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Breathing New Life Into Old Arrangements

Breathing New Life Into Old Arrangements

Rearranging songs you regularly lead at your church is one of the best ways to keep you, your team and your music fresh.  There are all kinds of ways to do this but one of the best ways is to lead with a different combination of musicians. 

Ideally this would be something you plan ahead for but if you find yourself forced to play without a drummer for a week, don’t be bummed, use it as a chance to get creative with new arrangements. 

Typically for a Sunday Service here at Calvary we lead with Drums, Bass, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Keys, Click/Tracks and Background vocals but I try to mix it up about once a month.  This week we had Drums, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Violin and Background vocals.  Here are some tips for leading with a stripped down team.  


No bass does not mean no drums.  I really like having drummers play the full kit even without a bassist.  Adjusting the eq to pull some of the low end punch out of the kick and using some kind of percussion sticks like the ones our drummer used this week by Vater will get you started in the right direction. 


Try having the electric guitar play the lead line the keys normally plays.  Or have the violin play the electric guitar line. 


Don’t try to re-arrange every song in the set.  That could make for a four hour rehearsal leaving everyone frustrated.  Pace yourself and let your team contribute to the creative process.  


Oh Our Lord - All Sons & Daughters

This is a great call to worship based on Psalm 8:9.  It’s too high for me to lead in the original key of “G” so we did if for a bit in “E” but it really lost some energy.  I realized it’s really just the bridge that’s too high so we have a female vocalist take the lead and I’ll sing harmony for the bridge and it works great.

Nothing But The Blood - Calvary Monterey Music

Our team does a very jazzy re-arrangement of this classic hymn.  If your musicians don’t know how to play a diminished7 or minor6 chord they will after this one.

Lord I Need You - Matt Maher

This is another song our team has rearranged.  It has more of an Americana feel.  One thing I’ve found is this shouldn’t be the first or second song in your set.  The lyrics are too raw to just jump right in.  It’s really a song of confession and I’ve found it works best when people’s hearts have been prepared a bit.  The chorus has some really beautiful chord inversions so if you’re not playing those get on that! 

Good Good Father - Chris Tomlin

This song continues to be a favorite for our Church family.  It naturally just sounds great with a broken down team as well.  My one concern is with the pace.  The Chris Tomlin radio edit map keeps moving so quickly there’s no time to take a breath.  No instrumental or even a turnaround.  I may try to work one in next time.  

I Will Exalt You - Hillsong

Brook Fraser (Ligertwood) is one of my favorite worship songwriters.  This is a really beautiful and simple song exalting our King.  It’s also deceptively difficult to play.  I found that the Shane & Shane version is a better reference track for our team and their tutorial videos for this song from Worship Initiative really helped me lock it in.  

To listen and watch this service visit our livestream archive.

What songs did you lead this week?

What is your favorite rearrangement of a song?

What does your typical band set up look like?  

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