Nine Key Components to Introduce a New Song, Part 6
By Jon Nicol
We've been discussing "gift-giving" as a metaphor for introducing a new song. If you haven't read the previous posts in this series, you can find them on the "Planning Songs" resource page. Today we wrap up this series with number nine.
9. The Expectation of Enjoyment
After worshipers “open” and “sample” the song, you want them to have a desire to sing it again. Some songs scream to be revisited. Think back to songs like Mighty to Save and the Revelation Song. They were likely “must-repeats” after you sang them first time.
But most songs won’t have as deep of an initial impact. But it doesn’t mean people didn’t enjoy them or don’t want to sing them again. In a lot of cases, the expectation of enjoyment won’t occur until they’ve “sampled” the song several times. Remember, people warm-up to songs at different rates.
This last "component" of this process really depends on how well we did on the first eight parts. Let me summarize with a few questions:
Did you select and prepare a good song that fits your congregation?
And did you decided on a form/arrangement that fits your church and culture, not what some producer deemed great for radio, or another church thought was right for their congregation.
Did you wrap it as excellently as you can with musicianship that makes the contents even more inviting?
Did you spend a few weeks building anticipation by using the song during the pre-service, for specials or in some other intentional way? And the big one: Was your team excited to do this song? Their anticipation and excitement can be contagious.
Did you intentionally present it well the first time your congregation was invited to participate? Maybe even taking time to explain “why this song” and how it fits in your hymnody, and even teaching parts of it before you sing it through.
And did present it well? If we spring new songs on people cold with no work to preview or build anticipation, it’s not going to be as welcomed. Or readily welcomed again.
Did you leave them wanting more? Remember the box of chocolates? At this point, when the congregation is “opening” and “sampling” it, we can’t let the song overstay it’s welcome or try to make them love it. Several repeated samplings that leave them wanting more is better than one Sunday of force-feeding.
That’s really what’s going to create an expectation of enjoyment – several positive experiences as they get to know the song. That will require repeating the song for several Sundays to allow people to connect.
And one final question that we didn't touch on with this gift-metaphor. But it goes along with creating a positive experience:
Where did you place the song during these first few samplings? If possible, I try to sandwich the song in between two well loved/well-known songs. One, it helps people to stay engaged. And two, it just might help people connect with song if they associate it with great tunes they already love.
This whole process of introducing a new song may seem long, but the time and intentionality is worth it. And it really should be part of a bigger system of managing your songs, old and new. If you need a resource to help you do that, the SongCycle system (see webinar & brief ebook - both free) can help give you the structure to manage your songs well.
Question: What are some ways that you help build the "expectation of enjoyment" with your congregation? What's effective for getting them to want to sing the song again?
December 17, 2012Tweet