As church musicians, we always seem to be in need of a new hymn arrangement, a copy of an old hymn in a different key, or new ideas for a prelude.
Here are some of the best free resources for church musicians that I have found.
10. Public Domain Hymns
This database contains thousands of hymns in public domain. They are listed in alphabetical order, but you can also search by categories like “Psalms” or “Christmas”.
Most entries have pdf copies of the music available in several different notation styles, and some of them have accompanying MIDI files.
This might seem obvious, but a simple Google search can be really helpful when you’re looking for the answer to a specific question that may not be found on a hymn site or in an index.
Whether you’re looking for ideas for congregational introductions, comparing alternate tunes, or searching for those lesser-known verses of Amazing Grace, chances are that Google has something valuable to offer.
8. Wordwise Hymns Index
Robert Cottrill’s blog features an index with a discussion of the history and meaning of hundreds of well known hymns.
If you’re looking for more background on a particular hymn, this is a great resource.
Hymnal.net lets you search for hymns by category. You can then filter each category by meter, key signature, and more.
Each hymn entry contains lyrics, piano music, and a guitar lead sheet.
You can also use the Scripture category to find hymns that fit well with a particular Bible passage.
James Koerts has a striking and beautiful arranging style. There are many arrangements for sale on his website, but there are also some available for free.
Most of them are piano solos, but there are also a few for violin.
5. Free Hymn Arrangements by Greg Howlett
Greg Howlett’s website has a number of free hymn arrangements ranging from intermediate to advanced level.
He also has several free lead sheets available.
YouTube is an amazing resource for church musicians. You can find thousands of examples and tutorials for playing hymns on piano, sight-reading hymns, formatting congregational introductions, chord substitution, and much more.
If you’re looking for new ideas for playing hymns, this is a great place to start out.
3. Free Hymn Arrangements by Michael Kravchuk
Michael Kravchuk has many unique hymn arrangements that can be downloaded for free.
They are organized alphabetically, and each arrangement has an easy, intermediate, and advanced version.
2. The Cyber Hymnal
The Cyber Hymnal has sheet music for thousands of hymns. You can filter them by topic, meter, scriptural illusions, and more.
Many of the entries have lyrics, background information on the composer, and the story of how the hymn came to be.
Hymns are available by pdf or audio file.
This is my go-to website for hymns. You can search for specific tunes, composers, or hymnal editions and, best of all, there is a “Search by Melody” feature that lets you play melody on a digital keyboard to help you find the tune you’re looking for.
Each entry has a sheet music pdf, information about the composer, tune, and text, a list of scriptural references, hymnals in which the song appears, and alternate versions in other languages.
What are your favorite free resources for church musicians? Leave a comment below!