The Daunting Task of Introducing New Songs

Oh sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
Psalm 98:1

God is worthy of us endlessly writing new songs to praise him for his love, mercy, and power. As worship leaders, we should be regularly introducing new songs for our congregations to sing. Here are some practical tips teaching your church to sing along to a new song.

Play it for the congregation

At some corps you might have the worship team playing a song as a prelude or maybe even a postlude as people are exiting the chapel.  This is a great time to play a new song.  Sure, you might not have their FULL attention.  But at some level they are becoming familiar with it.

Find the right moment

It can be difficult to start your set off with a new song.  And you also want to end your set strong with everyone fully engaged.  I would suggest putting that song right in the middle.  That way the congregation has some time to warm up before getting to it.  And if it completely bombs you still have a chance to keep them engaged with some songs that they know before ending your set.

Play it twice

If there is a spot in the service where you can repeat the song, go ahead.  Maybe during the offertory or after the message, in addition to your set.  You might think its overkill, but really, it’ll stay fresh in the church’s mind if you sing it multiple times.

Get the whole band to sing it

Whether mic’d or not it’s great to have a few extra voices singing along with you.  They’re the ones who know the song.  The congregation will be more willing to sing if they see your band singing.

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Get excited!

If you don’t seem excited to sing it, no one else will.

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Actually teach the song

There’s nothing wrong with pausing in the middle of a set to teach a song to your church.  Here are some tips for that:

  • Explain that you are going to sing a new song, and maybe give a little bit of background on it or share why you are going to learn this specific song.
  • Then explain that you’ll sing it once (whatever part you think will be most helpful) so they can hear the melody.  (sometimes the chorus is the easiest and more practical part to learn first)
  • Sing through the melody once through, then invite the congregation to sing that part through with you, and then sing it again.
  • I’ve done this with just the guitar and me singing, but recently I’ve found that just having the band play quietly under you teaching can be more helpful. It establishes a strong rhythm for people to follow and helps them not feel as exposed singing it for the first time.

Hope this helps you out!  What’s your favorite way to introduce new songs to your church?

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