Friday, September 24, 2010

Music! (Friday Five)

Today's Friday Five is from Mary Beth:

Music is a part of the human experience, and part of religious traditions the world over. It is evocative and stirring, and many forms of worship are incomplete without it.

Our title comes from a quote popularly attributed to St. Augustine: "He who sings prays twice." A little Googling, however, indicates that Augustine didn't say exactly that. In fact, what he said just doesn't fit well onto a t-shirt. So we'll stick with what we have.

"Singing reduces stress and increases healthy breathing and emotional expression. Singing taps into a deep, age-old power available to all of us. When we find our voice, we find ourselves. Today, sing like you mean it." And let's talk about the role music plays in your life and worship.

1) Do you like to sing/listen to others sing? In worship, or on your own (or not at all?)

 I can't sing a note, but I love to listen to others sing.  And sometimes I pretend that I am singing, too.

2) Did you grow up with music in worship, or come to it later in life? Tell us about it, and how that has changed in your experience.

In my six years of boarding school education, three Catholic and three Protestant, choral music was a mandatory part of the curriculum.  Weekly classes in both, even for those of us of modest (or no) ability, plus many worship services each week in which music was prominent

3) Some people find worship incomplete without music; others would just as soon not have it. Where do you fall?

I consider music to be an essential component of worship. (Yeah, I know, the Book of Order doesn't.  Whatever.)  Of course, the down side of that is that the evocative power of music is one of the things that kept me out of church in the months after my son died.

4) Do you prefer traditional music in worship, or contemporary? That can mean many different things!

I like what we do at my home church: one service with a blend of all kinds of music.  I love classical choral music, most of the stuff in the Methodist and Presby hymnals, John Bell music, and a lot of the international material our music director brings to us.  I love a lot of the Marty Haugen songs that many traditional Catholics diss.  I have little patience with contemporary praise music but I am . . .  teachable . . .   sort of.

I, I, I . . .  you would never guess from this response that music is an expression of community, would you? 

5) What's your go-to music ... when you need solace or want to express joy? A video/recording will garner bonus points!

These days, I suppose it's this one, which I linked a few weeks ago:  Edgar Bainton's A New Heaven.


  1. Oh good, another Marty Haugen fan! Seriously I think a lot of the stuff written after VatII was really really BAD music, but there were gems and his are among them.

  2. The Bainton New Heaven is superb. Thanks for linking to it!

    Joining you in the Loosing Patience With Contemporary Music Club. Think I'm the president of the same.

  3. QG: I love that that youtube has the written music as the video; much easier to understand that piece when you can follow along with all four parts. (I can READ music; I just can't sing it.)

    And per your own comment on the Psalms (and extended to the rest of Scripture, e.g Revelation), when I got serious about the Bible in my 30s, I was amazed by how much of it I was already familiar with via music.

    Finally, I do not think that you get to be both Mom of Congress and President of the Losing Patience with Contemporary Music Club simultaneously. Unless, in fact, they are the same office, which is entirely possible.

  4. Wanted to know, so I asked you you you! love to read it.

    I like some Marty Haugen, and we sing a good bit of it. looking forward to going to that link!

  5. interesting how different our musical personalities can be ~
    i'm glad for that - no one need be bored - and it confirms the creativity of our Creator God!

  6. It's interesting how strongly we respond to worship music (well, any music). My friend loves contemporary worship music and can't stand the traditional pieces, and I am almost the opposite. I do love a few of the contemporary pieces, but prefer them on the radio, and not in worship.

  7. I have that same peeve with modern music. And since AG churches sing almost nothing but :-( I probably drove the worship leader nuts when I was pastoring by always asking him to PLEASE look for music about we or us instead of III and MEMEMEMEME.