Introducing the song
Remember that the introduction to a song is not a break from the service. The intro should set the emotional tone and tempo for the song.
What’s the context?
- What’s the story of the songwriter? What about the community or the times in which they wrote it?
- Is there anything you can add about the original intention of the song?
- How did the song come to you?
- What does it mean for you or for Unitarian Universalism?
- How does it support the theme of this particular service?
Teaching the Song
- Practice! Do they need to hear it one line at a time? Will they remember the words or should the lyrics be printed?
- Do you need to sing it through once on your own before or after teaching it?
- Would it help to have the choir sing it earlier in the service or to have played the melody as an instrumental?
- Be very clear about when you want the congregation to sing and when they should just listen. Convey your intention with eye contact and gestures.
Give Clear Directions
- In communities where there isn’t a clear culture about the rules of congregational singing or when you’re stepping away from the cultural norms, give clear directions.
- People sing well when they sing with confidence.
- Ask for the specific volume you want.
- Tell them the arrangement in advance if that will be helpful.
- Smile at the congregation, make eye contact, and be invitational.