Saturday, January 25, 2014
I recently attended a church music conference. We listened to about 250 new compositions and arrangements from 6 leading publishers. Here are some observations regarding the vast majority of pieces.
Music is being written in only 2 or 3 part harmony. This leaves the basses to sing either in a tessitura which is too high or relegated to singing the melody in a lower octave. Is it any wonder my choir only has 3 bass singers?
Another trend is writing accompaniments that are clearly reductions of guitar parts. This leaves the music minister with three options. He either will attempt to present the piece live with a rhythm section, force his pianist to "work it out", or have the choir sing it with an accompaniment track. I have been using too many tracks lately and I know my pianist is growing tired of coming to choir only to rehearse vocal parts.
Many songs are also being arranged from solos heard on Christian radio. The trouble is that the rhythms are challenging enough that the arranger must write the piece for a soloist with the choir serving the role of back up singers. So while the all attention is on the soloist, the choir is singing oooohs, ohhhhhs, and ahhhhs with an occasional phrase that doubles the melody.
I urge music publishers to consider publishing real choral music again with great piano accompaniments, and legitimate bass parts. I understand there is a good reason this music is being published. It would not be published if there were not a market for it. I urge music ministers to be more discriminating in what you purchase for your church. That is the only way we will ever reverse this trend. The time has come for worship leaders to take a long and critical look at our methods and effects that will result from them.
I must assert that I am greatly encouraged by the spiritual depth of new composers such as Keith & Kristyn Getty, Matt Redman, Travis Cottrell, Stuart Townend, and Reuben Morgan. It seems the pendulum has begun to swing toward hymns being written for today's worshippers. These texts are filled with biblical quotations and solid theology. What will worship in the church look like in 30 years? Worship`s future will likely be determined by the choices that worship leaders make today and forward.
Posted by Eric Beechem at 4:53 PM
Monday, January 6, 2014
As we begin a new year, many of us have already broken our new years resolutions. I was thinking about something crazy. If Satan made resolutions for 2014, what would they be?
Satan said, “I know the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. My time is short. I must claim every soul possible before Jesus returns. Here are my resolutions concerning the church.”
1. Do whatever I can to make sure the church uses a steady diet of songs written at least 50 years ago. Using melodies, harmonies, rhythms, & instrumentation common in current times will allow this generation an open door into the church. I want the music to be as archaic and foreign as possible so I can claim this generation.
2. Convince God's people that they don't need to worship together. That way, the body of Christ will be lacking.
3. Offer a false god for people to serve; musical style. They will be deceived into worshiping their style of choice and fight over which god (style) should be exalted. All the while, they will fail to worship the One True God.
4. Do whatever it takes to insert songs that employ poor theology. The church believes the words in the songs, so this is an effective way to impose false teaching on the church.
5. Make sure that services are boring. The last thing I want is a pep rally for Jesus that spurs the Church into battle mode!
1. Tempt Christians. If they stumble, they will not feel worthy to tell others about Jesus.
2. Propagate lies. My favorites:
a. It's best to keep your faith to yourself these days.
b. You don't need to invite people to church. They already know where the church is. There is no need to be pushy.
3. Keep people so busy that they don't have time or energy to work for God.
Being Under Satan's Yoke
1. Foster division in the church.
2. Lead God's people to gold grudges and stay bitter.
1. Keep Christians isolated so I can devour them.
2. Keep Christians immature so I can devour them.
3. Keep Christians unhealthy and entangled in sin so I can devour them.
CONCERNING MINISTRY & MISSIONS
1. Tempt God's people to live beyond their financial means. They will not be able to give to the work of the church. This will cut off funding for local, state, national, and international ministry and missions.
Posted by Eric Beechem at 10:01 PM