June 28, 2017

Effective Ways to Introduce New Songs Every Sunday

Effective Ways to Introduce New Songs Every Sunday


We pastoral musicians are seemingly “under the gun” at all times. We are in a pastoral position to innovate and present new songs for Divine Worship. There are ways to make this happen that will make our challenge less strenuous, and keep our focus where our focus should be: on serving the Lord and the people of God. We can do that through preparation, positivity and prayer!

Prepare one month at a time

It would be to our own advantage and to those whom we serve, if we PREPARE the liturgies one month at a time. We all know we can’t plan for what will happen during liturgy, but if we prepare, and most especially choose the music we will offer for the upcoming month, then we will take pressure off ourselves and allow more time for all of those involved in the music ensemble or choir to get a look and listen to charts and recordings BEFORE the weekend liturgy. This sounds like a romantic notion: choosing all of the music and songs a month ahead of time… But why not!? If the liturgy is the source and summit of the Christian life, then let us make it more of a priority. Some of you no doubt will already be doing this; kudos to you! But the next practical step is to make use of what is available to you through OCP’s new Spirit & Psalm resource. There are wonderful charts and professional (and accurate) recordings that you can make use of.

Suggestions to help you introduce new songs every Sunday

Step 1: Two weeks prior to using a psalm setting, play the recording as a call to worship for your choir rehearsal. Have everyone gather, make the sign of the cross and hit play on your CD player. Let it gather the choir and instrumentalists without saying a thing. Then say a prayer and proceed with rehearsal.

Step 2: The following week, one week before you use the new psalm, do a simple sing through of “next week’s psalm” as an exercise in sight singing. No “banging out notes” on the piano… just sing it!

Step 3: On the week that you are singing that psalm setting, you will have heard it two weeks earlier, sight read it the previous week, and now you can actually spend a few minutes prepping your singers and instrumentalists with THAT week’s psalm. Make this a pattern and your new and fresh psalm settings will come easier to everyone!

Stay positive and pray

All of us can get negative and miss the silver lining in life’s daily challenges. Keep it positive, and if you are having a tough week, try to keep it humorous! Our attitude affects everything we do; and everyone around us. Make a conscious decision to put on Christ, of course during times of pastoral ministry, but really at all times!

Lastly, we need to be people of prayer. Start your day with prayer, start rehearsal with prayer and pray your ministry! If we are prayerful, positive and more familiar with our music, we will be MORE authentic and joyful in ministry, and more effective in our pastoral service! What a gift this call to music ministry is! It might even be one of the ways the good Lord is calling us to conversion. So prepare, be positive and pray! Your music and Christian life may depend on it!

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Tom Booth

Tom Booth

An incredibly gifted composer and musician, Tom Booth has written countless songs for prayer, worship, liturgy and personal reflection. He has composed and performed songs for Mother Teresa and Pope Saint John Paul II. He brings his powerful performing style to concerts, parish missions, conferences and youth events, mixing story, song and prayer to create unforgettable experiences for audiences around the world.

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