Teaching new songs is immensely easier than you imagined!

How encouraging to receive this message from a teenage song leader who used our simple 3-step method to introduce new songs to his church.  Here is his message:

Hi! My name is _______ and I am 16 and attend the _______ church in Oklahoma. I got the chance to meet you at the Red River Family Encampment. I just wanted to tell you that this past Sunday I got the chance to teach my congregation the song “All to Us” and it was a big hit! I used the three step process and I got many compliments on how easy it was to learn the song and how great the song sounded. There are about 250 people that go to my church and it seemed like everyone loved it! Even the older people commented about how nice it was to learn a new song and how refreshing it was. Thank you so much for inspiring me and teaching people about the 3 step process. It really helps the congregation learn a new song without taking a long time! Thanks for all you are doing to keep inspiring and teaching our songleaders!

We believe that teaching new songs is vital for healthy church growth and worship renewal.  Yet many churches either neglect its importance or go about the process in a troublesome manner.  This simple three-step process works amazingly well.  This method is designed to work for everyone, including people with no musical background. Also, it takes very little time to achieve astounding results and is very easy to implement.

NOTE: Perhaps the most important reason for its success is that it requires the use of multiple senses, using sight-reading as well as ear-training.

If you want to introduce beginners to sing harmony for the first time, the best results come by having people sit in sections by the voice parts of bass, tenor, alto, and soprano. Most people will not know which part to sing, so it’s important to give them a simple, binary choice of singing high or low, and to show them where their part is on the musical staff.  Above all, make the process fun!

Before beginning your class or gathering, it can be helpful to:

A.) Project a slide with a seating chart of the four sections visualized, identifying where to sit;

B.) Have volunteers hold signs in front of each of the four sections and

C.) Provide experienced ushers to direct people to the sections of higher or lower voices. Assure them they can swap sections if the part seems too high or too low for their individual comfort. Again, make the process of learning new songs a joyful process for all ages.

Introduce the 3 step method and explain why it is effective.

Step One: Use the Training CD or Training DVD to play the song and ask them to LISTEN ONLY. Listen actively. Listen proactively. Challenge them to use their vision and their hearing to identify their parts (showing beginners how to find soprano and alto above the lyrics; tenor and bass below the lyrics.)

The easiest way to handle step one is to project the Praise & Harmony Training Disc DVD, on the Training Disc setting from the menu. The DVD will project the lyrics and notation while playing the audio of only four voices singing the parts.  If you don’t have the DVD, you can use the Training CD which comes packaged with every Praise & Harmony CD package, but you will need to supplement the audio of the CD with either printed sheet music provided for every participant or project powerpoint slides simultaneously while playing the audio of the Training CD. It is not required but can be helpful to set up your audio speakers in stereo, because all of the Praise And Harmony “Training DVDs and Training CDs” isolate the high voices in the left speaker and the low voices in the right speaker, making it easier to hear the various parts.

Step Two: Invite everyone to sing along softy while playing the training disc DVD or CD. Emphasize that they not sing very loudly, or they risk learning it incorrectly, which makes it extremely time-consuming and difficult to “unlearn” the first impression of singing it incorrectly.  Make sure the audio is turned up high to dominate the people singing along so that the emphasis is placed on accurately hearing the parts for the second time.

Step Three:  Take off the “training wheels” and let them sing the song on their own. No audio is played. Either use the powerpoint slides of the song’s music notation or printed sheet music for everyone.

The results are usually stunning!  Even highly educated musicians constantly share their amazement in discovering how beginners can accurately sing a new song so well in just three simple steps.

Don’t rush the process. Encourage everyone to actively listen quietly the first time through (Step One). Make sure you have tested the audio and projection so that everything is working (hearing all four parts) before you start the class.

Since we believe in the axiom, “repetition is the key to learning,” the results will be multiplied if every family in your church uses the training CD on a daily basis to review and memorize their newly learned part. Encourage them to listen during their commutes to work, school or at home. In this way, every member of your church becomes “the choir” and you will quickly expand your repertoire of worship songs.

Assign homework by encouraging everyone to use the P&H training CDs daily to learn how to sing harmony.  Remind them that the Training Disc is the SECOND CD that comes in every P&H package; (the CD that features only four isolated voices on all 25 songs, NOT the CD that features hundreds of singers.)

Praise & Harmony Vocalist Training Disc

The P&H Training DVDs contain 25 songs on each disc and are ideal for group learning, classes, churches or even in living rooms.

Praise & Harmony Training DVDs, individual CDs, Powerpoint Musical Notation Worship Slides and sheet music are all available at the Acappella Store.

Please leave a comment and let us know how this works for you.

When you are ready to take giant steps in improving your worship, sponsor your gifted leaders to attend the Worship Leader Institute.



1 Response
  1. Keith Lancaster

    We’d love to hear your experiences. Although we recommend using the 3-Step approach outside of Sunday morning assemblies, (for example, during a Sunday school class, a special gathering, etc.), we are aware of some churches who are using the training materials to play new songs before their services begin, as well as finding unique ways to incorporate during their worship times to seamlessly support their daily worship theme and introduce new songs (without sitting in sections.)