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November 23, 2011


Improving Your Projected Song Lyrics – Part 2

by Kenny Lamm

Displaying song lyrics in worship with excellence is an often overlooked area of preparation, yet one that can really enhance our worship times. Conversely, poor slide production and operation of the lyric display can greatly hamper worship.

Today, I will continue the series (check out part one here) as we look at some additional considerations.

One of my pet peeves with lyric projection is that of misspelled words, repeated words, bad punctuation, and other such small errors. For many in your congregation, this will be a major distraction.

For example:

Many may overlook the above typo, but others will be greatly distracted (probably the difference in your good and bad spellers!)

Here’s the corrected version:

Here’s another bad example. There are two errors here:

The apostrophe is in the wrong place, and a word is repeated. Here’s the corrected slide:

None of these particular errors is picked up by spell check. Don’t be embarrassed to ask someone else to take a look at your slide shows to make sure everything is as it should be.

Another issue is that of title slides. Why, oh why, does anyone want to display a huge slide with the title of the song in the middle of a worship service? It makes me feel much like I’m experiencing a commercial in the middle of a good movie–not a good thing. Here is an example that some would use at the beginning of the song. At least it does legally display the copyright notice.

It would be much less distracting in worship to merely begin the song with the first lines and include the proper copyright notice on that slide:

If you aren’t familiar with the proper display of copyright notices, that is VERY important for you legally as well as aesthetically. (Check out the proper display information here.)

One final thing for this post is the use of all caps. For some reason, many like to use all caps in their lyrics displays:


Just to make sure I have been perfectly clear, when it comes to typos, bad punctuation, repeated words, using title slides, or all caps, remember two words: Stop it!

Perhaps Bob Newhart can assist me in getting the point across:

Next week, I will address additional issues. I welcome your comments.

Go to: Improving Your Projected Song Lyrics – Part 3

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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Gary Presley
    May 17 2012

    I know that this is an old article, but I will vehemently defend and justify a Title slide. The rest of your points (pt 1 and 2) are very valid. I will add line spacing, as we have not thought of doing that.

    The “real estate” of the screen is too valuable to take up space for a title and the copyright.. And I feel the copyright should be readable. Not to the point of using the same font as the lyrics, but a size that would be readable by someone with average vision.

    None of the above can be occomplished by including the title and/or copyright with the lyrics. As soon as our software afforded us the option of a title slide, I jumped on it.

    Regarding a CCLI # for a “public domain” song… Keep in mind that if you download a song from CCLI, and it has a CCLI number, you must display it. The fact that it has a CCLI number means that the Author has changed the song in some way, and you are displaying their version.


    • May 24 2012

      Thanks for your comments. Just to clarify, you do NOT have to give any copyright notice to public domain songs. If you are using an arrangement that has been altered from the original public domain version, that arrangement would be copyrighted, then you would need to give that copyright information as well as your license number. If their is no copyright attached to the song you are using and it is in public domain, nothing needs to be shown concerning copyright.

  2. Paul
    May 12 2012

    finally someone who agrees with me. Wonderful post and keep it up.

  3. Dec 8 2011

    That’s a good point on also including the song title wherever the copyright notice is posted.

    If the notice is at the end and the title is at the beginning, you would hope everyone remembers the title of song they saw at the beginning, but I agree it is important to fulfill the technical requirements of the CCLI license. “Substantially” is the word CCLI uses in the requirement, so there is some wiggle room.

    Of course, if it’s a public domain song, CCLI has no oversight on the matter, but it’s still good to be consistent with the prevailing format.

    I always laugh when I see a public domain song like “Amazing Grace” credited with “All rights reserved. Used by permission. CCLI#etc.”

  4. Nov 23 2011

    I meant to add, a good reason for putting the copyright information at the end of the song rather than the beginning is that it can serve as a cue for whoever is next in the order of service that the song is about to end. My Youth Director knows approximately when to approach the platform to make announcements, offering collection ushers know when to stop singing the hymn and proceed to their spots, and so forth.

    • Nov 23 2011

      Nice thought–I like that. In case anyone is wondering, by law, you can certainly place the copyright notice on slides other than the first.

  5. Nov 23 2011

    I’ve never understood why people create separate slides for song titles. Download from Lifeway Worship’s site, and that’s what you’ll get.

    I do think the song title should be included, though. I put it at the top of the first verse using a larger font or an underline to set it apart. Since some of our songs come from the pew hymnal, I also include the hymnbook number in that top line.

    To avoid crowding the first slide with too much information that doesn’t pertain to the singing of the song, I put the copyright information at the bottom of the last slide…or “Public Domain” if that’s the case.

    • Nov 23 2011

      I include the song title with the copyright notice as specified by CCLI. Of course that makes it rather small if you do want people to know the title. I love LifeWayWorship Powerpoint slides for simplicity’s sake, but I always cut the copyright info from the title slide to display on the lyrics slides in a small font (see this post), then delete the title slide. Thanks for your comments!


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