Music for Worship – Lay Preachers’ Workshop 20 March 2021

Music for Worship
Lay Preachers’ Workshop

20 March 2021, 9:30am-12:00
Waiwhetu Uniting Church, 6 Trafalgar Street,
Waiwhetu, Lower Hutt

Leader: Philip Garside.
Guest composer & musician: Jonathan Berkahn
Guitarist: Heather Garside

Entry by Koha

Workshop Content

Welcome, Introductions, What we will cover today

  • Invite attendees may ask questions and share ideas at any time.

Musical warm-up

  • One short vocal warm up exercise
  • Sing Loving God of Aotearoa. Tune: I Vow to Thee my Country
  • Sing a song by Jonathan


  • Why do we sing and play music during our services?

Theology of music

  • The theology of music and worship, from a very pragmatic point of view
  • Dealing with hymns/songs with traditional, non-inclusive language.

 Teaching new music to a congregation 

  • Nuts and bolts of teaching new material to a congregation (instrumentation, range, teaching techniques, etc)

Leading/teaching with guitar: Tips and tricks 

  • Heather will teach Philip’s song Dance with me.
    Written in response to the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris Dance with Us, which follows on from Jonathan’s Be Not Afraid

Music typesetting software

  • Try Noteworthy Composer.
  • Demonstrate how this can also help people learn new music.
  • Use Master Speak SATB as an example
    1. Show how easy it is to input notes. Then playback and correct anything that doesn’t sound right.
    2. Reset hymns with the words between the staves as this is easier to read than having words only at the bottom of the page
    3. Learn a melody or part, i.e. do a setting in 4 parts, leave soprano line playing and mute or quieten ATB parts
    4. Add starting note at beginning, then wood block beats to give tempo and then play all 4 parts. And export to midi file. I do this with my singing group (informal choir) at Wesley to help them learn new SATB music.
    5. Suggest that they can also play the midi file in a service when there is no organist or pianist available.

Finding and choosing music

  • Broad survey of the different types of church music currently available, their different kinds of usefulness (and limitations), and how to access them.
  • Hymnbooks, song books, online sites.
  • Write your own.
  • Bible readings lead to themes.
  • Words of a prayer can suggest a hymn
  • Check your hymnbooks and other music resources. (See the List of Hymns with strong Melodies for more ideas.)
  • Free PDF music book Kindle a Flame.
  • What hymnbooks does the church use?
  • Talk to the organist/pianist/music leader.

Musical teamwork:

  • Talk to and work with organist, pianist, guitarist, instrumentalist, i.e. the music leader for that church
  • What does the congregation expect to sing?
  • Can you lead the singing?
  • Using recorded music.

PowerPoint slides:

  • Pros and cons
  • Printed orders of service
  • Printed music sheets

Novel ways to use music in the service:

  • Sung prayer responses: Kindle a Flame. Lamb of God
  • Simple rounds: Happy are we who have work to do
  • Songs interspersed during sermon.
  • Perform a song yourself

Singing some new music: 

  • Jonathan will teach / play 5 of his other songs / hymns during the workshop

Key message:

  • Keep filling your worship treasure basket with songs, hymns, poems, images, videos.

Books and Music on Sale:

During the tea break and at the end of the workshop, you will be able to buy:

  • Jonathan’s music books
  • Festival Singers’ CDs and Digital Albums
  • The NZ Hymnbook Trust’s print and PDF music books, CDs and digital albums.
  • Worship resource books published by Philip and some other useful books.

Cash, cheque, invoice, Visa and Mastercard accepted. Sorry, no EFTPOS.

Free stuff

Click here to download a free copy of Philip’s PDF eBook
Creative Worship Volume 1: Songs, prayers & poems

Click here for a list of 81 songs and hymns
which have strong melodies for congregations to sing

A Koha to cover costs would be appreciated.

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