Introducing New Songs

Now that Wednesday is here, I am preparing to meet with members of my praise team tonight to begin working on a new song to introduce to the congregation in the coming weeks. This can often be a challenging rehearsal (especially if you’re not sure who is going to show up). I’m working things out a little differently this time.

I have decided to run with Matt Redman’s Where Would We Be and hope to at least introduce the song this Sunday morning as part of the worship set. I found a link on Redman’s page at myspace.com that I sent to the core vocalists on my team as well as a lyric sheet. (I had not yet discovered the pdf files mentioned in yesterday’s post or I would have sent that instead.) I told them that there was no sheet music available to us at the moment and that we need to find harmonies that will work. The four of us will pull this together around the piano and see where we are – making sure the alto and tenor are confident in their individual parts.

The plan is to grab my keyboardist, drummer, and guitarist separately and give them a look at the lead sheet. Here’s where things get tricky. I think I know what key we will end up in, but there is some flexibility. The song has extremes in the verse and chorus, so we may have to change the key by a ½ step either way. This means that instrumentalists will be learning the song in one key, knowing that they may see it in a different key on Sunday morning.

Once the key is set on Wednesday night, I plan to finalize the lead sheets and send it to the instrumentalists as a pdf in case they need to double check chords or fingerings. If everything goes according to plan (and I’m really hoping it does), I’ll also send an audio file in the correct key to the vocalists.

Now things get really scary. Most of my musicians do not live near the church. I probably have the longest commute – nearly 45 minutes one way. Because of this fact and everyone’s incredibly busy lives, we try to hold rehearsals as needed at the end of our Wednesday evening service. The full band and praise team will put the new song together on Sunday morning. That means if rehearsal goes well on Wednesday night, I have two versions of the worship set ready for the weekend: one that includes the new song, the other without it. I’ll make the final decision when I run through it with the singers that morning.

As you can tell, rehearsals are tough in these parts. We see the necessity of having them (obviously), but we struggle to find a time where we can all get together at once. This fact is leading me to explore technological options to bring virtual rehearsals into practice for my local team.

What do you do when you need to introduce a new song to your team? What does your process look like? Has anyone already tried using technology in your rehearsal process? How did it work for you? I’m definitely looking for ideas on this one.

Hope you all have a great midweek rehearsal for your choirs, praise team, and other ensembles tonight.

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