Look Inside My Mind

Not to try and defend myself or anything, but a comment the Wife made in a previous post started me on a long answer that would be better suited as a post, so here it is. She mentioned my choice of the word audience in reference to the congregation and reminded me it's about them and not me.

Well, of course it's about them. Everything I do in my music ministry is about them. There are several different parts of the ministry that I have definate opinions about. The first is music selection. Whenever picking the songs, I try to concentrate on two things: first, which songs have lyrics or meaning that correspond to the readings for that week. I and the other planners in the band read the readings for that particular week, and see which songs in our repetoire go best. Some weeks, nothing we know works so we plan as best as possible. Whenever possible we pick the Psalm from one of the choiced dictated for that week. Second, I try and pick songs that go stylistically with different parts of the Mass. For example, communion should be a little more meditative and whenever possible should be a "body and blood" kind of song. I like to begin and close the Mass with peppy tunes that uplift the congregation.

It's the job of the music minister to utilize music to more deeply enrich the congregations prayer and celebration at the Mass. Part of this is the style of music and that falls on the personal preference of the congregant. The Wife is not really a fan of what Faith on Fire does, because it doesn't enrich her participation in Mass. She much prefers the Folk Group. Which is totally fine. Some people really enjoy hearing the choir and organ to enrich their experience at Mass. That is completely fine and I get that. What Faith on Fire does is not for everyone, but there is a need for what we do.

Finally, there's the question of performance. Can playing music at a Mass be a performance? Are we there to put on a concert? Of course not. However, I think that the musicians set a tone for the congregation. If the musicians play as if they're bored and have no feeling whatsoever, then how can the congregation be uplifted? There's many times the Wife and I comment that the Folk Group (who we both really love) just destroy some songs. There's a few that we really like, but instead of playing it as written with lots of syncopation (that's pickup notes and playing on the "off" beat), they play it totally straight and the song loses all of its rhythem and feeling.

I really believe that if the group playing the music is really into what they're doing and obviously enjoying themselves that it brings the congregation into participation in the music more. If a group is just dancing and clapping and just having a good time, how can the people in the pews not just want to join in and celebrate? I feel that this is the Spirit moving through me and by my "performance" the Spirit can move through me and into the congregation. Isn't that what music is supposed to do? Make you want to get up and just enjoy yourself? And isn't there nothing better that touching a congregation through music to where they just want to worship the Lord?

This is no longer my music, but the Lord's music. What I do in church is about Him. Not me. Now, when we're practicing or in many other areas, well, then we know who it's about, don't we?


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