them play a song using your computer.
Whole songs – including keyboards, guitars, drums, vocals and more – are recorded in advanced and then you are able to choose the bits that you want to hear and deselect the rest. For example if you had no musicians but had someone who can sing you could choose to play the whole song without the vocal track to allow your singer to sing over it. Or if you don’t want to hear a full band and you have a guitarist but no keyboard player you could choose to hear only the keyboard from your computer for your guitarist to play along with.
The best way to get your head round this program is to visit their website, watch their intro video and then download the trial version of their software. The website can be found at:
The program costs £35 and then you pay per song that you download so this is definitely not the cheapest option but it is a really great way to get a quality sound with very few musicians or even with no musicians at all!