Andy Lee with ideas for creating a smooth flow.
As a worship leader, leading within a song is a given… But what about the in-between?
Transitions are a great way to help create a seamless time of worship and reduce potential awkwardness between songs. The truth is that we practice and plan so much when it comes to our songs that we sometimes neglect how to connect them. Playing all the songs in the same key isn’t always enough to create a smooth flow. So here are some useful techniques I’ve learned over the years through both the easy way (learning from others) and the hard way (learning from your own mistakes).
1) New Intros – Not all songs have to have a concrete finish in order for the next song start. Feel free to use the band creatively and maybe even write up fresh new segues/intros to connect songs. For example, a song that normally starts abruptly with a loud intro can be redone by easing in with a guitar line that imitates the melody line. Use the music! You could fade in some pads (cue the guitarists or keyboardist for some verby swells), chord progressions from the previous chorus or bridge, or maybe sing one last chorus repeat if the Spirit leads. Even loops are a great lead-in and can also carry much of the burden of “how to start the next song.”
2) Talking – It’s good to engage with people in the middle of the set! Welcome them, talk to them, lead them. It’s also a great way to introduce the next song (maybe it’s a new one). At my church I try to do this with vocabulary that isn’t so “Christianese” so that newcomers or nonbelievers can feel more comfortable. Try sharing between songs something God revealed to you regarding the next/previous song, scripture that inspired the songwriter(s), or even a funny story that can put things into perspective. But it’s important to do this as simple and seldom as possible… After all, we’re using these transitions to help make our worship smoother, not interrupt it. So I like to talk once before everything begins, or before a fast song to help get the congregation ready! This can even be a quick invitation, especially if the click/loop for the next song’s already started. And if you’re worried about uncomfortable silence during your spiel, you could have a go-to chord progression so that the band lightly supports in the background.