Avoid the screech

Avoid the screech.

When a song is in the wrong key, people who aren’t musicians can’t sing it.

You may be a tenor, a lyric soprano, or a true alto, and you may have had vocal training and are comfortable with singing in your full range, but most people haven’t had that training and aren’t comfortable.

An untrained voice has a limited vocal range. It’s difficult and discouraging for people to sing in a key where the lead line goes beyond their vocal ability. They’ll stop singing, and possibly disconnect from the worship experience.

Some worship leaders choose to sing in keys that are comfortable for their voices. But one of our responsibilities as worship leaders is to create an environment where the congregation can participate.

When you’re selecting the key for a song, try this:

Play the lead line of the song on a piano and look at the lead line’s range. Choose a key for that song that keeps the lead line in the range of a G below middle C up to the B or C above middle C.

Most people can sing in that range or one octave lower. You won’t always be able to select song keys so the lead line will fit in that range, but it’s a great, basic guideline to follow.

Let’s create some vocal comfort for the congregation and avoid the screech.