Choosing music for your house of worship
As a worship leader or musical director, you have a lot of tasks on your plate, including selecting appropriate, high-quality music for your worship services. With the amount of music out there, selecting the right pieces can be time consuming. But it’s also a satisfying and fun opportunity.
Here are some considerations to help you pick quality worship music to fit your style and congregation.
- Who will be performing and for whom?
Your music selection will be driven largely by who will be singing or playing the music and to what size of an audience they’ll be performing. Do you have a full-time band with vocalists and musicians or does the lineup change week by week? How much practice time do you have with your musicians? Also take into account the size of your congregation and what they expect from you, because you are essentially curating their musical and spiritual experience. Also consider whether you’ll need music for a Sunday School class or other program for children. They’ll need separate selections that cater to their ages, abilities and the class themes, such as Integrity Choral Real Kids! Worship Unison/2-Part Choral Book or Hal Leonard Here I Am To Worship For Kids For Easy Piano
- What are the capabilities of your singers and musicians?
You should select pieces that are within the range and capability of those who will be performing them. If you have a particularly talented vocalist or musician, you could choose pieces that will highlight their skills. For example, if your piano or organ player is outstanding, choose pieces that show off that instrument like this: Hal Leonard Worship Hymns For Organ. If you have a very small or very large congregation, select music tailored to those sizes. Certain pieces will sound better if you have hundreds of voices singing along whereas other pieces are better for a more intimate group.
- When will the music be performed?
Consider when the piece will be performed. Is it for a regular worship service, a special event or are you preparing for a holiday performance? The music should reflect and fit the timing. Even the seasons and weather should play a role in the pieces you choose, because music is part of the greater life experience of your audience.
- Where will it be performed?
The dimensions and size of the space directly effects the music. Will you be inside or outside? Is the space cozy and intimate or are you in a large area with soaring ceilings? Are there lots of hard surfaces that notes will bounce off or is it carpeted with soft surfaces that will absorb sound? Select musical pieces that fit your environment.
- Worship style
If you are the worship leader, you’ll select music that fits your style. But if you’re a director or volunteer, be sure to collaborate with your worship leader so that he or she is comfortable with the music and feels that it fits with the style and flow of the service or event.
- Energy and flow of the service
Music is powerful and can have a direct effect on the energy and feel of the service. Do you want bright, cheery and uplifting energy? Or does the specific service or event call for more introspective or reflective atmosphere, or is it a somber occasion like a funeral or memorial service? Your music selection is critically important to setting the mood and tone, so be sure to keep this in mind.
- Key message
What is the message of the service or event where the music will be performed? The piece should support, reinforce and even help deliver that message to the congregation. Be wary of selecting music that is contradictory to the message, so as not to confuse the group or adversely affect the delivery of the worship leader.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of considerations for selecting worship music, but keeping these in mind will help you make the best selections for your religious group.
Every day discounts on worship music
If you need any assistance in choosing the right music for your house of worship, our expert staff are a phone call away. Call us at 800.346.4448 to discuss your needs. We offer significant discounts on print music every day.