Ask a worship leader how they feel when you mention leading worship at Christmas and stress is bound to come up.
Christmas songs are just difficult to do in a modern church context. You always have to figure out the arrangements and they never really fit or flow well in the worship sets. The rhythms and chord structures are different, and finding the right key is a challenge because the ranges are so wide. Even breathing is difficult because every phrase is so long.
At Worship Artistry, our goal was to create simple Christmas carol arrangements that are easy to learn, sound great and are fun to play in church. We also partnered with SongSelect by CCLI to get it done. In this episode, Jason and Daniel listen to the first 5 songs and give thoughts on arrangement and their approach to each song.
There’s a certain “Christmas sound” that all Christmas carols need to have. The intro riff with the guitar and keyboard kick this off and your mind immediately goes to Christmas, but the drive of the other instruments help it feel familiar and at home in a worship set. The drums create the dynamic so the song still breathes with is something Christmas songs don’t always have.
The vocals are a real stand out on this track. The harmonies blend beautifully and Chris and Joy’s vocal tone really shine through.
We wanted these songs to have parts that really felt like pieces of a whole. Too often Christmas songs are so focused on the chord changes that the instruments all follow the same template rather than finding their own space. Bringing in interesting melody lines on the intros and letting instruments stack on top of one another really keeps the song interesting throughout.
This one was the most chord intensive of all the Christmas carols we arranged. Even so we pulled a lot out to make it flow. While it may seem busy, the chords are all close together and easy to change to and the drums have a laid back enough feel the groove never gets away from you.
We had a lot of fun with this arrangement. It just feels so right and your band will have a blast playing it. The keyboard reinforces the melody well and the electric guitar gives it such a vibe.
If you and your band want to learn these arrangements, you can get free lessons, tabs, sheet music here.