Have you ever been caught in the quandary of the weird key worship song predicament? I have.
Allow me to set the stage. You’re singing in church and in the middle of the third song it suddenly creeps up on you. Your worship leader goes into the chorus. The notes keep getting higher and higher, all the while getting harder and harder to sing! Or, perhaps the song just started in some weird key and you couldn’t decide which octave to sing it in to begin with. Either way, when it hits you’ve got a decision to make–fast, and you better choose wisely, or your joyful noise will inevitably lose the “joyful” part (at least in your neighbor’s opinion).
If you’re like me, you may have tried unsuccessfully to keep your voice in the octave where you started the song. This then proved to be a grave distraction to your worship experience because instead of gracefully singing to God, you were preoccupied with the awkwardness of your squeaky high notes or airy low notes.
The next time you find yourself in this situation, simply follow “The Quirky Christian’s Guide to Weird Key Worship Singing.” These helpful hints are tried and true, and at least one will most certainly strike a chord with you.
1) Flip the octave
This is nice because you can continue to sing melody, but it does involve some vocal gymnastics, so be ready. You will need to flip to a higher or lower octave right in the middle of the song. Find a breaking point, usually right before the chorus or at the start of a verse, and flip it…flip it good!
2) Sing the harmony
This is nice because you can continue to stay in the same octave, but it does require some musical instincts. If you’re singing from a hymn book, just start singing one of the other parts you see on the page. If you’re looking at a screen with projected words, you’ll have more of a challenge: singing by ear. Try following the second vocalist, otherwise just pick a note that sounds good!
3) Mouth the words
This is a quick and easy way to continue a normal appearance without sounding like a squeaky wheel. You will still feel like you’re actively participating in the worship because you have to say the words in your head, but no one will ever notice that there actually is no sound leaving your lips!
4) Stop singing all together
This is probably the most effortless option, but must be executed well to blend in effectively. Close your eyes, close your mouth, and worship with your heart. Soak in the music. If you’re feeling extra moved, go ahead and raise your hands.
There you have it. Feel free to write these hints on the palm of your hand before you go to church next time. That way, they can be easily referenced. Just make sure it’s not the hand you normally raise during worship.