Worship Band Builder Podcast

Easy Ways to Create Seamless Transitions in Worship - Episode 21

July 14, 2020 Eric Michael Roberts
Worship Band Builder Podcast
Easy Ways to Create Seamless Transitions in Worship - Episode 21
Chapters
Worship Band Builder Podcast
Easy Ways to Create Seamless Transitions in Worship - Episode 21
Jul 14, 2020
Eric Michael Roberts
  1. Probably the most overlooked element of a setlist. How do you get smoothly from one song to the next
  2. Instrumentally shifting the key
  3. Pray. What should you say?
  4. Read a scripture.
  5. Prepare your transitions and practice as needed.


Show Notes Transcript
  1. Probably the most overlooked element of a setlist. How do you get smoothly from one song to the next
  2. Instrumentally shifting the key
  3. Pray. What should you say?
  4. Read a scripture.
  5. Prepare your transitions and practice as needed.


Support the show (https://worshiptheking.com/partner/)

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to the worship band bowler podcast, where we are working with you to lay the foundations for skillful worship. I'm Eric Roberts and I'm joined by my cohost extraordinary and beautiful, lovely person. Emily Roberts. Thank you, DIA. You had two kinds and she was just making fun of me this whole time, because I left a water bottle sitting in the corner of episode 20, just a little water bottle cap right there on the video. So for you guys out there, it's like where's Waldo. Find the water bottle in our episode. It shouldn't be too difficult. No, it's right in the frame right up front. Now I could cut it out. No, maybe I should edit it with like a little monkey on top of it or something sitting there or like a little emoji face that comes out every once in a bit and laughs at us. Okay. Okay. It could be perched on the little bird chirping

Speaker 2:

That yeah, something really sure. Wow.

Speaker 1:

Check episode 20 and see what I did. I might just put, um, some anyway, I'm not gonna tell you what I'm gonna do. It'll be S prize. Yeah. And you know, it's all of us to all of us, even to me, I'm, I'm sitting here right now. I'm thinking of all the things I could do that would get me in trouble on the little water bottle cap and how I can't even say them. And, and that's, that's, that's, that's what I usually do. And if when I was in staff meeting, I would just sit there and think of all the things that I could say that would get me fired. And then I wouldn't say him

Speaker 2:

Well, I'm glad you stopped yourself.

Speaker 1:

Who sits in staff, meeting at their church and thinks about all of the things that they want to say and think what, Oh no, that might get me fired.

Speaker 2:

Well, they said plenty of things in your staff meetings, from what you told me that should not have been said,

Speaker 1:

It could, that could get anybody fired. God's going to fire us all. Say like, I hear your staff meeting. Remember God is in staff meetings. Excellent point. And it has nothing to do with transitioning. But if I were I'm sitting here trying to transition, I'm trying to transition into the topic, but I cannot think because it did not plan I had for the transition.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that is a good transition because planning is key to transitions and it transitions are the most overlooked element of any worship service in my opinion.

Speaker 1:

And that is what episode 21 is about transitions

Speaker 2:

Transitions. So what do we mean by transition?

Speaker 1:

I think what you're trying to say is get from one song to the next smoothly.

Speaker 2:

Did I write that on the paper? Cause that sounds like that's something.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I think he wrote that on there. I saw on there when I looked down,

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes. Moving one song to the next smoothly. We don't have to, uh, have these awkward pauses, you know?

Speaker 1:

And you notice how you didn't even know that I looked down and read it and I did and I transitioned saying it and you, even though you wrote it, weren't even sure. Atlas, so Smith smooth. And that's what I'm doing. I'm looking at my paper and thinking what's coming, what's the transition what's going to happen because I've planned all that out. So when it looks like a mr. Smooth operator worship leader, it's cause I've been planning.

Speaker 2:

Yes. Okay. So Eric, not to brag, but he is the King of transitions. He's very good at transitioning between songs.

Speaker 1:

She said that I feel so good about that.

Speaker 2:

So let's talk about what do we do when the first song that we play is in a different key than the second song we want to play. How are we going to move smoothly from the first song to the second?

Speaker 1:

Well, is it 1996 or is it 2020?

Speaker 2:

Why are you asking? I'm pretty sure everyone knows what year,

Speaker 1:

If it's 1996, what you're going to do is you're going to take, like, from the key of D to the key of G you're going to find the five, seven of the key of G and you're going to play that five, seven chord and you're going to like make about eight bars of buildup and then that's going to pull you into the key of G that's what you're going to do if it's okay.

Speaker 2:

Okay. Okay. And why has that become an outdated,

Speaker 1:

Outdated to me? I haven't done it in the last 15 years and I don't think many people do unless, uh, but basically when you want to get from key to key, you can do two things. You can, well, there's a lot of things you can do. But two main things you can do is you can use a common chord in those two keys. So going from D to G is really easy because they share so many, they share so many chords. So the G chord is the one in G, but it's also the four and D. So you could be playing a G chord and it's like, it's in both keys. You know what I mean? And so you can use like light chords, shared chords to sort of transition, or you can do, like from 1996, you can play the five, seven out of nowhere of the key that you're trying to get to the five, seven chord is the dominant chord. And it will pull you into that new key from

Speaker 2:

Leading tone, you're going to take a leading tone. Okay.

Speaker 1:

Basically throwing the leading tone out in the five, seven, the dominant seventh chord of, of any key is going to pull you to that key. So there's ways to get around it. But you can, you you've heard that before. And a lot of Contano does a lot of big productions or orchestras. You'll hear them. They're in a key of like D and then all of a sudden they play, um, like they play the D seven chord and then hold it for a minute. And then the next chord they play is the one in G. And now you're in the key of G so,

Speaker 2:

Okay. But what if our two songs don't have any common chord?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. You can, you can use that, that method. You don't need a common core. Do you just kind of throw in the five, seven, you can kind of wiggle your way into the five seven, but the other thing that you can do, if they're completely weird, like, and you don't want to do the old school dominant pole into the key, you want it to just be normal is what I do is I use other distracting methods to get to the key. Okay. So let's say you're going from like B flat and you're going into the Q D that's not going to share a lot of common chords and it's going to be kind of weird. So I end the song completely in the song and I will start praying it's a distraction method, but I will start praying. And then I will just have the keyboard player start the next song you create space.

Speaker 1:

So I don't think this whole episode is on transitions. Is it, Oh, it's not on music theory of transitions, but that would be a good one to do. Um, but yeah, this, this is shifting the key. My two biggest methods would be use, use, use a common chords use closely related keys. You can learn all about this in our music theory sections in worship band builder, or in our membership or more into music theory. But we're talking about more concepts here. So you can use those closely related keys that share chords. You can kind of mess around, or you can just generally create a break, bring in a distraction and then start the next key.

Speaker 2:

Well, before we get into to the distraction methods, let me just add that one easy way to transition is just by picking two songs that are in the same key and putting them next to each other

Speaker 1:

The easiest way. Absolutely. And if you, if you're lucky enough to have three songs that are all fit in the key of G and that's what I do a lot is just keep playing the key of G and then played the last one in D because that's a very common, closely related key.

Speaker 2:

So let's say we have two songs that are in the same key. You don't have to stop playing at all right. You can just have a couple of measures where there's just strumming potentially you need to change the rhythm of the strum, but you could just move from one song right. To the next.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Yeah. And that's what I do a lot. Just, just keep the same key, keep the same feel. But when you cannot do that, then you have to either shift the key musically. I will tell you doing, doing a musically shifting type key change with a band takes, uh, writing that out, like, okay, we're going to do four bars G and then we're gonna do four bars of G. And then we're going to slow down a little bit when we hit the D chord. And then we're going to change D seven chord, and that's going to pull us into the next key or whatever. And that takes almost like arranging a transition that is musical.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So it requires some skill

Speaker 1:

Harder it's more skill. And it requires the band to think beyond maybe what they heard on the recording. And so it's doable and it's fun, but it's skin also sound out dated if you're not careful. Um, uh, sometimes like another thing that I'll do is once the band stops playing my next chord might be the five, seven of the chord, just so my brain feels the pool. And then I start the next key. It's not like a whole band thing. It's just that somebody is going to play that like five, seven chord of the new key. And then you're going to feel that next key and anything you do and feel they're going to do it. They're going to feel the congregation, the five, seven leading tone, uh, trick is the oldest in the book. Uh, all of the great composers did it in history. We study it. We can do it from any key to any key, pretty much make it sound pretty natural because, um, that's just the way it feels. That's what the leading tone does. Um, so,

Speaker 2:

So you mentioned, uh, the next thing, the, the, what did you call it? The distraction method.

Speaker 1:

I hate to call it that, but that's kind of what

Speaker 2:

It's just, um, it's just a different method to transition. It's not, we're just, we're ending one thing and, and beginning something else. Um, without an awkward moment,

Speaker 1:

Magician is what, uh, what, uh, what, what would an addition do, he would take your eye from one thing to the, to the next, while he's over here, he got your eye he's over here changing or hiding something in his pocket. That's what I meant by distraction. So as they hear me start praying, they're, they're thinking, Oh, we're praying. And then the band is changing keys. They're not listening to that anymore. Or we're going to completely go a different musical direction. So that's sort of like a misdirection or what do they call? That

Speaker 2:

Is what they call it misdirection. But I mean, of course the prayer is still going to be sincere. That's not going to change that. I don't want it. I don't want to make less of what we're doing here, but, um, I do want to say that if you're using prayer as a transition, um, you might even practice that a little bit at home. Just, um, praying something brief in between songs is not the same as just, you know, when you sit down and thank God for dinner, um, that can be on the fly and that can feel really natural, but all of a sudden, when you've got a congregation in front of you and a microphone and you need to get to the next song, cause there's only 15 minutes for worship or whatever it is then, um, you know, that, can that be a panic moment if you're not prepared?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. You said a lot there, you can read a scripture. That's part of our thing here. You should pray and you should read a scripture. Those two kind of go together in this, in this misdirection that you're doing to transition, but it is sincere and that's the thing I've never gone wrong. And I've done a lot of transitions and I, and, and you said I was good at transitions in the beginning or whatever. And I just think that that's because when I get ready to I'm doing this sincerely, I'm the prayer. And the scripture is part of the worship service. I've, I've learned this early on. There are a lot of awkward moments and a lot of awkward moments in worship. And if you prepare ahead of time with a simple scripture, and I would do this back in the day, I would say, okay, Emily, between song three and four, you're going to read this scripture.

Speaker 1:

And I just, you know, write it on your music stand. And then when the song ended, you would just start reading the scripture. And then I would transition the music. And then people like, wow, that's just flowed, but it's, it's never, you're not using this as part of the worship service. It's part of it. It is. And you should practice it. A lot of people I've talked to say, well, I can't pray and play at the same time. I can't pray and play well. That's okay. You don't have to, while you're praying, let somebody else start the next day

Speaker 2:

Or let somebody else pray in. You start the song, whatever.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And you're doing this all altogether. You're doing it all together, uh, to make, to make it flow. But you, you definitely have to prepare this. If you don't prepare. And I've done this a million times where I didn't prepare and I just, I went and wrote my set out and I thought, it'll be fine. We'll go from F to G. And then you get to the end of the song and F and then it's just awkward silence for a minute while I'm changing my [inaudible]. And then I start the next song and it just feels abrupt. It feels like somebody to stomp the brakes on you for a minute, or to like break, check to you. And that's what we're trying to avoid. The flow has to come from you being natural. So as soon as that song's over, you're like, Oh, thank you, God, thank you God, for this time where together, and even echo the last song, like those words are true.

Speaker 1:

Those words are from our heart. We do believe you are XYZ. And, or the other thing you can do is move forward. You can say to the next song coming forward, you can say, God, we know you are a good father. We, you are a good father. Pray about that, cause you're going to sing good father next. So you're, you're looking ahead or looking back and you're bridging them with your conversation. The music is the main conversation that we're all having together. But if you can put the music aside and really just talk to God, that's, that's what I've been doing as a worship leader, just talking to God. And I've been reading the lyrics, read the lyrics. So when you get to that transition, you're like, like this week we did a, how great, how deep the father's love for us. The transition was done on the fly, but I would just talk about the next song, the attributes of God.

Speaker 1:

We were about to sing. I started thinking about those and then I prayed a little bit and we started it. So people want to connect with God. That's the biggest point of this whole point. It's not song, song, song, stop. Okay. That was great. Clap. We did a great song. Let's worship some more, you know, that is just, that's probably what some of you guys are doing. And that's what you mean by that. Some people are just leading worship, like song to song. Like we play the song and we stop. And then we go to the next song and it gets real quiet. And then they start the next song and then they end the song and they're like, okay, the next song is going to be, and I've even seen worship leaders do that. Like now we're going to sing how great is our God? And they just start saying it and then they end it. They're like, wow, amen. Now we're going to sing. And it's just, you have to make this a longer conversation, a flowing transition from song to song. Not necessarily music. Yes. The transitions can be, um, prayer scripture as you've written, shifting keys. I think that's the key of this, of this transition. It's more of a conversation through your set list,

Speaker 2:

Conversation through the set list. I like that. Yeah. So if we're going to choose a scripture, um, how do we pick?

Speaker 1:

Hmm, well, you pick, pick good scriptures that you like and don't stay out of Leviticus.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

Don't go. Just go to Psalms. Find the song that you sing a good, good father, and you go read a few scriptures and find, you know, go to the source, go cheat, go to Google type in. Good. God, God is good. You know, just prepare, you know, prepare the scripture and let the scripture bridge the song. Let the scripture be a part of, um, what you, how you connect. I, I always look for inspiration and in the scripture, for me, I'm not thinking about those people, uh, the congregation I'm thinking about me and God. And I think that's part, part of the worship leading experience is I'm thinking about my relationship, the scriptures I'm reading or I'm thinking about. And then I'm having a conversation with God through this, a worship service.

Speaker 2:

And I think as we're talking about this is, this is just coming to my mind that any worship service could and probably should include all three of these instrumental transitions, a prayer transition, a scripture transition. It doesn't, you don't have to have all of those. But, um, I guess what I want to say is, um, let's not separate each song with a prayer every time or, or put a scripture in between each song, unless there's a special reason that you're, that if there's a, if there's a way that you're connecting all of those, and this is a special service that you're doing something neat with that cool. But

Speaker 1:

People will catch on that is not miss miss. That's not slight of hand.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. That that'll be like, when, when my son does a magic trick for me and he says, okay, close your eyes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. You're right.

Speaker 2:

Best magic shakes are when you have to close your eyes for the magic to happen.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. You gotta, you gotta mix it up and you gotta be, you gotta be natural for you. So if there is a musical transition available and it's easy to take it, I would almost always take a musical transition. Um, and then I would next I would take a scripture transition or a prayer. And when I do prayer transitions, they're not really, um, prayer transitions, they're just conversations.

Speaker 2:

And they need to be brief, very brief.

Speaker 1:

Yes. Brief transitions. Um, I don't like when worship leaders talk for like five minutes between songs and I, unless you really, really have something to say, I've seen worship leaders give sermons between songs. And I'm like, and I'm thinking like, isn't the pastor pretend day.

Speaker 2:

So true. I have felt just like,

Speaker 1:

Like you preaching a sermon before the sermon, there

Speaker 2:

Is always an exception to the rule, but generally speaking, the transitions need to be very brief. It should just be a one or two sentence prayer, a short scripture. The idea is to move smoothly to the next.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I think the thing that you need to take from this episode is it's a conversation that raps that goes through your set and, and ministers to people and gets them along with you, gets them going with you. I'm trying to think if you're out there right now and you're thinking, man, my church is totally into it. Like I've been doing five minute sermons between my songs for the last three or four years. People like, amen. Like it's a shout down between every song then let me know. Cause I just want to know. I think there, I think I've, I've seen it work like that. So,

Speaker 2:

But if we can make the worship service so that it is one continuous element of the service so that, so that it is not broken into pieces, it's not, it's not three songs and a prayer and a scripture. It is all one unified worship experience. That's really the goal.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And really think about creatively. I think there's a whole nother episode on this, on this sort of, um, changing by shifting keys and using different, um, miss, miss, uh, what does, um, what does it call misdirection? Um, it can be done with anything. I don't want to go back to it, but like the bass guitar player is the perfect misdirection. You, he plays a note or the low end on a Pat on a keyboard plays that real low note in the, in the coming key while you're praying, it just pulls us all into that key. So there are so many ways to do this. If you think of it as a sort of magic trick between songs, what can I do? That's just different. What can I do to get their mind into a different mood? And what can I do that makes it feel so comfortable to me that I am going to flow. And if it's not comfortable to you as the worship leader, it's not going to work.

Speaker 2:

This is really an opportunity to be creative. Some of you may have never even thought about transitioning between the songs. If, if this is not your primary vocation, then this may be a whole new idea for you. And it's an opportunity to be creative and to make something beautiful, um, to, to add another level of, of, um, excellent to your worship.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And practice, she said, prepare them in advance and practice them alone so that you feel like they are natural and then be yourself on stage. I, I have often used at this very last thing that we're about to end this episode, but I've often used my own goofy personality to transition my own self, my own thoughts, because people want to connect with you as a person as well. When they're in the worship service, it's not a big show where you're in charge of this big show. But if you have something to say, if you have, it can be funny, it can just be an observation. It can be about the weather. Anything that eases people's mind not saying that you should say that between song three and four, there's a time and a place where things, but, um, you know, you, you just have to be comfortable on stage being yourself. And I think as a worship leader, that's part of what I do. I just be myself, even if it's goofy or even if it looks like, Oh, the guy just messed up or what is he talking about? That's kind of funny. People are going to relate to you and the spirit of you being their pastor or their worship leader. So you just be real and don't try, please. Don't try to perform your way through a worship set and make it all perfect. Cause then you're just going to look like a goofball.

Speaker 2:

Well, it becomes stiff and um, just kinda stale if it feels over rehearse.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Because you can put all of these really serious, like transition technical theory, things in place and look great and polished, but I've, I've seen worship leaders literally just talk about their, their son or talk about the weather in between a song and just relate it real quick to how God blessed them that day. And it's like, Oh yeah, that guy's real. You know, if you try too hard oftentimes in life as well, it just becomes like, Oh guys, guy's trying way too hard. So just be yourself because that's all, you really have to be just be prepared as yourself. Be prepared yourself. All right. If you want to know more about all of these topics, go to worship band builder.com, make sure you like this video is very important to me. It really blesses me. And if you like the video, then enough, then I don't know what will happen. YouTube will send me some kind of letter saying somebody they'll send me flowers. If you like this video, they will send me roses. I've heard. That would happen. At least she says it will happen. And then visit us at [inaudible] dot com for more podcasts, more courses on becoming a worship leader, being a better worship leader and you know, just wanting to take the next step

Speaker 2:

And let us know too. If you have some other suggestions for transitions, something that has worked really well for you in the past or, or that you're currently using that has, um, really been a win at your church. I would love to know about that.

Speaker 1:

You know, and I, and I will say this, I'm going to do this episode because these are rolling into my mind. You know what the best transition is like the best transition, literally go from any key to any key. It won't even matter is just have the drummer start playing the drum beat. I use that all the time. It's like we end the next song. And then while I'm talking like, Hey man, you know, the drum just comes at boom, boom, boom. Then the bass player, it doesn't matter what key

Speaker 2:

Dramatic transition that always gets people feeling like something is coming. This is cool.

Speaker 1:

It is unrelated to key. So you can transition from if you're looking at two songs and they're like, man, these are just the so far opposite. There's no key. It just going to be weird going from this key to this key, forget it. It's going to easy. All you gotta do is just have the drummer or the conga player or the shaker player, even chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken. And you're like, alright, everybody clap. And they're going to forget the key. So that is another, we're going to do a whole episode on the Ninja transition techniques. So just, I know just subscribe. We'll see you next time. [inaudible].