Welcome to 31 Days of Homemade Music! This month we are exploring how and why everyone can benefit from being an active participant in music making. To read more posts in this series, click here.
Yesterday I spent some time talking about some guiding principles for leading church music. Today, I want to give you some resources for continuing to do that. This isn’t an exhaustive list- it merely includes the books and websites I use most frequently. Depending upon your church setting and musical culture, some of these resources will work better for you than others. Feel free to pick and choose as you will.
Indelible Grace Hymn Book- Indelible Grace focuses on reviving the tradition of putting old hymn texts to new tunes. The hymnbook is rich with carefully selected hymns of generations past, put to appropriate and pleasing melodies with new arrangements. The website is one of the most complete and helpful resources I have found for it’s music. Each one of the hymns (from a large index, mind you) includes a lead sheet, guitar chords, a demo, a power point (for you screen-using churches) and the complete score. Many include a piano solo arrangement. And all for free- beat that.
Trinity Hymnal We have the “red cover edition” of the Trinity Hymnal, and use it frequently. There is very little of the useless stuff you find littered throughout so many hymnals. Expect well-written, meaty texts and appealing arrangements. They have different editions for different denominations (with theological differences and all), so you can search for one that best suits your church if you’d prefer.
Praise! Our Songs and Hymns This hymnal includes a lot of the classic, homey old tunes that we associate with the era of Fanny Crosby. You want Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, Nothing But The Blood, and Trust and Obey? This is the hymnal for you.
If your church prefers more contemporary music, almost all of those songs can be found on sites like Sheetmusicplus.com or Musicnotes.com. Or, if you like to live on the edge, you can just Google it and follow someone else’s lead sheet slapped up a free guitar tab site. Just be aware that these sites are scattered with glaring chord errors, and you may have to do some corrective work to the available music.
If you sing special music, offertory music, or communion music, you may want to look for some befitting solos. You can try The Sacred Collection: Low Voice or High Voice for a wide selection of sacred music across a variety of genres. I have also used some of Mark Hayes’ arrangements for voice in solo music: 10 Hymns & Gospel Songs for Solo Voice or 7 Psalms and Spiritual Songs are good for starters. If you enjoy singing spirituals, try some of Moses Hogan’s arrangements in books such as The Deep River Collection (I don’t have this book, but I do like Moses Hogan!). There are of course many more possibilities than this, but these are the books I have visited frequently for sacred solo arrangements.
What music does your church use? If you lead music frequently, what is your favorite resource for doing so?
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