Music can make or break a meeting. It can add excitement, a deep sense of worship, group participation, and preparation for the teaching. On the other hand, it can be draggy, distracting, confusing, embarrassing, and boring.
Here are some suggestions for using it effectively:
1. Carefully choose a qualified song leader who is musically gifted and spiritually sensitive.
2. Use a variety of instruments if possible. Besides piano and guitars, flutes, violins, recorders, and others can make good accompaniment. Find out which chapter members play musical instruments.
3. Tune up instruments before the meeting.
4. The song leader and instrumentalists should rehearse the songs prior to the meeting.
5. The song leader should give strong direction for the singing, whether by hand motion or voice leadership. Someone should always be standing at the front giving leadership.
6. Music should relate to the theme of the meeting to enhance the message. The song leader may occasionally give brief comments on the meaning of a song and how it relates to the theme.
7. Be sure an adequate number of songbooks are distributed in advance. Don’t use a song without providing words for newcomers. When using “homemade” song books observe copyright laws. When using overhead projectors, chalkboard, or easel and pad, be sure words can be read from the rear of the room. Assign someone to change transparencies, etc.
8. What about requests? Encourage people to submit song requests ahead of time. If you plan an informal request time, be sure instrumentalists are prepared to play any song in the songbook and that requests are taken from the songbook. Otherwise this can create confusion, and loss of interest.
9. The use of special music (by gifted musicians) and recorded music can add variety and depth. This should be screened for quality and appropriateness to the theme of the meeting.
10. Why use Hymns? When properly led, hymn-singing can be deeply moving, worshipful, and invigorating. There is a wealth of Biblical truth and theological depth in many of these hymns that have survived the test of time. There is an expression of our unity with the saints of all ages as we sing these hymns which have been sung in the church for centuries. Many of the tunes were written by great composers and can enrich our overall music appreciation.
11. The use of contemporary songs can add enthusiasm, a spirit of celebration, and emotional expression. They make use of a contemporary medium to deal with current issues of the Christian life. They should be selected according to the biblical accuracy of the lyrics, quality of music, and singabilitiy of the tune. Avoid songs with shallow, meaningless, and silly lyrics.
“I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind”
(I Cor. 14:15)