Just wondering how you teach your congregation new songs? Do you:

1) Sing a line, then let them sing a line, then do the next line etc

2) Sing through verse 1 with the band, then get the congregation to join in. Then do chorus just with band, then get congregation to sing etc

3) Sing it all the way through with just the band. Then invite the congregation to join in.

4) Include it in your worship set and don't even mention that it's a new song - they'll pick it up!

I personally like number 4!

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I usually play a new song during the offering, and just play through the song and let the congregation soak in the lyrics and melody. Then I will replay the song at least 2 to 3 times over the following 4 weeks so everyone gets to know it better. I also seek to discover how the congregation enjoyed the song. If I play it a couple of times and just don't get much of a response to it, I won't continue with it. But if I can see that the words are impacting their hearts I keep it in the rotation.
We normally just add the song early in the set. I may or may not say something about the song, depending on the Spirit's lead. With new songs, I will use it for 2-3 weeks in a row, take a couple weeks off, and then bring it back again for a couple more weeks. If the body isn't connecting with the song I will ususally drop it pretty quickly.
I tend to start most new songs as an offering song where our congregation isn't expected to sing along. The following week I'll use it for our Call to Worship song where people aren't expected to sing along. The third week I'll use it in our normal praise or worship set. At this point I'll mention that it's a new song and invite people to join in as they feel comfortable then I launch into it. If it feels like they may be warming up to it then I'll include it maybe 2 more times in our rotation over the next 4 weeks. At this point we either dump it or add it to our longer term rotation. That does bring up another question I've got about how often you rotate songs into your worship sets but I'll start a new discussion for that.
We usually sing it as a call to worship and then incorporate it into the morning worship time. Sometimes we just add it into the worship set without announcing it if it is fairly easy for them to pick up and then we usually will repeat it the following week.
We sing a new song prior to the start of the service...when ppl are entering...Do that for a week or two, then introduce it. Sometimes we'll say a few words - why we included the song, how it touched us, the scripture associated with it - I think it helps the congregation to see that some thought and prayer is put into song selection, it's not just because we "like it"
I usually do number 4, and sometimes I'll like repeat the 1st verse a couple of times, repeat the chorus more than normal, etc...
Another thing I like to do to help familiarize a new song is I'll play a recording of it during fellowship time before the service starts for maybe like two weeks before introducing the song in the worship set. So far it seems to work pretty well.
awe, which song is that?

Bumping this because I think this is about to turn into an issue at our church, with some people wanting us to project musical notes and me pretty dead set against that.  Admittedly, we don't do much of a job of "teaching" the songs right now; we do new songs as an offertory and then do them two or three times with the congregation fairly soon after.  So that's something we can work on improving...

Anyway, bumping this to see if there are any other ideas on teaching new songs.  In particular, if anybody IS using notated music, either printed or projected, please mention that.  Part of my feeling is that "that's just not how contemporary worship works," so if anybody's using notated music with the congregation, I'd like to hear about it.


The way I've settled on, for many years now, is to play the song a few times before services or after services, or during communion (equivalent to the offertory?) when the congregation can soak up the song.  It is a very effective method - it works.  When you come to do the song in a worship set, usually by that stage a large part of the congregation are already on board with the song.

Previously I used to try explicitly teaching songs, but I found that always broke up the feel of the service.

We have done this a variety of ways.  Usually we will play a new song on several Sunday's in a row before adding it as a worship song used in corporate worship services.

week 1 - play it as a prelude song (as people are still coming into the sanctuary)

week 2 - play it as an offertory (lyrics are up on the power point so they can follow along)

week 3 - add it as a regular song part of the service 

The fact they have heard it three weeks in a row have familiarized them with the song and it is much easier to use it in the future (even if it is a month or so later)

Just an update - we normally (used to) start our service with (welcome by pastor / three upbeat songs) and we are now trying ( new "teaching" song / welcome by pastor / two upbeat songs ).  Since we're doing this before the pastor officially starts the service, I'm okay with being a little goofy on that opening song ("good morning, and welcome to a new segment of the service we call 'songs the band doesn't even know yet'"). I think it's working pretty well.

First week we did "Come As You Are" (Crowder & Maher); last week we did a song of mine called "How I Want to Live" that we had used a few months ago, and then also put that in as the benediction ("outro") song during the same service.  I think we'll do "Come As You Are" again this week and then use it after the sermon / before prayer requests spot.  It seems to be working well, and now that we have a better way to introduce new songs to the congregation, the band has not been shy about letting me know a few of our current songs that need a vacation.

Starting out the service with a slow song has been a little weird, but hopefully the extra energy it gets from being in "teaching" mode helps out.

I've also come to the conclusion (an idea that I expressed in one of the other threads) that as far as new people coming to visit our church, the point is not to try to come up with a set of songs that they might know (especially the "unchurched" who come to visit) - it's to have music that is catchy and meaningful enough that they will be interested in coming back to our church to hear (and eventually sing) more songs like that.

Another thing we're going to work on is putting up a page on the church website that has links to youtube videos of the original versions of the songs we do - even though we usually do them in a lower key and sometimes drop a bridge or a verse, if people want to listen to the songs and get familiar with them, they'll be able to do that.  I've also made .mp3 audio recordings of the original songs we do and put them on my own webspace so we can link those in.  Right now, we are moving our church website to a new host, so that's not available yet, but hopefully it's being designed into the new site and I'll have permission to update it when we add or retire songs from our active repertoire.

Once we've got several new songs in the repertoire, we may not do a "teaching song" every week, but at least we've established a way to handle new songs.  Also, we're in a slightly weird situation - although I'm the official "band leader" and I'm capable of singing, for health reasons, I am trying to make it so that one of the BVs is actually the "lead singer."  So I've been doing the "teaching song", then I sit down and go back to being the guitar player / harmony vocalist for the rest of the service.  But I'm secretly hoping that our lead singer will see how "talking to the congregation" works and start doing some of that herself, 'cause that's something else we've needed to work on...

We are currently having this debate.  A couple of new people in the Worship/Music team are pushing for a new song every 2 weeks, which history has shown that our congregation can't handle.  So, if their push gets through, we need to improve our song teaching.

Anyhoo, I'm a fan of using pre-church (prelude) time to teach new songs, but our Pastor currently has an issue with preludes.

So, outside of just playing it during a Sunday and then following it up over the next few weeks, we'll often do it as a 'quasi-performance'  (if it fits to do such), or during communion or offering.

I've also put together a YouTube playlist with our current song list for anyone to listen to  - which a number of new people have done!


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