The New Hymnal

With the current technology we have, it has made music much more accessible to a larger group of people. By simply buying a computer and an audio interface you can record your own songs and upload them online for the world to hear and listen to. With an ever increasing amount of songs being published, how can you let people know what you listen to? And as this applies to a church, how can a congregation know what songs we sing?

Previous generations had these books compiled called hymnals. Within the hymnal was the collection of songs the congregation would sing. You could walk into a church and know many of the songs because they used the same hymnal that you were used to. People could even take one of these hymnals home to learn the music themselves or sing them with their families. This was one of the things my parents did with me as I was growing up, and as I became more competent with piano I even got to lead some of the songs we sang together. These hymnals worked really well when people knew how to read music and could hammer out the song on piano, but my experience with my generation is that many of them can’t read sheet music. Even those who can play guitar or drums do it by chords instead of sheet music so a hymnal wouldn’t work for them.

We now have access to thousands of songs at the click of a button. Services like iTunes, Amazon Music, Pandora and Spotify have made it easier to find any kind of music you like. And as the number of people with smartphones grows, the potential for people to access this overabundance of music grows. So how can people listen to the songs your church sings and get to know them well enough to teach them to their kids? One idea I’ve implemented is what I’m calling my new hymnal: a Spotify playlist. Spotify is a free service that allows you to access thousands of songs. I’ve created a playlist and posted it to our church website. One of the reasons I chose Spotify is because it’s easy to add or remove songs even after you’ve published a link to your playlist.

I got to go to a different church than I attend during Christmas break and of all the songs we sung, I knew 1. With all the music that is being released regularly it’s often hard to move from church to church and quickly pick up the songs they sing. I’m hoping this playlist will allow more people to know the songs before they even walk through our doors.

Does anyone else have any ideas on how you can teach your congregation new songs or the current repertoire of songs you do sing?

To see my playlist see my previous post.

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

-Deuteronomy 6:7

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