"Special" Music???

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Rev. G, Oct 3, 2002.

  1. Rev. G

    Rev. G
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2002
    Messages:
    1,635
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why do some churches have a time for "special" music, and what makes it any more "special" than the people of God joining their voices together, as one, to praise the Almighty? Do we have any warrant for "special" music in the Scriptures?

    Rev. G
     
  2. TaterTot

    TaterTot
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    I have wondered that too. We come from a performance/entertainment driven culture and I dislike watching someone "perform" during a worship service. One can tell when its from the heart, usually.
     
  3. Rev. G

    Rev. G
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2002
    Messages:
    1,635
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't attend worship to be entertained, but I have been to churches where "special" music was little more than that.

    Rev. G
     
  4. Ruth

    Ruth
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2002
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    I attend a church where there is "special music" every service, morning and evening. I am in the choir, a women's trio, and also a soloist. I also arrange music for our small instrumental group, a mostly brass quintet - they normally play arrangements I have made of well known public domain hymns.

    For myself, when I am performing the special music, I consider it my responsibility to work as hard as possible on making my song what it should be - something I am not ashamed to present to God. So according to several of the people who know me best, I am a perfectionist, and some people think that I worry too much about my performance. If I do, it is just because I believe that we owe our BEST to the Lord - not just "singing" because we can.

    I also think very carefully about what song to sing - in our church, special music is usually right before the sermon, and I need to bring the members to the point of being ready to listen and accept the pastor's message to us. My choices for special music are varied, including classical (Malotte, Mendelssohn, Handel etc), old standards (like "The King is Coming"), and a few newer songs that I have come across recently with good music and a great message.

    I have found that, in most of the churches I have attended, that congregational singing is not geared towards preparing the people for the attentiveness required to listen to the pastor during his message. The special music, if done properly, will put them in a frame of mind to concentrate on what he has to say to us. But I do have a personal concern about the special music I do: many times, it seems to me, the congregation is not listening to the message in my song - they only hear my voice. I do work especially hard on the diction in a song so the words are understandable when I sing, and it really bothers me that a lot of people are not listening to what the song says, but only to what I sound like. This makes me very uncomfortable since I am not doing this for personal adulation. I am praising the Lord! And I don't want that to get lost in the process simply because I was given vocal talent by God.

    Ruth
     
  5. Abiyah

    Abiyah
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/abiyah.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Messages:
    5,194
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with Ruth. I used to be a soloist, and
    the idea is not at all to get up there and enter-
    tain. While there is no special music where I
    attend now, except for an occasional trumpet
    or cello solo in a congregational song, or the
    worship team having a particular part in only
    one of our congregational songs, I see nothing
    wrong with special music.
     
  6. Rev. G

    Rev. G
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2002
    Messages:
    1,635
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ruth, let me start by stating that it seems as though you have a very good heart attitude in what you are doing. j

    Do you think that the congregational singing needs to be changed so that it does help to prepare the people more? What things do you think could be done, if any?

    It seems that you have noticed an "entertainment" attitude with some folks listening to your voice rather than to the words. Why do you think people might have that mindset?

    Rev. G

    Rev. G
     
  7. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,143
    Likes Received:
    25
    Although I have no personal objections to listening to individuals sing (as opposed to congregations), and am quite capable of enjoying it, I do wonder what scriptural command, precept or example we have for "special" music. It seems that Eph. 5:19 & Col. 3:16 enjoin congregational singing upon us.
     
  8. Bro. Curtis

    Bro. Curtis
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/curtis.gif>

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2001
    Messages:
    20,250
    Likes Received:
    4
    I hope this stays on-topic.

    There is a case of David playing for Saul, in the O.T. It seems music can serve a purpose of entertainment, to take our minds off the troubles of life, to simply enjoy it.

    Sometimes, there are folks in church who have not been blessed with a voice for singing. I have no problem with them singing as a congregation, but if a soloist is there, what could be the harm in listening to them alone, without the "help" of the rest of us ?

    I don't believe church's purpose is to entertain people, but I see nothing wrong with being able to enjoy a performer who happens to be good at what they do. As long as the sermon isn't compromised.
     
  9. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,655
    Likes Received:
    225
    I do not see the verses cited here as pertaining to corporate worship, but to the day-to-day life of the Christian.
     
  10. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,143
    Likes Received:
    25
    Then do we have any command to sing corporately (or any other way) in public worship?
     
  11. Abiyah

    Abiyah
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/abiyah.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Messages:
    5,194
    Likes Received:
    0
    I hope you don't mind if I answer your queries
    to Ruth. 8o)

    1. Stop singing every verse just because it is
    there.

    2. Choose the songs carefully, with a goal in
    mind, rather than haphazardly.

    3. Start with the liveliest song, follow with a
    slower song, choose a livelier, etc., but always
    end the songs with a more solemn, slower
    song.

    4. Stop rushing through the songs as though
    the goal is to conclude it. Sing the songs ac-
    cording to the writers' intended rhythms.

    5. Occasionally stop a song at a pertinent
    verse and have someone simply read that
    verse. This is not only a change of pace,
    which is important for keeping attention, but
    it helps the congregation to remember that
    they are singing words that carry import-
    ance.

    1. I think that some people think this way
    because we, as singers, sometimes choose
    songs conducive to that attitude. One time, I
    did an experiment: I had chosen a song that
    had been made popular by Sandi Patty, and
    I wondered if her having sung it would pos-
    sibly taint the expectations of the listeners.
    I talked to a few carefully chosen people
    afterward and realized that:
    a. They had unrealistic expectations of any-
    one else singing the song
    b. Although all singers have their own style,
    they expected the song to be interpretted as
    Patty did in her popular version
    c. There was an immediate critical response
    toward someone singing "Patty's song."
    I later heard another singing sing the very same
    song, copying Patty to a "T," and everyone
    thought it was wonderful, inspiring, etc.
    Curious. 8o)

    2. Some singers carefully study their song and
    interpret it well, but the congregation only wants
    someone to get up and "just sing the words."

    3. Singers do not have the advantages of the
    recording studio; if we flub a word, a note, the
    timing, we do it publicly, while singers in the
    studio can just fix that.

    4. Singing is often looked upon as the "lesser
    art" while those playing instruments are thought
    more valuable. I have been told by an instrument-
    alist, "Anybody can sing." With this attitude, it
    was easy to question whether our God values us
    as workers for Him. 8o) I got over it.

    [ October 05, 2002, 09:13 AM: Message edited by: Abiyah ]
     
  12. Ruth

    Ruth
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2002
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    First, let me say that I intended to include in my original post that I do not know of any Biblical reference to support special music - other than the normal references that we should make use of our talents for God. I would be very interested to see if anyone actually finds something that is specific to this issue.

    Rev G, I am in complete agreement with Abiyah on her 5 responses about the congregational music (Thank you! You put it into words far better than I could have). So many of the hymns we sing are just done because they are personal favorites as far as the music is concerned, and there is also a lot of music NOT done because the music minister does not have the range to be able to lead the congregation. The words in the song are never considered, and the music minister never consults with the pastor to see what his sermon is going to be. I always try to check with him and make sure my special music will complement, not conflict, with what he needs to deliver his sermon.

    As far as what gives me the idea that people are listening to me for entertainment rather than a message, I can give you two examples. A few years ago, when I was looking for a new church home, I attended several different area churches. At every church, except the one I am now attending, the FIRST comment from every congregation was about my voice, and how I could be such an "asset" to their music program. (I have a very strong soprano voice with a pronounced vibrato, and can be heard easily above most congregations since most people don't open their mouth and sing like they mean it!) And just as an aside, this was the reason I was looking for a new church to begin with - the one I was attending didn't really want me for any other reason other than my voice; they cared nothing for me as a person.

    The second example is at my current church. It is my "fly in the ointment" here - but it is also a very warm, loving, and God-seeking church. When I attended my first service here, I was shocked to find that they APPLAUDED the special music. I had never been in a church before where that was done. And last year, I was scheduled for special music the Sunday after 9/11. We were having a memorial service, not a regular service, so i sang "God Bless America". They gave me a standing ovation, and several people came up to me after the service to tell me how wonderful I sounded! I was appalled. Every time I sing, I have members of the congregation seek me out after the service to tell me "how wonderful" I sound - but when asked, they can't give any details at all about the message contained in the song I sang. I have mentioned this to the pastor, the music minister, and a few close friends in the congregation hoping that the idea of actually listening to the message of the song, not just the singer, would take root - but so far, I am not having a lot of luck. It really makes me very uncomfortable for people to keep congratulating me for something that isn't mine, but came from God - and that is what I tell people. It is not my voice; I have just been given this to use for Him.

    Sorry, didn't mean to be so long winded on this. [​IMG]

    Ruth
     
  13. Ruth

    Ruth
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2002
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    I also just realized that I misinterpreted what Rev G asked - I read it as asking what gave me the idea that "entertainment" was what people were after, not why *they* expected it.

    Unfortunately, I think that given the wide availability of entertainment in today's society, and its permeation of every part of our life, people expect the same from our churches. And when someone is identified as "special", be it a speaker, singer, instrumentalist, or other, the congregation as a matter of course takes it to mean the same thing as it does in secular life - i.e., "special guest star" etc.

    I am not saying that entertainment is a bad thing. It has its place. But the spillover into our worship may be a real problem, when it impacts whether or not a message from God is heard. I don't really have a good answer to this problem; I wish I did.

    Ruth
     
  14. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2000
    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    8
    All of our music is special. Our preaching is special. Our offering is special. Our lives are special.

    We just have a special church. Really.
     
  15. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,074
    Likes Received:
    102
    Well, isn't that special?

    Sorry, Saggy. The better angels of our natures couldn't keep me from hitting the "send" button.

    Although I'm a long-time choir singer, I would dearly love to have more congregational singing. Most of the service would be fine.

    Forgive me, Saggy, ka-rip!

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Rev. G

    Rev. G
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2002
    Messages:
    1,635
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ruth:
    Please don't apologize for being "long-winded." A person is only that way if they are blowing out a bunch of hot air - and you definitely have not done that. Your input is very insightful. Continue to point people to Christ like you have been doing. May the Lord open up ears to listen to WHAT you are saying when you sing.

    Abiyah:
    Thank you very much for your input as well. I know John Wesley would disagree with you about not singing all the verses (he said to do it), but it is still a good list you gave to us.

    Can this instance be used to support "special music"? Certainly music can serve as a "therapeutic" element in our lives. However, wouldn't this be more like listening to music at home, in the car, etc.?

    Rev. G

    P. S. (Hey MUSIC MAN - Do you have that list of Wesley's rules for singing? If so, would you please give it to us?)
     
  17. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Messages:
    8,123
    Likes Received:
    1
    There's no Biblical basis for special numbers, special songs, choirs in the church, Sunday Schools, or women preachers.
    So I guess its a no-no for me.
     
  18. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2000
    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    8
    There is no biblical basis for the Baptist Board, either, but we are here.

    LOL at rsr. Ka-rip to you, too, buddy!
     
  19. Molly

    Molly
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2000
    Messages:
    2,303
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is a message board,the difference is we are talking about what should be a part of a corporate worship service(which is mentioned in the Bible)....2 totally different things.
     
  20. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2000
    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    8
    What does Sunday School have to do with corporate worship?
     

Share This Page

Loading...