Archive | —Arranging

It’s Your Grace – The Acoustic Sessions

A few weeks ago we posted the first song from “The Acoustic Sessions,” Our Only Hope is You. These are going to be stripped down versions of songs we’ve recorded on Sovereign Grace albums. We’re starting with songs from Grace Has Come, our latest release, but plan on going back to other albums and recording arrangements that are easier for a smaller church, or any church for that matter, to adapt. In this video, Devon, McKenzie, and Jonatan offer a simpler version of the song, It’s Your Grace. I wrote this song with Doug Plank, a good friend and a pastor at Crossway Church of Lancaster, PA. Right before he left for a two week trip …

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Our Only Hope is You – The Acoustic Sessions

Every time Sovereign Grace Music releases an album we bump up against the competing values of seeking to create fresh sounds and arrangements and recording something that a group of musicians in a small church can pull off. Our most recent album, Grace Has Come, was no exception. One song in particular that received a more dramatic production was “Our Only Hope is You,” by Neil and Kate DeGraide. It opens with a beautiful piano riff (played by Neil), and includes an orchestral cello part and a passionate lead vocal by Kate. The song is full of the angst of living with a hope that is not yet seen, but a hope in which we are fully confident. But …

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The Piano in Contemporary Worship, Part 2

Here’s the second part of the pre-conference piano seminar I led at WorshipGod11, focused on playing with a band. Dave Campbell and Neil Stuckenschneider helped me out on guitar and bass. I’ve included the outlines notes after the video. Playing with a Band Be aware of the audio spectrum. Guitars – 80-880 Hz Bass – 40-260 Hz Vocals – 110-660 Hz Piano – 27-4200 Hz Fills. Distinct and memorable Don’t tread on others Octaves Use your LH wisely. With the bass player Around the bass player More with just a guitar, acting like a kick drum Not at all Acoustic piano vs. electric keyboard More overtones …

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From Album to Sunday Morning

When Sovereign Grace produces an album, one of our main goals is to write songs that can be sung by local churches. Songs that are singable, memorable, and theologically informed. Another one of our goals is to make albums that are musically creative enough to bear repeated listenings without sounding tired. Those two goals can compete with each other, at times making it challenging to take a song on an album to Sunday morning. One of the ways we’re hoping to address that issue is by producing training videos that present songs as they might be played in a small group. You can find one for Jesus Lives here and one for You Have Been Raised here. Another …

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King of Grace 10 Year Anniversary Contest and Song Giveaway

Ten years ago Sovereign Grace Music released King of Grace. It immediately became one of our most popular recordings. It features twelve songs that cover themes including the gospel, justification, the cross, evangelism, sanctification, heaven, and passion for God. The musical moods range from joyful celebration to quiet reflection. Although the songs are 10 years old, we’ve continued to use a number of them. But a lot has happened in the last ten years musically. These songs were arranged in the late nineties and I’d love to hear fresh arrangements of them. So we’re going to have a contest. I’m giving away two free registrations …

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Developing Arrangements Quickly – Band on the Run Video

Over the years I’ve tried to streamline our rehearsals. Part of it is knowing that folks have other things they’re involved in. Like being with their family. But the other part is that sometimes we just don’t have a lot of time to rehearse. So I’m always looking for ways to maximize that time. At the WorshipGod08 conference I led a seminar called “Band on the Run” that tried to address this issue, covering topics including context, feel, instrumentation, and structure. The seminar was also designed to help churches that were less familiar with arranging songs for a band. Below is a video of the seminar that lasts about 75 minutes. You can download a …

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How Do You Teach an Inconsistent Melody?

A friend recently emailed me and expressed a dilemma he was facing when teaching new songs performed by an artist who varies the way he or she sings the melody. My friend asked: When do we go with the lead sheet, and when do we go with the CD melody?  And when do we go with what is simple and consistent and when do we go with what is sung on the CD? I’ve faced the same dilemma. While I’m grateful for many of the new congregational songs that have emerged in recent years, they’re not always sung in a way that makes it easy for a congregation to pick them up. Phrases are elongated in one verse and not the other, melodies are changed, and sometimes …

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Glorious and Mighty Choral Arrangment

One of the highlights of WorshipGod08, and there were many, was the conference choir singing Glorious and Mighty on the last morning. Based on Psalm 96, it’s a song written by Todd Twining and Joel Sczebel, with some lyric tweaking by me. Unfortunately, the audio/video didn’t turn out that well, so I wont’ be posting them. But a number of people have requested the arrangement and it’s finally available. The version I arranged for the conference didn’t have any piano part, just the voices. So I added a basic piano accompaniment if you’re just using piano. I think it sounds best with a full band backing it, though. UPDATED CHOIR PARTS (10/03/08): …

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WorshipGod08 Seminars Now Available

Over at the Sovereign Grace website, we’ve finally posted 29 WorshipGod08 seminars for you to listen to or download for free. . . . Here’s the list: Band on the Run (Bob Kauflin) Building Bridges: Pastors and Worship Leaders (Bob Kauflin) Caring for Your Sound System (Darryl Wenger) Copyright Law and Church Music: The Eight Keys (Paul Herman) Drumming for Worshipers (Jordan Kauflin) Electric Guitar Workshop (Dave Campbell) Foundations for Bass Players (Don Nalle) Foundations for Keyboardists (Jon Payne) Growing Your Team for the Glory of God (Jon Payne) In-Ear Monitors (Doug Gould) Leading and Caring for …

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Finale or Sibelius – Notation Software

I received this question from a WorshipMatters reader: I’ve heard good things about both Finale and Sibelius as far as notation software goes. Now, I understand that, perhaps depending on the needs, one software might be better than the other. Is it possible to give a quick run-down as to “which should I (i.e. my church) choose if it wants notation software?” Does it matter? What are the different strengths/weaknesses? Let me start by telling you I’m a Sibelius fan. Here’s my story. I used Professional Composer in the early 90’s for notation and then switched to Finale in the early 90’s. Not too long after I moved to Covenant Life Church …

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Sunday Morning Video #2

Yesterday I posted a video of something I shared on a recent Sunday morning as I was leading. It was the introduction to the song “Come Christians Join to Sing.” It’s a traditional hymn that we’ve updated musically and lyrically. Kevin Hartnett, a member of my church, wrote a third verse that highlights the main reason we can sing — Jesus has died for our sins in our place and risen from the dead. Here’s the verse he added: Come praise the risen Lamb, Alleluia! Amen! He died to ransom man Alleluia! Amen! On that triumphant day He took our sins away! Death could not bid him stay Alleluia! Amen! You can download a copy of the guitar chart …

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Should We Change Musical Settings?

This question was sent in by Juanita: As a classically trained musician and someone who has sung parts for most of my life, I am confused when I see arrangements for hymns that are completely different from what is traditionally written…Do congregations actually sing songs often enough to get tired of the musical arrangements, especially when there are other options available for freshening up a piece? It seems to me that it can actually be unsettling to a congregation, especially for the musical people in its midst, to have the music, i.e., the basic structure of the music, changing. I actually find it distracting to the words myself. As …

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