A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called, "Contemporary Music for Traditional Congregations," which included practical suggestions and a list of 20 accessible contemporary songs for more traditional worship (read it here, in case you missed it). I know what you're thinking: "That's great, but where do I go to actually find this music?"
I asked the same question earlier this year. You see, our church is currently having these same conversations. In fact, we're talking about it in a series of meetings this week:
- How can we begin incorporating more contemporary music into our services?
- Where do we find this music?
- Who from our church can sing/play/lead it?
I did a little homework and today, I'm sharing a round-up of contemporary music resources - places to listen to and download individual songs (lead sheets, chord charts, instrumental parts, choral scores, etc.), where to find lyrics, and several useful collections for choir, praise team, and congregational use.
Contemporary Music Resources - Websites
Looking for a specific song? Need instrumental parts and flexible key options? These websites are for you - designed to let you pick and choose which songs and parts (piano, vocal, instrumental, rhythm, solo instrument, etc.) you purchase and download.
01 | Praise Charts
One of the most popular sites for downloading lead sheets and chord charts, Praise Charts has an extensive collection of contemporary music for worship. Listen to audio clips, see lyrics, choose from several key options, and download lead sheets/chord charts/rhythm charts (with permission to print up to 5 copies), audio tracks, orchestra or choir parts (where applicable), and Finale files.
02 | CCLI
Most of you are probably familiar with CCLI and may already have a basic license. SongSelect is an add-on service (a paid subscription in addition to your basic license) featuring transposable chord sheets, lead sheets and vocal sheets, lyrics, and audio samples.
03 | Lifeway
Lifeway offers a digital catalog of traditional and contemporary hymns, praise choruses, and worship songs on their website. Here, you can search for music, listen to audio recordings, see music previews, purchase, and download to print. Some songs also include instrumental parts (saxophone, guitar, cello, flute, horn, percussion, trumpet, trombone, violin, etc.)
04 | Worship Together
Worship Together features hundreds of contemporary worship songs and includes audio tracks, lead sheets, and piano/vocal/guitar scores (with license to print 1 copy for back-up purposes, 1 copy for performance). Get free lead sheets and mp3 downloads when you sign up for a free membership.
05 | Music Notes
Though perhaps more well-known for their collection of pop music, Music Notes also includes a variety of contemporary worship music. This is a great option if you're looking for a notated piano accompaniment, as your purchase includes 1 digital copy + 1 print (extra cost for each additional print). Each piece includes transposition options, various arrangements (easy piano, piano/vocal/chords, choir + piano), and a score preview with MIDI audio clip.
Contemporary Music Resources - Collections
Hymnal supplements, songbooks, and other collections are a simple, cost-effective way to build a library of contemporary music. Here are a few you might consider:
06 | Roll Down Justice ($39.95)
This new collection by Mark Miller includes 23 reproducible congregational parts and a demo CD.
07 | iWorship - Chord Chart Edition CD-ROM ($17.95)
This iWorship collection includes 130+ printable contemporary song chord charts.
08 | The Faith We Sing ($13.49+)
Released in 2000, this hymnal supplement features modern hymns, contemporary music, world music, spirituals, and Taize music. Includes copyright permission to reproduce single items for worship or educational purposes.
09 | Worship & Song ($10.79+)
Released in 2011, this supplement features 190 old and new hymns, contemporary songs, and multicultural and ethnic songs (see complete title index) + over 225 prayers, litanies, and statements of faith. You can also download individual song packs (includes accompaniment edition, singer's edition, pew edition, and PowerPoint slides) for $9.00.
10 | The Very Best of Hillsong: 25 Worship Favorites ($13.49)
Twenty-five songs with vocal line, piano accompaniment, and guitar chords.
11 | More Songs for Praise and Worship: 55 Favorites ($17.99)
A series of books featuring a variety of contemporary music scored for piano/vocal/guitar.
12 | Ready to Sing Blended Worship, Vol. 3: 7 Medleys ($8.99)
A series of books designed for choir and congregation - each medley features a newer contemporary chorus paired with something more familiar for the congregation to sing.
An extremely useful collection featuring 200 hymns and songs for worship.
This resource includes reproducible instrumental parts, lyric sheets, and PowerPoint files.
15 | All the Best Songs of Praise and Worship ($14.49)
This series features top contemporary songs for worship with easy-to-play piano accompaniments and guitar chords - 250 titles in this book alone!
Contemporary Music Resources - Free
Some of these groups or more well-known than others, but regardless, you may find a few original songs that work for your congregation and worship services. Plus, they're free!
16 | Hillsong
At the forefront of the contemporary worship scene since the early 1990s, Hillsong offers lyrics, chord charts, and audio/video recordings for over 40 of their newer songs for free on their site.
17 | High Street Hymns
Founded in 2007, this group offers a small but varied collection of reclaimed hymns (free streaming, lead sheets, chord charts).
18 | Red Mountain Music
Original, contemporary settings of old hymn texts (free downloadable lead sheet songbook).
19 | Indelible Grace
A vast collection of original contemporary songs and arrangements of hymns (free demo tracks, lead sheets, chord charts, and piano accompaniments, where applicable).
Tons of free downloads of contemporary music and lead sheets - especially helpful if you're looking for chords for traditional hymns for keyboardists/guitarists.
What are your go-to contemporary music resources? Please share in the comments below!