Hi, this is my first time, I've written a couple of songs before but I don't know how to implement them for church. The problem is first I struggle recording on my own and I can't write sheet music. The only way I have thought to record is to use my churches PA system and plug an acoustic in and record my voice with a microphone. Then finding someone else to put my songs into sheet music.
So much depends on who you are teaching the song to and what they need to work with. Most congregations, after all, learn songs just by singing along with words in a book or projected up on a screen. You may just be able to hand out lyric sheets with some chords written in to the music group and teach it to them that way. The advantage of having it written down is that people can use that to help them remember the song when it comes to play it.
What position do you have in your worship group? If you regularly lead worship and conduct rehearsals, then you should be good to go. If not, then it may be easier to get some experience of helping people learn new songs from other sources first. A lot of the hard work is already done and you don't have that nerve-wracking thing of laying your own creativity where other people might trample over it.
Yeah, what he said, tho' I'd also add that if you aren't the worship leader, then the process probably needs to be to find out from the worship leader if they want to use your song (if you've only written a couple songs so far, you may not have anything, umm, quite ready for congregational use), and if so, find out what they need to get from you to be able to teach the song to the rest of the band, and just hand it off that way.
But, yeah, assuming you're talking about contemporary worship songs here, sheet music is generally not necessary these days, tho' I suppose that depends on how your band and congregation usually learn new songs. Also, to pre-answer your next question: formally copyrighting your songs is really not necessary. It's only useful when you get to the point where you're seriously trying to make money from your songwriting. If you've only written a couple songs so far, worrying about copyrights just slows you down. Spend the time writing more songs and trying to get some sort of feedback on the ones you've written already (see the Songwriters' Corner group here).
And - even if your only option is to plug into the church PA and record a simple demo that way, let me encourage you to start out recording the songs you write for future reference. Ask one of the sound techs to come help you out, they'll probably be happy to do so.
This is pretty much the issue with any song that you write. First, you have to expose it to others. If you have a group of musical buds that you jam with, that is the best place to take it. Open it up for collaboration - the songs I like the most have more than one name on the credits. After you've done that, if you truly think it's a good tune, I would look to get it copyrighted next. I'm not sure how that process works, but before it goes public in your congregation, it should already be a copyrighted song - for your protection. Then, you can talk to whomever is the song approver for a given church and see if they like it well enough to sing it.
As I mentioned in my post - until you are seriously working at trying to make money from your music, don't worry about copyrighting, especially if you've only written a couple songs. It's expensive, complicated, and unless you can seriously expect someone to steal your song and make a lot of money with it, it's just not worth it. Okay, DO put a copyright notice on the music - (c) 2010 Charles Wolff or whatever, but going through the whole Library of Congress copyright registration process is really not worth it for a beginner. And you do not have to do the LoC registration to put a copyright notice on - you "own" the copyright from the moment you write the song. You just can't prove in a court of law that you own it without the registration. But unless you seriously expect to be suing (or sued) over your song, don't bother.
Can you elaborate further? I assume that you would have to prove prior art if someone stole your song, but what's acceptable proof? What should he do to make sure that he can prove the song is his should he have to do that? What are the costs to get it registered?
My understanding is that pretty much the only thing a court in the U.S. will accept is registration with the Copyright Office. Last I heard it was about $60 (although you can register a whole bunch of songs for that amount), and it takes a while for all the paperwork to go through.
I guess my point is: don't worry about copyrighting (registering) your songs if you're just a beginning writer. If somebody steals it, you can just write another one, even better :-) (oh yeah: just ask Jesus to give you another one, even better :-)
I've been writing songs for 40+ years now, and as far as I can tell, if anybody has stolen one of mine, they haven't been able to make any money off it, either...
Interesting, I'm going to look into that. Songs have been stolen (not mine or by me mind you) and $60 sounds like a pretty good investment if you plan to do it seriously. As for me, I don't think much of the stuff I've written. If someone stole it, I think it could bring down their career.
I don't think I would want to go into the market and make a career of worship music because I would have to compete with Hillsong Church and they write a lot of music and they are the Microsoft of our worship industry. I just want to do it as a hobby.
I'm instead as a career I am going to Uni and studying Computer Science so I can be a programmer which is my other passion.
Hey, thanks man. I'm just learning but I have a song on here. I'm just testing this Songwritter's Circle system. So if it all falls in then I will not continue with it. The song is called "My Jesus", I thought I'd try this before I recorded it so I can get some ideas.
I'm in full agreement with Stevo. Write away, man! Actually, at one time, both Microsoft and Hillsong were one person, or maybe a few friends. But the size and scope isn't even the thing. It's your love for Jesus that you want to share -- that's what's great!