In our culture, “dead air” is distracting. A klutzy transition takes the focus off the worship and puts the attention on us and what we’re doing.
But a good transition will move people along a journey from one worship element to the next. It helps them keep the focus on worshiping God, not gawking at a failed segue.
The bottom line is this: Good segues = good stewardship.
I want to make the most of the time I’m given to lead worship. Why waste it with a lousy transition? So here’s some suggestions to help with your song transitions..
1. Remove It Before The Song Ends
Take your capo off towards the end of the song during a section where you can afford to stop playing for a couple beats. Then finish the song using original key chords. You may need to use barre chords, but a hand-cramp is worth a smooth transition.
2. Add It Before the Song Ends
If you need to add or move your capo for the next song—but you want to play a musical transition into it—look for a place at the end of the previous song to make the capo change. Then play barre chords above the capo to finish it out.
3. Quick Access
Put your capo on the nut of the guitar so you can more quickly move it into play. Just make sure it doesn’t push on the strings on either side of the nut, making them go sharp or muting them.
4. Have Another Instrument Start the Next Song
Even a simple four-count from the drummer is enough time to switch the old Keyser.
Put in a short, related scripture that leads to the next song. Consider having another vocalist read it.
Have keys fade in a synth pad, or the electric guitarist swell in some ambient pads, or even fade in a recorded pad from padloops.com.
Do a very brief verbal transition into the next song. Script out what you’re going to say and PRACTICE IT.
8. Planned Prayer
If you do decide a prayer is a fitting transition, plan that out, too. Ask yourself, “What will be meaningful to pray at that moment?” When we “wing it” while reaching for the capo, we tend to just regurgitate generic praises and phrases. So don’t be afraid to plan your prayer.
There are definitely more ideas we could dig into, but the key is this: be intentional and keep it simple.
Remember, it’s about leading people along a journey of worship—not inviting them to watch us change our capo.
Question: What are some ways you make great segues?
Jon Nicol is a worship pastor in Lexington, Ohio. He trains and coaches worship leaders and teams through WorshipTeamCoach.com. For more on making intentional transitions in worship, check out his newest resource, Worship Flow: 28 Ways to Create Great Segues.