This month at ChurchMusicToday.Net we will be looking at “tools of the trade” that the contributors use each week at their place of ministry. Here are my top tools:
1. Song Select by CCLI: There is not a day that goes by, it seems, where I do not visit this site at least one time (let’s face it, it could be an addiction). Song Select is a paid subscription service, however the benefits totally outweigh the cost. Flexibility is one of Song Selects strong suits. Most songs (especially the top 100) have both the 4-part version, chord chart, and lead sheet options, and they can all be printed out in every key. This makes chaining together multiple songs much easier. There is also the added benefit of knowing what other music ministers and worship leaders are doing since Song Select updates the top 100 song list. Here is a link directly to Song Select.
2. Lifeway Music Service: I must admit, my use of Lifeway Music Service pales in compassion to my use of Song Select, however, Lifeway music service comes in very handy. Lifeway Music Service is what is says, a music service–with a twist! I can not speak for everyone but I tend to order choir music from multiple vendors and publishing companies. What Lifeway Music Service does, is allows me the opportunity to consolidate the ordering process. For example, if I want to order an anthem from Word, an anthem from Beckenhorst Press, and string parts from Shawnee Press, then I would normally need to call or go to each company separately to make my order, or I can call Lifeway Music Service and place the order for all three items and let Lifeway do the leg work. It saves time. But wait! there’s more! You can still receive your discount with each vendor. All you need is an account with Lifeway and then simply bill your account. Here is the Lifeway Music Service phone number: 1-800-368-7421.
3. Sibelius Music Notation Software: By my own admission, I want music that works for me, not for the publishing company. I want music tailored to the exact needs for each service. This is nigh impossible for every service, but Sibelius Music Notation Software allows me accomplish some of this. Sibelius is a program that allows the composer to write or arrange music. Another option is Finale. I simply prefer Sibelius. The ability to arrange your own music is a great tool and option for me, especially when I can’t find exactly what I am looking for or when I want to re-arrange or band-a-fy a traditional hymn. Here are links for Sibelius and Finale.