Create Liner Notes

Chord charts are central to any worship team. They serve as a roadmap, help you get through an arrangement from start to finish. They are the bridge between “We don’t know this song” and “Let’s lead this song on Sunday!”

But more often than not, chord charts are neglected and under-utilized, becoming a sub-par substitute for what they could be: a well-designed, accurate guide that aids your worship team to lead the song well.

For most people, though, creating accurate & detailed chord charts sounds impossible. You might have no idea where to begin, or what would actually be valuable to your worship team members. But with Planning Center’s tools, a better chord-chart experience may be more attainable (and pain-free) than you think!

One of the easiest ways to maximize the impact of your chord charts is to jot short liner notes next to the section title (verse 1, chorus, etc). Whenever I create chord charts in Planning Center’s chord chart text editor, I always note two vital pieces of information in my liner notes for each song section: what we’re doing vocally, and what we’re doing dynamically. I usually do that by placing a Voc: and Dyn: space next to the song section title, and then fill in my appropriate notes.

Let me explain further. Say you have a great background vocalist who can crush some amazing harmonies. But you don’t want her to begin with harmonies too early in the song and give you no room left to build the song up. All you need to do is note “Voc: Melody” for verse 1 and chorus, and “Voc: Harmony” for verse 2, and your background vocalist will understand they need to wait until they come in.

It’s amazing how just a few quick words can paint a very vivid picture in the minds of your team members.

Or say you are repeating a chorus 3 times but with ranging dynamics from soft to loud. In that event, I would say something like, “Dyn: 1st time soft, 2nd time build, 3rd time huge!” See what I mean? It’s amazing how just a few quick words can paint a very vivid picture in the minds of your team members.

Remember, any communication on your chord chart is better than no communication. You’d rather have a lot of communication and then perhaps dial it back a bit in rehearsal, rather than have no communication on the chart and have to work several things for much longer during rehearsal.

Also, just as a bonus tip, I would highly recommend laying out your song arrangement from top to bottom in one column so that you avoid as much potential for mistakes as possible. It’s so easy to focus on your instrument (which is a good thing!) for a moment and then look back at a 2-column haphazard chord chart and to have completely lost where you were. Make sure you lay out your lyrics appropriately, and if you’re going to sing a line 4 times, have it in your chord chart 4 times! Better to print extra paper and have the correct arrangement available, than to try to jam everything onto one page and to lose your place frequently on a crowded chord chart.

And just like that, you’re turning into a Planning Center chord chart pro. Your team will definitely thank you!

More to come. See you next time!

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