Create a seasonal Spotify playlist in your neighborhood

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As a kid in the 80s and 90s, the mixtape was crucial to my upbringing. Before we were married, my husband, bandmate, and best friend made me mixtapes on a regular basis. The tradition continued after we got married (and evolved along with technology) as he made me mix CDs and leave them in my car so I could find them. Nowadays, The new mixtape / mix CD is the Spotify playlistand during the advent season I decided to try it out and made one that goes with our Advent in a Bag (an Advent kit for kids in our community). It was fun putting it together so I made a new one for Lent and now one for Easter.

Playlists have grounded us in season

QR code for the playlist!

In our pandemic strange service area, we are in these playlists. They were a way to connect and create something that will take us through the season together. If nothing else, they helped me center myself in the season. Creating them is fun and cathartic. Just last week Dolly Parton and I had a church in my kitchen when she sang "He Lives" from my Easter playlist while I was making chicken fajitas. Funny how the seasons get a little mixed up on duty. Always preparing in advance gives me more time with each season.

Tips for creating playlists

This is how I create a playlist:

  • Set up Spotify: First of all, you need a Spotify account, which you can get for free or pay a fee and upgrade to a premium account. We have a family account and it's well worth the money both avoiding the ads and having multiple users. (Don't let me start the wars on shared accounts!)
  • Create a playlist: After creating your account, you can launch your playlist by selecting the "Create Playlist" option in your library.
    • Give your playlist a name. I usually use our parish name and time of year.
    • Now you can add songs to your playlist by selecting "Add Songs". This will bring up a search bar for you to enter the songs of your choice.
  • Use Recommended Songs … Sometimes: The Spotify algorithm also suggests tracks based on your playlist track and the tracks you have added. I find this helpful to a point … but it really depends on what you're looking for in a playlist.
    • Because music tastes are so diverse and I want to honor this as much as possible (since I am creating a playlist to be used by everyone in our community), I like to create different playlists. My process takes several weeks to listen to a lot of different pieces of music and curate the playlist from those listening sessions. I take suggestions from Spotify, my own music library, my husband, and even other playlists. I want to make sure I have Taizé, Choral, Acoustic, Country, Rap and Rock, or at least one from each of these categories.
  • Diversify the playlist: I try not to add too many songs by one artist and limit it to one or two of each of my favorites (an exception would be times when a song was recorded by multiple artists).
    • I'm also making a point of finding Songs from different erasbut try to keep the majority of the music fresh by choosing songs from 2018 to 2021.
  • Working from one topic: Find a topic that supports the season and what you are learning together (for Lent it was social justice; for Easter it is hope), then choose songs based on that topic.
  • A note about sequencing: The order of the songs is important (sequencing is a lost art!) But don't spend too much time on it as many of us shuffle our playlists so yours likely won't play out of order anyway. Even so, I intend to open and close songs on my playlists.
    • To edit your playlist in the Spotify mobile app, tap the three dots on the right and select "Edit Playlist". Change the order of your songs by tapping the three lines next to the song you want to move and dragging it to where you want it. In the Spotify desktop app, you can simply click and drag to rearrange your tracks.
  • Customizing: If you'd like to add a custom cover art, you can do so in this section too by selecting the three dots in the top right of the screen at the top of your playlist, selecting "Edit", and then following the instructions on how to change the image. Your picture must be a square as you will not be able to edit it after uploading it. (If you don't want to add a custom picture here, Spotify will use the cover art of your first four songs in the playlist.)
  • Share, share, share !! Now your playlist is complete and all you have to do is share! I do this a couple of ways and Spotify makes it easy! Make your playlist public and use the share button to get a link to your playlist. I also used a QR code when posting to share playlists. I then uploaded the QR image to Canva and created a design for publications.

Enjoy! He is risen!

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