Saturday, 1 March 2008

Music in Worship - the event

Thank you to those who posted on 'What's the one thing you want to say to musicians in worship?' I appreciated your comments and integrated them into the session I took this morning on 'Music in Worship' as part of the CBA Barnabas Weekend.

And it went really well! I used to do music and worship stuff a lot but it's been a long time since I've done one of these sessions and I had such a good time that I'm wondering whether to extend this across the association. We had a larger number than expected who were fun and responsive, sharing good practice and airing frustrations, as well as being open and receptive to what I had to say.

I reminded them that worship has the potential to be hijacked not only by tyrannical organists but by oppressive music groups and they took the point! (They also proffered some remarks about ministers!) Much of it was highly practical, about playing within your competence, keeping things simple, keeping a strong melody, singing sing-able material, providing clear introductions, links, and definite endings. We thought about the need to be predictable as well as looking for ways to 'violate expectation' creatively and productively. I encouraged them to use the full musical pallet that God has given us and not just one colour. And I think I only got on my soap box once when I said, 'If you sing, sing, don't moan and groan.'

What was really well received was John Bell's brilliant 'Ten Golden Rules for enabling the least confident of people to teach new songs to the most cynical of congregations'. I love rule 5 with his comment, 'Always introduce a new song with enthusiasm; never with an apology. To tell a group of people that they ''have'' to learn a new song the that they ''might'' pick it up is as appropriate as a tickling stick at a funeral.'

So a positive experience and one probably worth repeating and developing.

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