I'm a returning Christian and currently a keyboardist in the church I'm attending. When I was in college, I was also the band leader in my previous congregation. I've been listening and playing most of the Integrity, Vineyard and Hillsong recording in the Church then and now. Admittedly, the Philippines' churches are violating the copyright laws of the songs and worship music that are being published, including my then and now church. I'm a very detailed musical person and I learned playing worship music through the help of Integrity Music arrangements, being Tom Brooks as the producer/arranger. When i get back to the flock and I somewhat leading a band in my new congregation. I want to be honest that I almost following the arrangements (with few changes like key signatures to fit the singer's range) I have heard from the recordings I bought online or in the music store and use those arrangements in my current congregation. Do you think is it good to follow those arrangement in congregational worship music.
If I understand your question, you want to know if it's OK (or ethical?) to lead praise and worship songs close to or exactly like the arrangement on the commercial releases we might hear on the radio or from CDs?
I would say...absolutely it's OK...considering the following...
1) Your congregation has a current CCLI license - not that this fixes everything but it gets you a long way there.
2) You are not blatantly photo-copying written arrangements and handing them out.
3) The people in your congregation know those arrangements and throwing a new arrangement of a loved song isn't always taken well. When you are considering "the masses" (the congregation as-a-whole) most of them will not know new songs, but those that know the song will have heard the popular arrangement and will be able to follow along because of it.
4) As long as you are not recording it and selling that recording.
I really don't see an issue for most congregations - from my experience - most Christian worship music is learned by passing it along anyway. You are not profiting from singing a song in worship.
Aww!!! Thanks Brian for your thoughts. That relieves me a lot except for item No.1. I'm in the Philippines and I believe in my heart churches here don't know about CCLI. :( I checked out CCLI and I don't know if the church will be giving out few bucks (PhP 4500 for category A license). Hope that God could bless me to avail at least the category A license for the congregation I'm attending. Many churches here just covering the recordings without taking into consideration the copyright laws including the congregation I'm attending.
I'm sure if you emailed someone at CCLI and made them aware of your situation they would be able to help you arrive at a solution that would allow you to lead worship with a clear conscience and make sure that the authors and publishers of the songs you use receive the fair amount of royalties.
As far as "covering" existing arrangements, I have purchased a number of mechanical licenses (which are separate licenses that are required if you make a recording of someone else's song), and the mechanical licenses always state that I am NOT allowed to:
1) add lyrics to the song (i.e., an additional verse or alternate chorus)
2) change any lyrics in the song (i.e., if there's one word or phrase in a song that I have a theological problem with and I substitute a different word or phrase, I am breaking the law)
3) change the melody of the song
4) change the meter of the song (i.e., from 4 beats to 6 beats or something like that)
I highly doubt that the CCLI performance license would be any more restrictive than a mechanical license, so I would say that other than what's mentioned above you're pretty much free to do anything that will help your congregation worship more effectively.
You can change the key, you can change the tempo, you can simplify the accompanying chords (or complicate them, if you prefer!).
I do most, if not all, of these things on a regular basis -- especially with Chris Tomlin songs that tend to be recorded in keys that are much too high for the average untrained singer in the congregation.
May God continue to bless and honor the work He has given you to do in the great nation of the Philippines...
Is good to hear from my brother in the Lord in the Philippines.
My church has the license from CCLI and that is just to cover the church in using the music. As long as you are not recording the songs and selling for profit. As for it changing in a worship service, the Spirit of God moves differently in each service sometimes we will go into a prophetic song.
Allow the Spirit of the Lord to lead you in this manor.(hugs)