I want to teach my congregation a new song. How should I go about it?
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Introduce the song. What do you know about it? Is there a story behind it? Why are you bringing it out?
2. Have everyone sing the melody together. Before you go through it the first time, make note of (or sing for them) any difficult lines with unusual jumps or accidentals so they can be prepared.
3. Consider adding in different parts one part at a time. This will help both solidify the melody and make it easier for each part to hear its own line.
4. Spend time looking at the text; take time to mine the riches in the lyrics.
5. One thing you could consider is having a “Song of the Month.” Pick one song each month to print off and put in the racks, then spend time with it. Teach the new music, study the text, tell the story behind the song, give the background information on the poet and composer, look at what led them to write the piece.
6. During the month then, sing the song at least once every Sunday so it becomes more familiar. Sometimes we hear a new song and immediately enjoy and appreciate it. But most of the time, we need repeated exposure to new hymns before we begin to see the riches in the text and truly enjoy the music.