Hymns are a great way to learn how to sing, especially if you’re Christian and regularly attend masses and ceremonies like marriages, baptism, or funerals. After all, these songs are designed to venerate God and bring Christians together.
Generally speaking, these songs focus on the Lord and are included in Christian worship in various denominations (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, etc.) and are included in seasonal celebrations throughout the year such as Easter, Lent, Advent (Christmas hymns), Pentecost, etc. and sung in churches, monasteries, cathedrals, and abbeys.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the most popular religious songs and hymns that you can use to help you learn how to sing. For practising Christians, this is a great way to learn how to sing and express your faith.
After all, there are few ways better to worship the heavenly father than through song and hymns have been part of Christian prayer and the Catechism of the Catholic Church for hundreds of years.
However, outside of the church, you can also use spiritual songs to practise your singing. After all, they're designed to be sung by amateur singers, which means most of them are very easy to sing and aren't under any kind of copyright license so they may be reproduced freely.
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Learning to Sing: The Lord’s Prayer
In terms of Christian worship, the Lord’s Prayer is regularly recited in mass. Also known as “Our Father”, the Lord’s Prayer is known by most Christians on account of how regularly they have to recite it.
According to the Bible, Jesus taught this prayer to his apostles. The good thing about this prayer is that it appears across the various Christian sects and Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Anglicans should all be familiar with it. In case you don’t know the words:
Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven:
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil:
While there are some variations between the different denominations, the main parts are almost all the same. After all, the prayer appeared in two different gospels. The first came from the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew and the shorter version came from the Gospel of Luke.
While these words are usually used for praying, you won't be using these words to pray but rather to practise singing.
Oh Happy Day
The song “Oh Happy Day” is a gospel arrangement taken from the 5th book of the New Testament, The Acts of the Apostles. It was created in 1967 by The Edwin Hawkins Singers who had success in the United States and around the world selling over 7 million copies.
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Several artists have covered this song since it was written:
- The Edwin Hawkins Singers
- Quincy Jones
- Joan Baez
- Aretha Franklin
- Etta James
- Judy Collins
The song talks about Jesus washing away the sins of Man and how believers can now be happy. It’s a way to praise the Lord and is very popular across the entire English-speaking world. It’s hard not to get drawn into its joyful melody.
Check out some pop songs to practise singing.
This hymn is often used as the unofficial national anthem for England in sporting events. The music was written by Hubert Parry in 1916 and used lyrics from William Blake's "And did those feet in ancient time".
It's based on a story that Joseph of Arimathea travelled to Glastonbury (the town, not the festival). The lyrics cover Jesus' Second Coming and the idea that a New Jerusalem could be created in England in contrast to the Industrial Revolution that was taking place at the time of writing.
Blake's poem, upon which the hymn's lyrics are based, never asserted that Jesus or Joseph of Arimathea visited England but rather implied it may have happened at a time before the Industrial Revolution and its "dark satanic mills".
All Things Bright and Beautiful
While originally an Anglican hymn, "All Things Bright and Beautiful" is now used across many Christian denominations. It was initially published in Hymns for Little Children by Cecil Frances Alexander and based on 1 Chronicles 16:23-29.
If you know this hymn, you might be surprised to learn that the melody you know is only one of several melodies used for it. The most common involve "Royal Oak" by Martin Shaw, "All Things Bright and Beautiful" by William Henry Monk, and the choral piece by John Rutter.
As a hymn commonly taught to children, you may have learnt this from a young age. If this is the case, stick with the melody you learnt then as it'll be easier to focus on your singing than to learn an entirely new melody.
Abide with Me
This hymn was written in 1847 by Henry Francis Lyte to Eventide by William Henry Monk. The hymn is a request for help from God during our trials and tribulations and is regularly used by various Christian denominations during mass and is also often used as a funeral song.
On a cheerier note, it's also traditionally sung 15 minutes before the FA Cup Final kick-off and the kick-off at every Rugby League Challenge Cup Final since the late 20s.
It's a powerful and emotional hymn that every budding singer should look into singing.
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I, The Lord of Sea and Sky
In terms of hymns, this is a newer one. Commonly known as "Here I am, Lord", this hymn was written in 1981 by Dan Schutte, a Catholic composer from the USA. The lyrics are based on Isaiah 6:8 and 1 Samuel 3.
Since its writing, it's also been adopted by Protestants for use in their services and is regularly voted amongst the most popular hymns.
I Vow to Thee, My Country
This patriotic hymn was written by Sir Cecil Spring Rice to be used over the music of Gustav Holst. The lyrics were written in either 1908 or 1912 and are sung over "Thaxted", a tune featured in "Jupiter" from Gustav Holst's The Planets.
The song is about being as loyal to your country and the Kingdom of God. It is regularly performed on Remembrance Day around the Commonwealth and was used at Princess Diana's wedding and Margaret Thatcher's funeral.
Check out some other patriotic sings to practise singing.
Religious Songs: What a Beautiful Name
What a Beautiful Name is a 2017 song from the Australian praise and worship group Hillsong Worship. This beautiful song and its positive message won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song.
This is great for those who’d like to learn how to sing through hymns or religious music but are looking for something more contemporary.
There are also some great Christmas songs for practising your singing.
Now you should have a few good songs to practise with. To learn more about learning how to sing, check out our other articles in this series or get in touch with one of the many talented private tutors on Superprof!
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