Five (and a half) Tips for Teaching New Songs, #5
By Jon Nicol
I used to be so impatient with new songs. If I heard one, I had to teach it. But little by little I learned some principles that have led to these tips. Here they are in a more step-by-step process:
#1. Play the song during your pre-service time several weeks before you're going to introduce it. Recorded or live, but preferably live.
#2. Use the song as a special music piece. This allows people to hear it, and even see the words, but not be expected to sing along.
#3. Actually teach the song. Take time to informally walk your church through the various parts of the song.
#4. Create a "new song sandwich." When putting it in the service for the first time, sandwich it between two well-known tunes. And tip 4½ calls for teaching the song at the front of the set. Then you can insert the actual song later amongst the familiar tunes.
This is where the song either becomes part of your worship vernacular or you drop it from rotation. How do we accomplish this?
Doing it several times.
Over and over.
The repeating it again.
Nothing else will cement a new song into our psyche like hearing it again and again. Think about Top 40 radio formats - whether country, AC, rock, Christian - it doesn't matter. They all do it.
One radio industry blogger renamed the acronym CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio) to Constantly High Rotations. A big reason a hit becomes a hit is because they play it over and over. The same blogger indicated that a recent hit had spun on an average of once every 1 hour 47 minutes during the week it was number one.
Whether or not you or I like Top 40 of any format is irrelevant. But the principles behind it are what matters here: the average worshiper needs to be exposed to a song numerous times before she can sing it from her heart.
And by that, I mean the words and melody are flowing naturally, not that she's memorized it. Although, given enough time, she likely will.
So the cementing stage for our new song learning process is tip #5:
5. Schedule a new song 2 - 3 in a row. Then revisit it two to three times over the next six to eight weeks.
Here's my MO for new song rotation:
- I schedule the new song 3 weeks, including the introduction week.
- Then it gets two weeks off.
- Then I schedule it three to four times in the next two months.
You don't want a song to overstay it's welcome with the congregation. But with the attendance rate of most of our regulars, we'll be lucky if people hear the song three times in that eight to twelve-week process.
A few final thoughts...
If people aren't connecting with the song after that process, dump it.
Not every song flies for every congregation. There are too many great songs to try force something that's not working.
Your band might rebel.
Some of the more ADHD members of your team will very likely get sick of the song during this process. It's important that you communicate to them the vision that drives this high rotation.
More CHR is still needed.
Once you introduce the song during this process, you still need to consider a higher rotation for awhile while it truly solidifies in the hearts of the worshipers. You can find out more about the whole process in two resources I put together.
Resources to Learn More
What's in Your Playlist is a ebook that helps you create a system to that manages songs from introduction to retirement. SongCycle is a seminar that's based on that system, but tweaked after having used the system for a several years.
I'm working on a reboot of this system. I'm beefing it up for a premium product that will come out in early 2013. So grab these resources now while they're free. But don't worry, the non-free version will be well worth its price.
Question: How do you introduce new songs? I'd love to hear some different methods...
Post graphic derived from: Stock.xchng
October 23, 2012Tweet