Sometimes it is fun to mix things up a bit as a musician when learning the song set for Sunday worship: you know, try a new riff during the instrumental or maybe a different drum fill than the original recording during that build to the Bridge. Changing up the melody lines for the lead vocals, however, is not one of those times. Singing the melody line the way it is recorded is of vital importance in a worship set. There are several reasons for this.

Keep it consistent

The congregation will get used to a song being sung in a certain way. If multiple worship leaders are singing it differently, it will confuse the congregation and could hinder the involvement of those in your church while trying to worship corporately. Keeping it consistent provides one more helpful tool in their pursuit of God through worship.

Make it clear

The congregation will follow your vocal melodies more than anything else on a Sunday morning while leading worship. While it is important to play the right chords in a song, it is even more important to clearly sing the  melody line. And for the sound team, it is vitally important to make sure the vocals are clearly heard, standing out above the rest of the mix. Would you sing to a song you can’t hear the words to?…

Keep it true

When we sing the melody line of the song as it was written, it helps to support the theme of the song as it is originally intended. If the singer deviates from the melody line, it could subtly communicate a different message than originally intended. If, for example, the song is about God’s faithfulness but the melody is going all over the place and can’t seem to land anywhere, this will communicate flightiness not faithfulness.Therefore, if vocalists stick to the melody line originally written, they will stay true to the original intent of the song and impact people in subtle but powerful ways.

Proper melodies support great harmonies

When the melody line is sung properly, it helps the blending vocalists apply their hard-practices harmonies with ease. While an experienced blending vocalist can find a harmony for a changed melody line, this won’t go over as well with most other vocalists. It is important to note that when keys change for a song, the intervals between the melody and harmony does not. If you keep you melody consistent with the recording, your fellow vocalists will thank you!

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Which of the above techniques are you doing well at? Which could you improve upon? Explain both answers.
  4. Discuss a time when the worship leader leading your time of corporate worship sang the melody line well. How did that affect you as a worshipper?
  5. Do you believe the instrumentation or the vocals are most important to be heard clearly in a worship set? Why?
  6. Which are you better at, singing melody or harmony? What could you do to improve at your current role?
  7. What are some practical things you can do to start singing the melody line of songs consistently?
  8. What are some practical things you can do to start singing the harmony line of songs consistently?
  9. Blending vocalists: What is one of the most helpful things to you in regards to developing a good harmony? How might the clarity of the melody help in this process?
  10. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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