Today I was involved with making church music. I've been learning a lot ... being with a new denomination introduces me to a new hymnal and going to "contemporary" services exposes me to music I also don't know. I've been studying pretty hard, going to "praise band" practice, and taping music for my car trips. Unfortunately our musicians, including me, will get burnt out if we don't get advance time for practice. A musician operates on a couple of levels. There's the kinesthetic stuff where one does the mechanics. After that is taken care of, one can actually listen to the music and convey the spirit behind it. With groups, one has to get used to the others. For example, a song sound better when everyone pronounces the vowels in the same way (which is one reason singers look at each other). It's a lot like sports I think, only it's a new game with each new musical piece.
Some pastors don't understand the kinesthetic preparation that's needed and they think a musician can just launch into the spirit stuff. It's embarrassing to make a mistake publicly and a musical mistake can be loud and awkward. A soloist can fudge, but a member of the group really sticks out. If music selections were just a matter of appropriate words, we could just chant poetry instead of singing it. The "groanings" of the Holy Spirit can teach us that words aren't the only form of worship. So perhaps a pastor could let go of his attachment to the importance of the words to the expense of having time to practice. Just saying. ;-)
While preparing for a song for this morning, I was told I'd be using a mike, but there's be no time to practice with the mike. I said "I've used a mike lots of times". Heh heh. It did not occur to me that I'd never used a mike while holding music. So for the first service, I found I could not see the music where I had to hold it. By the second service I'd figured out where to hold it.
Three of us sang a hymn a capella. I'm told it was the "Mennonite anthem", so I think it's appropriate that we sang a capella. The congregation's pleasure was palpable. Connie and Jim and I do pretty well staying on pitch. What a pleasant blessing!
Two new people were interested in joining our tiny praise band (average 2.5 people). I hope we'll get more lead time so we can work better as a bigger group.