Five (and a half) Tips for Teaching New Songs, #3
By Jon Nicol
OK, let's review:
Tip #1 to teach a new song: Preview it as a pre-service song.
Tip #2 to teach a new song: Unveil in the service as a "special" music piece.
And Tip #3 to teach a new song?
Teach the new song.
All of these tips are part of a teaching process. But for this step, I'm advocating an intentional "let's stop and learn how to sing this song" approach. As in,
"Here's how the chorus goes....... OK, ready to try that together?........ great, now lets try the verse....... then later in the song we'll encounter this thing called a bridge (or middle eight for my UK friends), here's how it goes......."
For some of you, you're already doing this. Or your church is informal enough that no one would think anything of it if you did.
For others, you might not often break that 4th wall other than to invite people to stand and sit. This could be weird for you and your church. But I think it's worth it. Why?
Why Teaching a Song is Worth It
Teaching a song communicates a couple things:
You actually care that people in the congregation participate.
I've been guilty of plowing ahead to the throne room with my eyes closed and head cocked to heaven. It was probably sickeningly clear that I didn't care whether my church was going with me or not.
As leaders, I don't believe we get the luxury of absolute abandonment in worship. Part of the sacrifice of worship that we bring as leaders is helping others come to cross and the throne. While we can't make people worship, we can do some things to encourage it.
Ignoring them for 25 minutes while we have a personal worship time is not one of them.
You expect them to sing.
Worship is a spectator sport for too many Christians. When we teach a song, it's a pretty strong hint that we expect people to participate.
Ideas for Intentional Instruction
Here are ideas for an intentional song instruction moment in the service:
1. Give it a name.
I remember hearing Tommy Walker advocate this intentional teaching of songs. He always told (and probably still does) his congregation that they're "going to worship school" for a few minutes. Whether you like that moniker or not, find something that you can use each time with your congregation. And if you have a term for this that you use, share it in the comment section.
2. Keep it simple.
Use only the piano or guitar and one voice to teach it. Certainly don't muck up the melody by adding harmonies right away.
3. Get your band and BGVs to participate.
Make sure the team behind you is engaging in the singing as well. That gives more encouragement for the congregation and adds voices to the ambient mix.
4. Teach each section of the song, starting with the chorus.
And return to the chorus at least once before you're done.
5. Have fun with it.
One particular hymn-reboot I was teaching had a very high chorus. That week, Justin was scheduled. He's got this great, rich baritone voice. After I demonstrated the chorus I said, "Now, if any of you guys have a true manly voice, unlike me, you can sing along with Justin." And then we played the chorus again with Justin singing down an octave.*
So if you have any other ideas or tips for intentional song instruction in the service, please share them in the comment section. I'd love to hear them.
*Besides this being just a fun and light moment, it taught the concept of singing an octave down. Which, let's face it, with the increasingly large number of wide-range songs coming out, our congregations need to know this.
Post graphic derived from Stock.xchng
October 18, 2012Tweet