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  1. #1

    Default Help in playing church music

    Hi I just found this forum and need some help. I am a beginner with alto sax and am having a hard time finding contemporary christian sheet music. Also, my pastor has written and recorded some awesome songs and I would like to play my sax (in private b/c I'm not very good yet) along with his cd. How might I start?

  2. #2
    Forum Contributor 2009 DesertCreature's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    the deep desert (Phx, AZ)

    Default Re: Help in playing church music

    I've used Praisecharts and it's a good place to start, but I would caution that CCM parts as written do not necessarily work with the particular composition or style of your band, nor do they always match the recorded version of the song. Consider adapting parts for other instruments. You may have to make up your own part in many cases. Also your worship team may play a given song in a different key than that of the popular recording.
    So what, I'm the bass player.

  3. #3
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Default Re: Help in playing church music

    Quote Originally Posted by churchgirl View Post
    ...I would like to play my sax... along with his cd. How might I start?
    Put the CD on, take your horn out and blow. True, as a beginner this may seem way beyond your capabilities... but it's never too early to train your ears. Once you get mastery over the full range of your horn and know it chromatically up and down the octaves, you should start trying to figure out songs on your own without the sheet music. Otherwise, you will always be dependent upon it.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help in playing church music

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumps View Post
    Put the CD on, take your horn out and blow.
    I want to second this. This is really the best way. It's ok for what you play to sound bad, have all sorts of mistakes, etc. Just keep at it. Note the things that sound good. You'll start to see patterns in what works with a particular song. Develop those things.

    Also, you might want to read the thread here HELP!!! worship without sheet music. There's lots of advice there about getting started.

  5. #5
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2010 harmonizerNJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    USA, NJ

    Default Re: Help in playing church music

    The music I have played on the sax in my church has all been duets with the piano player, who happens to be a gifted accompanist (an art unto itself). He sets me up with the right context, making it so that even a weekend warrior like me can sound good. The piano player I play with is actually the star, and I'm just along for the ride, trying to keep my playing simple so that I don't mess things up.

    One way you can approach your journey is to try to make yourself a good enough sax player (and musician) so that you can play along in a duet with a piano player who is better than you, and not "mess things up". If you consider that the melodies in these songs have their beauty in their simplicity, and consider the religious theme the song is about, it may help you to take a "less is more" approach for the notes, and to focus on your tone.

    Besides the above recommendations, I suggest you get the album by Cyrus Chestnut "Blessed Quietness: Collection of Hymns, Spirituals and Carols", and play along with it. The piano player at my church and I have already based a couple of our duets on arrangements from this album.

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