Have you ever tried to sing a song that was out of your range? You know, a song that is super high and makes you strain and feel like you are screaming at the top of your lungs? Or maybe it's just at the top of your range and a bit uncomfortable. Well, whenever I do that my dog runs for cover, small children start crying and Michelle gives me that look like, “Really?” Let's face it, there are not may people out there that have the vocal range of Mariah Carey, Steve Perry or Chris Tomlin. If our goal as worship leaders is to engage the congregation and give them a way to connect with our Savior through music, why do we do songs in keys that no one can sing? Most of the people that come to our worship services probably have a very middle of the road, two octave vocal range. Our job is to help create an experience that is meaningful and not frustrating for the congregation. Just because a song in our set is written in a certain key, that doesn't mean you have to do it in that key. You are the leader, you know what fits with your voice and the people on your team and more importantly the people you are leading.
If changing the key of a song is something that is foreign to you or frightens you, have no fear I'm here to help! Here are a few simple tips:
1- If you are not familiar with the website www.Ultimate-Guitar.com go there, after you finish reading this of course, and check it out. It has almost every song you can think of, including Praise and Worship! In the upper left corner of each page it gives you a “Transpose” option. You can just click the up or down arrow a few times to change the key of the song and figure out where it fits your voice the best.
2- Another way to change the key is to use a capo. Yep, that's right! You can put your capo on a few frets up (or down if you are already using one) from the original key and still play the same chord shapes, and BAM! now you are in a new key. Super easy!
Some people may say, “The song was written in that key, so I must sing it in that key.” Well, here is a hint, it was written in that key to make it comfortable for the person who writing it or singing it on the recording. There is no law that says we have to sing songs in the key they are written or recorded in. There is no Key Change Police that will come get you! So, go ahead, change the key, make it singable for you and your congregation! When you do, the people you are leading and your vocal cords will thank you!
If you need help with changing keys or have any other questions about leading worship, please shoot me a message, I would love to help! Thanks for hanging out with me today! If you enjoyed this please share it with your friends!