Phifer Orchestration Services

Now Is the Time for High Sounding Praise!

Worship Leader, you can effectively add band/orchestra instruments to the worship you lead.  Chances are, there is a worship orchestra in your congregation, student musicians and adults who once were student musicians, who could add a dynamic to your worship that cannot be done with guitars, keyboards and percussion.

This musical and spiritual expansion requires a particular set of musical skills.  Band/orchestra players have specific needs that are markedly different from those of singers and rhythm players.  I have decades of experience supplying those needs and I want to help you multiply your team and intensify your worship in this way.

It begins with arrangements.  These wonderful people are trained to play from written music.  Please do not believe the notion that the use of printed music limits your flexibility and ties you down so that you cannot follow the moment-to-moment leadership of the Holy Spirit in the service.  I know from experience that this is not the case.  I arrange charts that are flexible.  I cherish that element of worship that allows me to go where the Spirit is leading.

In consultation with you, I can create custom arrangements for your group that will also expand as your orchestra grows. (A worship orchestra is not necessarily a large group—it is anything beyond a duet!)  I consider arranging for worship orchestra as the scriptural ideal of worshiping “decently and in order.” The use of the instruments needs to be carefully planned, rehearsed, and played.  Otherwise a sort of musical free-for-all results which can create confusion not edification.

For this reason, I offer you “Orchestration Services,” not just arrangements.  When you invite me into your worship leading processes, you gain a friend and advisor as well as an arranger. In addition to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in instrumental music education, I have decades of experience as conductor, arranger, and teacher. I will gladly consult with you and coach you in the needed specific skills you will need.  Let’s get started!

 Basic Materials Needed

For each song, these are the helps I need to arrange for your group:

  • A lead sheet with the melody and chords,
  • A recording demo to provide the style and treatment your desire,
  • The instrumentation you need (with an eye toward expansion),
  • A description of the technical ability of your players (middle school, high school, college, former student, etc.)
  • The preparation (rehearsal and warm-up) schedule you use to prepare for each service.

For copyrighted songs, your church’s subscription to CCLI covers this process.

For further reading…

I have published several helpful articles at this website to help you focus on the use of band/orchestra instruments in worship.

I Pastor with Music

Heard and not Seen–The Invisible Orchestra

No One Has Hired Us: The Role of the Artist in the Mission

Bringing Order out of Chaos


My Genesis Moment

Take Note: The Spirituality of Musical Notation

The Instrumental Imperative

Consider Traditional Hymns

Hymns and band/orchestra instruments were made for each other.  Before the days of electronic amplification, band instruments were the portable, practical means of making music on location. In this post-modern age, the great hymns are the worship songs that have transcended the time of their composition to become trans-generational.  These songs tell us who we are and what we believe.  In this contemporary age, the orchestra can take traditional songs and contemporize them, bringing them into this moment.  They work well with the orchestra as set pieces, calls to worship, communion music and stirring climatic moments to wrap up a great song set.  I love to arrange the classic hymns in these classical settings.  Here are some articles on the validity of classic hymns in contemporary worship.

“Releasing the Power of the Classics in Modern Worship”

“Sacred Music: What Should It Sound Like?

“Sing unto the Lord an Old Song Part One”

“Sing unto the Lord an Old Song Part Two”

“The Hammers and the House”

“Granny’s Songs”

 Beyond the Popular Culture

It is difficult to find the dynamic center between communicating with the culture and being enculturated by the world.  The starting place to find this center-point is to obtain a clear vision of what the Lord wants.

We turn to the Scriptures to discover what God wants.  A clear statement of God’s preference comes in reference to public worship:

Psalm 150 NKJV
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!

Let’s do it!  Let’s call for the winds, the strings, the percussion to accompany the voices in High Sounding praise!  The public schools are preparing our players and have been for generations.  They are there in our churches waiting on leaders to call them to worship and witness!

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