Thanks again to Dr. Lester Ruth, Director of Worship Studies at Duke Divinity School, for encouraging me to do this!
Where Can I Find Sheet Music?
Church musicians and worship leaders, there are a variety of resources out there to find music and communicate with your band or ensembles. Pastors, it would help to be knowledgable of these resources and encourage your church musicians to use them for better efficiency.
Contemporary Christian Music – this term can mean many different kinds of music, but for these purposes it relates to church worship service music.
Worship Together – this is a great resource for keeping on top of the latest and most recent praise and worship music. Artists such as Chris Tomlin and Hillsong are regularly featured, but the website also covers new bands such as the Rend Collective Experiment. There is a free song sheet and video every week, and there are interviews with the artists themselves. Most of the videos have a short tutorial on how to play the song on the guitar. cost: FREE
SongSelect – You will most likely receive this service along with your CCLI licensing fees. Download chord charts, lyrics sheets, and lead sheets in any key. You can download everything as .pdf files. There is a huge variety of songs; however, it may not be as up-to-date on newer songs and you may find yourself waiting a while for that brand new song you’re obsessed with. Cost: $50-185 per year; free with CCLI membership.
Choral/Traditional Music – this relates to anything that isn’t considered non-band music, such as string ensembles and choirs.
J.W. Pepper – This is probably the best online resource for sheet music. Choral arrangements, both traditional and contemporary, Seasonal arrangements (think Christmas pageant), handbell choir arrangements, etc.
Brentwood Benson – Maybe you don’t have the most advanced level choir members, but they like to have fun and sing. This website is a good place to find easy choral arrangements. Many of the arrangements let you choose musical levels (easy, medium, advanced) and come with recordings of the music so your choir members and practice singing along at home in case they don’t read music really well. Don’t expect to find Handel’s “Messiah,” but do expect to find songs that are easy to sing along to.
GIA Publications, Inc. – This is your go-to resource for anything Taize or Iona community music. It’s also a place to find good music that matches where you are in the liturgical calendar. There are a lot of selections in the Catholic tradition.
Gospel Music – Gospel sheet music is hard to come by because it is a tradition of learning things by ear. If you look up a gospel song on YouTube, you will find many tutorials from gospel musicians. They do their best to break it down for you. But if you absolutely need to find printed sheet music, try these:
N Time Music – You will find everything you need to play gospel music in your church. There are many free arrangements available.
Gospel Musicians – I found this guy Jamal on YouTube. He is a brilliant musician and he breaks down gospel music theory. He has many instructional videos available. It’s just a treat to hear him play as well.
Multicultural and/or Lesser Known Christian Music – Chris Tomlin and Hezekiah Walker aren’t the only ones producing Christian worship music! There are many other great but lesser known musicians out there making great music. The trick is finding them.
Global Christian Worship – this is a blog written by Dr. Paul Neeley, Professor of the class “Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Christian Worship” at the Robert E. Webber Institute of Christian Worship. His class has to read this blog. He features many songs from different countries in different languages as well as those hard to find artists out there. It’s a wonderful resource.
Calvin Institute of Worship – this website used to have a ton of information for worship leaders, but they either got rid of it or it moved. If anyone can give me some insight that’d be great!
What other places have I missed?