The Worship Leader and the Vocal Range of Congregational Songs (Ed Willmington)

The Worship Leader and……the Vocal Range of Congregational SongsIt seems that the world is full of tenor worship leaders these days! Think about it! Name a few and see if I’m not right. Great voices, great hearts . . . but tenors! I can’t believe how high Chris Tomlin sings Indescribable! Great song, but not me in that key! I don’t know what your vocal range is, but the average Joe and Jane Pewsitter have about a one octave range . . . from C to C. Though not all songs have a one octave range, many are very close or smaller. So, if the goal is to encourage congregational participation, then considerable thought should be given to that average C to C range. If you get beyond that range, be ready for people to shut down, stop trying to sing . . . and the cards and letters of complaint will follow! Adjust  your comfort and playing ability to what is more important . . . congregational accessibility and involvement. Remember, the congregation is the largest group in your Worship Ministry, so their ability to focus on God and not the note they can’t reach should be of really high priority.

(This was a blog post written when Ed was the Director of the Fred Bock Institute of Music, part of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary. Used with permission.)

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