Tag Archives: music

A Joyful Noise…or is it?

Music cross
As a musician, I often struggle with my feelings on church music.  On one hand, I know that worshipping the Lord in song and by playing instruments is pleasing to the Lord when the performer’s heart is in the right place.  By right place, I mean with intentions of pleasing the Lord with his/her gift and not simply doing it out of obligation or with goals of impressing others.  Here’s the thing: there are times when I’ve heard people sing/play during offertory, prelude, or special music and I knew that their hearts were in the right place, but to be honest, I found that my heart wasn’t in the right place as I was cringing in my seat as a result of sour pitches, nasal tone quality, no expression, etc.  I know that’s mean to write and my husband says I’m too harsh, but I’m just being honest.

In college, I studied music and had this certain professor who used to say that if God’s perfect, He must have perfect pitch.  I wonder if that’s true…  Anyway, he would go on to elaborate how he thought only gifted musicians should be the ones ‘performing’ in front of the church.  He felt that others that weren’t so ‘gifted’ musically could offer up their joyful noises to the Lord during congregational singing.  This always sounded a bit snobby in my book.  Also, who is the one to determine if a musician is ‘gifted’ enough to provide the music in the service?  Is there some sort of standard?

Really this is just something that’s been on my mind over the past few days.  We’ve been starting our search for a new church after relocating two months ago and decided to try a local church a minute (literally) down the road.  The people were so welcoming and went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable.  When it came time for music, let’s just say they had the noise part down, but it didn’t make me joyful…But boy, were they sincere.  I can’t help but think that had to be a pleasing offering to the Lord…..

This is where I open it up to you.  What’s your view on church music?  Do you think it’s reserved only for the finest church musicians or should be open to anyone with a sincere heart?

The bigger picture

I have spent the last 8 and a half years teaching music in the public school setting.  My last gig, which ended in December due to relocating, was teaching chorus to a bunch of very talented sixth graders.  While teaching, I’d often found myself in situations where I’d tell my students, “Just trust me.”  For example, I’ve taught songs where one of the harmony lines just doesn’t seem to make much sense when sung by itself.  I’d tell my students “Trust me, it might sound a little weird right now, but it will sound awesome when we put it with the melody.”  My students were probably thinking “Yeah, right!  How could that ever sound good?!”  But as time went by and they started hearing how the piece fit together, with each passing rehearsal, I began earning credibility points from my students.

After you start making good on enough of those ‘trust me’ moments, you begin seeing that you’ve built up quite a big bank of points.   My students’ doubt and questioning gradually started being replaced with certainty and trust.  They began realizing that I was on their team, that I was pushing them to be their best, to perform up to their highest ability because from my position, I could see the big picture.

I think trusting the Lord’s a lot like that.  He clearly knows what’s best for us.  After all, He is our Maker and He does have a better vantage point on our lives than we do.  If we begin showing our trust for Him in the little things, He will begin proving His credibility and showing His goodness and we won’t help but to want to come to Him for the big things, too.  My favorite verse, Proverbs 3: 5 & 6, illustrates this.  When we trust Him with our whole heart and fight the urge to try and accomplish things on our own power and wisdom, He promises to make our paths straight.

Straight Path