Today I started singing a song in a different key than I was playing on the guitar. After trying to recover, I just stopped, apologized to the congregation and we started the song over. Have any of you done this, and if so what did you do

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I'm bad at forgetting about my capo. I just grinned, said "I knew I was going to forget that" and went on and I think if I don't look terribly concerned about my mistakes the congregation stays with me. I'll just guess you may get a terrific pile of examples from all of us - I think the errors are inevitable. And the grace to walk through them gets easier.
I doubt anybody really cared as long as it was in the first couple lines of the song. Just last week our worship leader began 'Indescribable' in the wrong key and called for a 'mulligan' before the singing actually started. I thought it was my problem at first as I was playing the main riff on tenor sax. It helped that it was the opening song, but even later in the set I don't think most people would have cared. As Andrea stated above--the congregation will give us grace as they know we're not professionals. Trying to restart half way through a song may be difficult to attempt without raising eyebrows though. If there are enough musicians playing one is bound to miss a key change eventually and a few lines go by before they realize it (know from experience with almost everybody on the team). It's much more difficult to overcome if the singer misses the change.
I think it's best not to make a big deal, but just stop and smile, and say, "Hey, let's try that again!" Even if you don't catch it on the first verse, you can make the key change on the second. I think it's better to stop and do that then go through the next 5-7 minutes with something no one can sing.

What I almost find more difficult is when we start off with the wrong tempo. It's not easy to pick up the pace once the whole band is in!
Hey, it happens, and I think the congregation is totally fine with it. I hate it when it happens in the middle of the moving of the Spirit because interuptions like that can cause a loss of focus both on the part of the team and the congregation. If everyone is tuned in to the spirit then you can quickly regain the focus. I tend to be quite talkative and it helps to be able to communicate with the congregation beyond just through the music. I am perfectly comfortable poking a bit of fun at myself. But like I said, I don't like losing a chord, rythm or melody line when the spirit is moving, still it happens on occasion.
Dont feel bad, one Fathers Day I sang Amazing Grace acapella and forgot the words halfway through the 2nd verse. I was completely mortified but the congregation was very forgiving! There was no one on stage but me, no way i could play it off, i just laughed at myself and finished the song. then i went to my seat and tried so hard not to cry! but after the service everyone said it was still beautiful.
"Hey, we're going to start this one again in a different key so you folks can sing along..."

At one point, our band had songs in the repertoire called "I Love You, Lord," "I Love You Alone" and "You Alone." The first time two of them showed up in the same setlist it was instant train wreck time. In fact, the homebrew CD I made for the band from some of our service recordings was called "Lord, I Love You, Lord, Alone, Lord."

As our pastor at the time used to say, though... "Any worship service you walk away from was a good one" (if you don't get it, ask a pilot to explain)

Charles
Well, make things easy for yourself - and the congregation! Don't try anything that's musically risky just because it sounded cool on the CD or the performers made it work during their 'live' concert DVD recording. Use a good intro to establish the key of the song so everyone can join in easily. And all that.

A little bit of advance planning goes a long way in preventing such hiccups... :)
Yeah Junjie, I could've used this advice a few weeks ago!! My pastor actually cut a worship song short b/c one of our guitar players was so off ... I'm learning not to bite off more than we can chew!
I believe God uses these instances to keep us humble---He keeps me in check every once in awhile... It's sort of good to know it happens to others too...
I also believe He uses mistakes and misques to keep me humble. I was once asked if I get nervous before hitting the platform to lead the worship. I always do a little bit. I am confident in what I do but there is always a bit of nervousness too. And I use that nervous feeling to remind me the it is God who is really in control.
I think you could just call it jazz, where there is no key (or where you could prove that even when you were out of key, it was in key, it was just so complicated that no one else got it).

I like jazz, it is where the philosophers of musicians live... : ) Or at least it is perceived in that way.

No ill will meant to any jazz cats, beatniks, or others of the jazz-oriented ilk...this is my attempt at humor... : )
ha ha interesting hey.. i kinda agree:-) you could call it jazz but i'm not so sure the jazzy-folk will take kindly to that. guess the question is "are there musical mistakes in jazz?"

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