29 Worship Tools for Under $29, Part 6
By Jon Nicol
Today, we’re looking at charts. Two of my go-to tools for charts are CCLI’s SongSelect and PraiseCharts.
#13: CCLI's SongSelect
SongSelect is a service of CCLI. You need to have a CCLI license to purchase the SongSelect membership, but you should have a CCLI license anyway – it’s like SafeAuto. Keeps you legal….
Here’s there pricing breakdown, as of this February 29, 2011.
Most churches would probably opt for the “Advanced Melody” since the cheaper two, (in my opinion) are pretty much worthless, unless you’re an a cappella church. Personally, I think SongSelect should offer a less expensive chord chart/lyrics level for smaller churches who need to save some cash, and for other churches who don’t want/need the leadsheets.
If your church is heavy into vocal ensembles or worship choirs, you’ll probably want to get the premium with the vocal sheets – which are basically SATB hymn-looking charts.
So let’s break down the Advanced Melody. The yearly price is $138, so monthly that’s only $11.50. OK, how about per song/chart?
- Over this next year, I’ll probably introduce one to two new songs a month, add to that a few specials, some one-offs for special themes, holidays and sermon series, and I’m probably going to be grabbing 25 to 30 songs.
- Currently, I estimate that I get ¾ of my charts from SongSelect.
- So let’s say, conservatively, I’ll be downloading charts for 20 songs. That breaks down to $6.90 a song. Seems a little steep, BUT…
- For each song, I download both the lead sheet and the chord sheet as well as create a lyric sheet. If it’s a rotten guitar key, I'll create a chord chart in a guitar-friendly key and designate where it’s to be capo’d. (I do that post-download – here's where you can learn more about that).
- So let’s say I average 3 and ¼ charts for each of my 20 songs I’m downloading. That’s 65 charts. Divide $138 by that and each chart is only running me $2.12.
So broken down a couple ways, SongSelect is a great tool for under $29.
The next chart-tool is PraiseCharts.
PraiseCharts is a pay-per-chart service. You can buy credits if you know you’re going to do a higher volume, but I’ll keep things in the realm of the casual user like me.
Big question, if SongSelect offers that much, why would I even consider getting charts from another place?
A few reasons: SongSelect charts are kinda like the old jazz fake books. They contain the melody and chords – just enough basics of the song to “fake it.” If you want the exact arrangement of Coltrane’s Giant Steps including the transcribed solos, you won’t find it in the fake book.
Songselect does offer some in arrangement – often they’ll include an instrumental part for intros, etc., but you can’t count on them to give you every nuance of the song. And that’s not a bad thing. It keeps their charts clean, simple and cheap.
But when you want a more exact transcription of a specific arrangement – turn to PraiseCharts.
For about 2 bucks, you can get the chordsheet for a song. They’ve recently introduced “ChordShark” into their services. Chordshark allows you to customize the chord chart, change keys, create a capo version, change it to lyrics only, etc. It also spells out the form/arrangement of the song pretty well (for a chord chart).
For around $6, you can buy the piano/vocal chart. This includes a leadsheet (that contains tons of arrangement info, with solos often transcribed) and the full piano arrangement. They provide the original key, and an additional key few steps lower.
I do some Adobe Acrobat voodoo to my PraiseCharts to delete the key I don’t want as well has annihilate the piano part. I personally think 7-page, monster piano arrangements are from the devil.* But if you rely on note-reading ivory-pounders to carry your team, my condolences: you’ll need the 9-page monsters.
I’m hoping eventually PraiseCharts will offer the technology to allow customers to pick any key. Normally, one of the two keys work. But I’d still love the option of a transpose button for the lead sheets.
If you got all your charts this way, that’d eat up a big portion of your budget. But when you need the exact arrangement, or can’t find the song elsewhere, PraiseCharts is a great tool for way under $29.
If you'd like to know more about using PraiseCharts and Songselect, check out the ChartSmart seminar - the playback and content is free (for now). And here's a post for more serving your team with great charts.
February 29, 2012Tweet