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Upbeat worship songs - suggestions for female leaders
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Does anyone have any suggestions of uptempo songs that in their experience work well for a lead female vocal? I always struggle with uptempo songs in terms of finding ones that have a range that is singable for me and the congregation, whilst not loosing the drive of it being uptempo in the first place. (So looking for songs that don't go higher than a D and don't stick around a D for the majority of the chorus). Result being that I end up leading the majority of 1st sets from a small bank of uptempo songs, (e.g. 'Praise is rising', 'Great is your faithfulness/Hosanna' 'Join with the angels') and (this isn't a bad thing necessarily) tend towards songs that are a bit slower like 'Indescribable', or 'My Jesus, My Saviour' etc. Thought I might find a couple of new ones if I posted on here... and I'm fairly sure this isn't just something I find a challenge... so... GIRLS - any uptempo songs that you feel work well for you and your congregations, let's post them up, and BOYS - your comments are also welcome!

tricky one han, have u tried lowering the keys of fast songs like blessed be your name, happy day, Jesus saves etc? or maybe check out jesus culture as they do lots of up tempo songs with female lead vox, God bless, gav.
Hi Han I 'm a female who leads worship (with acoustic guitar) and also find it quite hard with some of the more up beat songs written by men. Often the verse is ok but the chorus / bridge then sounds too high for the style of song and sometimes needs to go down an octave, then sounds really low. I often change the key to something more suitable and I also don't like to go above a D too much. It is fine when singing as part of the congregation but when leading I would rather not go too high. I like finding versions of songs that have been recorded by a female and using those keys. I don't do too many really rock / up tempo style songs yet in church as they are only just beginning to get used to a more contemporary style service a couple of times a month, although have done Happy Day (in normal key.) I also use song select (CCLi) site to try songs in different keys until I find one that works, as it does the transcribing for you, although sometimes needs adapting. Songs from the limited range I have been able to introduce to the church and change the key include; Forever, Everlasting God, Mighty to save, How great is our God/How Great thou art. Apparently Ab is supposed to be a good key for the girls whereas men are better with Eb. I am glad someone invented the capo! Do you play guitar too when you lead? I don't know if you are going to it but the worship central event next month appears to have a seminar for women leading worship. Should be helpful. Sarah
Think it'll be a continued challenge. The 'boy' songwriters use their full vocal range to gain the energy often needed to drive up-tempo songs. Perhaps we need songs that have a smaller range utilising a strong band to provide the drive&energy? Lex buckley's 'Join with the angels' is a good example of that. This however isn't always at our disposal. So Let's get writing? Collaborate with the aim of producing up-beat songs that enable outbrsts of joyful praise along with ease for our female worship leaders to execute. Or. Is it right to maybe admit defeat and concentrate on the strengths that female leaders have with the more intimate ballad type songs? Howabout co-leading with a boy and splitting the sets? Just a couple of thoughts...sorry no other song ideas... Brooke Fraser, Nikki fletcher, Lex Buckley, Lou Fellingham, Kim Walker...listen to up-beat tracks they use. tm tm
t m
I would agree with your comments, It does feel more natural leading with a female voice doing the more 'ballard' style songs. They also seem to be in a better vocal range. My big problem is that I am the only one who leads worship (as only twice a month at the moment, otherwise traditional with organ). Our music group is in its very early stages as most of the people who play an instrument are not used to anything very contemporary, nor are they likely to listen to it. So we don't have a strong band either. Certainly plenty of challenge but great to have a really supportive Rector who is all for morving the church forward. Sarh
Hey I'd second looking into Jesus Culture stuff- Kim Walker (now Walker-Smith) does alot of lively songs in lower keys - like Happy Day, Where you i go and lots of others - they have another female lead whose name i can't remember who does a good version of tim hughes holding nothing back. Co - leading is a good idea too but I've generally found that it needs to be with the right person, it's worked brilliantly for me with the right person, but fallen so flat on it's face with the wrong person lol Andy Andy
I tend to use lots of songs that the lads use and just transpose them down to fit a female vocal range. I have a freakishly large range, but, I am very aware that anything over a D for most women is getting scary so limit stuff I lead to not higher than a top D. With me the problem is more about the congregation being able to sing it which makes me have to think even more carefully about the songs I use and the key I do it in, cos what is easy for me isnt for the majority! So a capo or the transpose function on your keyboard is your friend! Use him wisely and check whhat your top notes are lol! Experiment!
we have endless endless discussions on the best keys to use; there is always such disagreement between the genders... so today for example we did Chris Tomlin's " sing , sing sing" in G - worked ok & felt lighter & brighter but i would agree with Top D being the very highest note you can comfortably use in congregational singing... another observation I have made is that some songs seem higher than they actually are we have 2 very different services one with a large congregation drums bass, lead guitar & vocals leading the worship & the other service ( 50 in the congregation) with guitar or keyboard & one other vocal we can do the same song but in the smaller environment people complain that the songs are too high even if we are doing them in the same key.... happy day in c for example is just too high for a smaller bunch of people to do, nobody thinks twice about that in a larger setting... any body else come across this strange phenomenon or is it just me ? -- maybe i should just learn to play better lol
I've noticed that too, i think it comes down to the fact that in a larger group it feels easier partly cos there is much more noise around so you don't feel bad singing a bit louder and that makes it easier to sing a bit higher i think...might be completely wrong. I often choose not to transpose down too far, and i quiote regularly have songs going to a top E or F when i lead if not higher and don't seem to get any complaints - maybe we have a congregation that are all tone deaf or incredibly high singers, or maybe they're not listening haha
or maybe just too polite to say: lol I think depends on the song too,, if its a song with lots of high B C& Ds in it people comment more but those same people dont notice if may be there is only on D or C in the chorus... some of our non musician vocalist s will say they cant sing that high but do so when they dont realise, we dont tell them... lol
I had this problem when I first started leading as my chest voice covers baritone and tenor territory, and can cover more than two octaves quite happily. So eg. I played 'I see the King of Glory' (Hosanna) the other day in G with the result being that a few girls complained that it was going too high for them. I'm sure it's as they were trying to sing the melody an octave above me... a problem in the first place. I liked those chords though, so my compromise was to detune my guitar to Eb (permanently) and it's now easier for them to sing Hosanna in F#. As someone else pointed out, you lose some of the drive of the song if people aren't reaching for the notes a bit. It does seem to happen that in larger congregations people are happier to push the key a bit higher. It's odd... I wonder how people like Chris Tomlin get away with it, as his voice is generally higher than most decent male singers will go. The additional consideration is that blokes' voices generally carry more punch than the ladies' voices in the congregation, so if you're singing in keys that the girls are comfortable with, all the chaps will mostly drop down into baritone territory to sing in a register which is comfortable for them. As a result, the congregation sounds a lot quieter, and the song loses some of its welly. So think carefully before you drop a song too low.
Joe "One, two, three, here we go..." ... follow me on Twitter @JJBHargreaves