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Resources…just some thoughts

Music ministry in this age cannot be accomplished without a variety of resources. No one person has the ability to do all that a full-time ministry position requires without the aid of outside resources (if you are one of those people, please let me know how you do it!). So I thought I would share briefly as much as I can about what I use on a regular basis.

First and foremost, every music ministry should be – must be – concerned about copyrights. You can’t go buy one book at the Christian bookstore, then make copies for all the choir and the band…that is illegal! Do you really want to offer to God something that you broke the law to offer? Look at Romans 13, look at Jesus when he emptied the temple courts of the money changers…our offerings in worship must be pure.

With that disclaimer out of the way, the best resource for me and how I do what I do is to subscribe to CCLI’s (Christian Copyright Licensing Inc.) Song Select Premium Service. Not only does its fees or dues cover almost all of your copyright needs, but Song Select Premium gives you rights to thousands of song sheets, chord charts, lead sheets (melody and chords), and hymn sheets (four parts for choirs and praise teams). It also gives you the rights to print up to 200 of those (each above that is a minimal charge, but I’ve never even gotten close). You also get the right to copy those for your band, praise team, and choir. You can also set up other users on the same account. I find myself at CCLI’s Song Select at least once a week, if not more. CCLI also has a ton of helps like CCLI TV (a resource of videos teaching all sorts of things), Song Touch (a veritable iTunes-type store for Christian Music only – and background tracks too!), and other worship leader helps.

WordMusicNow.comhas been a great resource too. They have parts you can purchase and copy for your needs (read their rules though – choir sheets can only be copied legally 10 times – so if you need 30, you have to buy 3). We’ve been able to buy accompaniment parts, band charts, choir sheets, and wind instrument parts (trombone, trumpet, sax, flute etc.) for some of the most used songs out there (like Days of Elijah). It’s also a great resource for being a little different from what you’ve done before. Some of their arrangements of some songs are a little different than the mainstream.

I buy most of my adult and student choir selecetions from Brentwood-Benson publishers. I honestly hardly ever purchase directly from them though. We have an account with JW Pepper, so I can purchase there, they can ship out the next day (or sometimes that day), and send us a bill at the end of the month. This helps me get the stuff within 3 – 5 days on average.

I’ve just recently begun fooling around with the Lifeway Worship Project. I don’t know all it will do, but so far, it looks like the Southern Baptist Entity of Lifeway finally got something right in the music and worship world. Until now, they’ve been behind the curve, but here, in the Lifeway Worship Project, I think they are setting the pace and the standard to which all other companies will follow. You can buy individual parts (misplace a flute part, buy just the flute part). You can buy those for individual songs (before, if the flute part to hymn #275 went missing, you had to buy the whole book – now you can buy just the flute part for hymn #275). On a select few songs, they have what’s called Song Map – we normally do a few songs in our own way. Every time we pull it out, we have to go over which repeats we skip and the fact that we do the first four bars as an interlude after the first time through – stuff not written. With Song Map, I can go in and tell it Intro-Verse 1 – chorus – intro – verse 2 – chorus – bridge – chorus (the way we sing it) and then print out my parts for all my instruments in that format. Pretty sweet stuff. They also have a worship planning program so you can put in your songs, share it with your team, and print it out for others (they just started a new thing with more options – but it is subscription – and our church can’t afford it right now).

Those are just a few of my favorite and most used resources. I hope it gives you some ideas on how you can better do what you do in your church!


6 Responses

  1. I love it whenever fellow worship leaders share resources. I just want to suggest Paul Baloche’s http://www.leadworship.com and the RUF online Hymnal at http://www.igracemusic.com/hymnbook/home.html. There’s so much out there!

    Speaking as a songwriter, I just hope more people go in the direction of Creative Commons (www.creativecommons.com) which allows you to keep your copyright but give fellow Christians more freedom in using them for God’s glory.

    I’m so glad that others are promoting the use of CCLI. I’ll be sure to check out the other intriguing resources you mentioned in your website.

    In His Peace,
    Tom Fisher

  2. I have started using LifewayWorship.com and have been very pleased with their products. We have also considered using Song Select. Do you find advantages of one over the other, or do they compliment one another?

    I’m looking for some advice.

    Planning worship in Illinois!

    Lorene Parsons

    • Oh, WOW! I had never seen Lifewayworship.com before. I can’t say I’ve gone in far enough to know if it replaces the need for SongSelect, but it sure does look neat.

      My take on SongSelect, though, is that if you’re getting a CCLI license (which we all need) then why not pay a little more for the service, and make it a one-stop-shop? That doesn’t necessarily hold true, but it has been a great resource.

      One reason I swear by SongSelect, is that it covers such a wide array of music, including traditional hymns, praise songs and liturgical music. They’re not married to one company, so they have pretty much everything.

      That said, I gotta tour Lifewayworship.com a bit more. Nifty, nifty!

      • I agree Tom…if you are in music ministry, you should have CCLI membership. If you are going to do that, you might as well go on up and pay for Premium membership and get the tremendous benefits!

        I do not think LifewayWorship would be a replacement for SongSelect though. If you only used the new worship project hymnal, then it might be worth dropping premium membership on CCLI (SongSelect). However, I can’t limit myself to one resource like that (as good as it may be). I’ve actually spent more time recently creating my own charts so we can do them “Our” way.

        Thanks for your comment!

    • I haven’t bought anything through Lifewayworship.com. We’ve got two services, one contemporary and one traditional-leaning “blended”. We’ve got the full band/praise team thing going in the contemporary and we use orchestra, piano, and organ (with choir) in the traditional service. The orchestra consists of two horns, trumpet, violin, cello, and flute.

      I have found it worthwhile to purchase the DVD roms for each instrument with the pdf’s…I also bought the piano DVD because you need the intros and endings that match the orchestras. Just playing from the hymnal or even the three ring binder accompanist edition doesn’t provide those intros and optional endings and all. I also bought the leadsheet DVD so I could pull out my guitar here and there on the “choruses” from the hymnal. The arrangements are good though.

      However, I use SongSelect.com everyday! I print leadsheets, chord charts, and even some songs now have “hymnsheets” which have parts written out for the vocalists. Some are pretty good arrangements too. Most arrangements are directly from the song writer themselves too, so you know you’re getting good stuff. My favorite thing about SongSelect is the transposing feature…no matter the original key, you can go to any of the other 11 possibilities and find what you need for your singers or needs. I also use it to create my own chord charts by using their “Copy to clipboard” feature, then I don’t have to retype the song text…ever. We also have SamePage in ear monitor system (AWESOME!!) and I use SongSelect to enter the details for each song (copyright, author, publisher, etc.) A huge help is it’s integration with display programs…we use MediaShout some but mostly EasyWorship. The impost feature within those programs makes it a cinch to add new songs to our media presentations.

      I’ve found a few other resources…www.wordmusicnow.com, http://www.praisecharts.com, and http://www.musicnotes.com. I’ve found some pretty good arrangements at these places.

      I want to be a resource to other music ministries because, even though I went to seminary, I’ve had to learn a lot on my own. Share this with every music minister you know! Thanks!

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