Date: 2007-08-30 17:29
I recently took a job as interim music director at a fairly small Baptist church. The folks here are pretty open to different things, and have enjoyed even some jazz-oriented stuff.
There is also a strong faction in favor of country gospel, and I've been able to accommodate that.
As a private teacher, I've always tried to encourage my students to play in church, and to develop material that's appropriate for a worship service both in song selection and in the character of the arrangement.
A new thing to me (I'm new to choir directing) is praise music which is primarily an acoustic guitarist acting as 'Praise Leader' either solo or in front of a band. The church's new pastor is very keen on this (he's a fine singer/guitarist himself), but a bit skeptical of having instruments being played in the services.
I am opposed to excluding anyone from playing unless the music is inappropriate, they perform in an inappropriate way or they actually sound bad. I also oppose using instrumentals in the "Special Music" (i.e. Choir Anthem) slot. But it seems to me that preludes, postludes, offertories, etc. are a good place for a tasteful instrumentalist to contribute.
We have very few instrumentalists in our congregation (i.e. no chance of an ensemble), but I would like to let some students come and play on occasion (both solo and in small groups), so that they can learn to do this kind of thing with my help. (being employed at my church, I can hardly visit at theirs)
One problem that I know occurs is that instrumental performances can look ostentatious, as players feel an obligation to demonstrate a certain level of ability. Another common one is that some players just bring in repertoire, and it's either too showy, too disconnected from the service, or too lengthy to be of use.
I'd like to hear from folks who run into these sorts if issues playing in church, and from folks to have issues with some stuff that they have to endure listening to in church.
I'd also like to hear from folks who have experiences in 'Praise Music' as something other than a rock saxophonist.
I think that things can be integrated, but need to show the pastor the it can be done unobtrusively and not as a big show. I'd hoped for some things on YouTube, but haven't found much thus far.