Nine Key Components to Introduce a New Song, Part 2
By Jon Nicol
Last week we began a new series* looking at why introducing a new song to our congregation is like giving a gift. Here are two more components to introducing a new song.
3. The Box
All of our songs come in a box. The melody. The chord structure. The song form. The tempo. The key. It’s the tangible stuff that holds the contents and makes them more significant.
Too often, worship teams give little thought to the box. They go one of two ways:
One, they just throw the song out there in the box it came in, without regard for what kind of box their church needs.
For example, just because a good song from Jesus Culture came in a “9 minute” box, doesn’t mean you should give it to your church that way. Most of our churches, honestly, aren’t ready for extended-length songs. They maybe can only handle the 3½ minute radio mix.
Another good example of this is the key. Too many worship leaders (usually us tenors), keep the song in the original key without regard for the congregation. It’s one thing for the recording artist to put it in that ideal, smoking high range. But your congregation will be unable to enjoy the contents if the box is unopenable.
The second way worship teams give little thought to the box is when they don’t settle on their defaults: default key, default arrangement, default form.
Every time the song is presented, it feels a different. Different form, different instrumentation. Different tempo.
Believe me, I'm a huge proponent of straying from the recording. But I've learned the power of a "default," especially during the learning phase. Keep the dimensions of the box the same. It helps the people know what they’re opening up.
Once a song is well-known, have some fun with it. Change it up. But until then, try to keep the variables to a minimum to help the learning process.
4. The Wrapping
According to one eco-site, consumers spend $2.6 billion annually on wrapping paper. The environmentally conscious among us see that as a huge waste of trees. (They’re probably right.) And the pragmatists among us just call it a waste of money. (They’re probably right, too.)
But still, there’s something to getting a gift that’s deliciously wrapped in beautiful, crisp paper and adorned with a bow, rather than the classified ads from the Sunday paper.
The added beauty and excellence we put into a worship song is partly like the wrapping paper - it attracts people to the “present” and leads them to experience the “contents” – the words of the song.
And I say “partly” because I believe adding excellence and beauty in our music goes deeper than that. It’s not just to draw people in like some shiny lure. I believe the artist endeavor to make beautiful music is in itself an act of worship (when done with the right heart).
We shouldn’t try to create excellent art just to attract people. I don't think that's the right motivation. God didn't speckled the sky with the Milky Way just hoping we'd like it, and then in turn like him. He was just creating beauty for his glory and enjoyment. And since we're created in his image, it does draw and attract us.
That’s what beauty and excellence does. (Phil 4) The beauty and excellence in our music needs to flow from a true desire to create good art. It will glorify God if done from that place. And it will also draw people.
Questions to dialogue:
Do you have a "default" for every song? Why or why not? If you do, when do you stray from default?
How do you infuse beauty and excellence into a song?
This series is part of an book/resource I'm working on to help worship leaders develop a song catalog and a system of introduction/rotation/retirement that better enables their congregations to worship. I welcome your feedback and comments can help shape this material.
December 3, 2012Tweet