Practical Stuff for Practicing Our Stuff: Standard Song Forms
The problem with some of us worship leaders (read:me) is that we use our artistic/free spirits as an excuse to “just flow with it.” Sometimes we’ll even say we’re moved by the Spirit. I’m all for moving with the Holy Spirit. But often, said “spirit” is my own unprepared meandering. If you’ve got those tendencies, too, I’m going to tell you a secret: it drives other people nuts. Especially our more “structured” brothers and sisters. (I know, I don’t really get left-brain people either, but it’s good that God made them. I mean, imagine tax season without them).
So one of the ways we make life easier for everyone is to adopt a standard arrangement for each song we do. Find a workable form and stick with it (more often than not). It frees you up as the leader to NOT reinvent the song every time you play it, and it takes the guesswork out of it for your players. Bottom line: less time spent in practice and rehearsals.
Each song in my team’s repertoire has lyric sheet. And each lyric sheet has a text box with the order of the song (listed vertically, because it’s easy to visualize the song, IMO). For example, the song form for “I Will Follow” looks like this:
Intro 1 ( ½ ch, sung)
As a recovering “fly-by-the-seat–of-my-pants-oholic”, I am finding the preset structure somewhat liberating, believe it or not. Each week as I prepare, I create a rehearsal sheet (more on that in another article) and simply refer to the standard form. And when I do make intentional changes, it’s easier to communicate, because we’re all starting from the same place: our stock form. Those unplanned left turns still occur. Sometimes they’re Spirit led; other times, just my ADD. But since I don’t do it all the time, my team has grace for me.
Even those left-brainers.