Modern Technology and the decline of church music
Wes Burke has started a timely and relevant discussion at his site, Is Church Music Dying? He discusses the decline of his church’s choir, the decline of his church’s praise band, and the increased notion of his church’s members to view church music as entertainment rather than a participatory activity.
This post brings to mind another that’s been on my to-blog-about list for months, Lifeway Worship’s They are Not Singing Anymore. It focuses on one aspect of the issue Burke raised: Congregations are not participating in the singing the way their parents and grandparents would. It boils this down to four key reasons:
- They don’t know the song.
- They can’t sing the song. This point specifically references songs with modern and complex rhythms, which flood the CCM market and appear, on occasion, here. They also noted that sopranos and bass singers can’t sing many of the melodies, and suggested moving the key to a lowest-common denominator key. (A better solution would be to teach singing harmony, once again. No key works for everyone.)
- They can’t hear the room singing. If the music is amplified too much, people in the audience will hear that, rather than those around them singing.
- They think that they are not expected to sing or needed in worship. If lighting, sound, stage setup, and arrangements all point to “concert,” don’t be surprised if that’s how audiences start treating it.