Continuing our series of strumming patterns to popular worship songs, here is Paul Baloche’s Open the Eyes of My Heart (which I’ve taken from the original Paul Baloche recording). This syncopated pattern form the bedrock of so many worship songs. If it seems difficult to work out on paper, slow it down, try clapping out the rhythm and then get your strumming hand moving at a 16th note pace (i.e. two downs and two ups per beat).
I’ve listed this in a box format that shows the song over a single bar in a 16th note format. So the key is to count 1 E & A, 2 E & A, 3 E & A, 4 E & A over the song and crucially KEEP YOUR HAND MOVING at all times. Naturally your hand should strum down on the numbers or beats (1234), the &’s and then the up beats should always link to the E’s and A’s. If you find this difficult to work through on paper then I’d recommend either our Song Learner series DVDs or Intermediate Acoustic DVDs as its much easier to see it on video than in an article.
I’ve tried to pick the patterns from either the original album version or a fairly stock version of each song but of course, there are many versions of each song, and even within each version there will be some room to change up the strumming pattern and still fit the groove.
Do realise that while each strumming pattern will work for the song on its own, if your drummer, or indeed your band is playing a different groove (consciously or unconsciously!) then it may not entirely fit. The key is to make sure the main accents in the rhythm of the melody are reflected in the strumming pattern.