Friday, July 2, 2010

virtual music barriers

All congregations have virtual barriers when it comes to music. I'm not talking here about musical taste so much as a set of assumptions. For example, some communities limit themselves, closing off multiple possibilities by appealing for an organist, choiur master, pianist or guitarist, rather than being open to the gifts present within the community. 

Take a moment to consider your community. How many people here do you think learned a musical instrument in years past? Probably more than you realise. In my own congregation, I once jotted down 42 people I knew played instruments, let alone those I was to discover later.

Here are some ideas you might like to consider as a starting point to realising greater potential:

1. Find out who learned an instrument as a child or young person.
2. Find out who sings in the shower, or whistles in the shed.
3. Who knows how to play a recorder - the recorder has been widely taught in classrooms for decades now.
4. Who has taught themselves an instrument?
5. Welcome players of tuba, bagpipes, banjo, autoharp, harmonica, african drums, electric guitar and piano accordian into your instrumental mix.
6. Find out who has connections to musicians/artists beyond the faith community.
7. Focus on the missing demographic within your musical leadership
8. Who has an instrument in the attic or under their bed that can be utilised by someone?
9. Who would be willing to contribute musically once a month, or twice a term?
10. Who are the people preparing for music exams? Are there VCE music students in your local community who need an audience? Can they be invited to play for offering, or communion distribution this week?
11. Run a confidence building session for interested parties, and enlist the help of a local music teacher at the congregation's expense.
12. Consider if your musicians are leaving themselves open to a level of criticism no flower arranger would ever be expected to endure.

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