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Thread: Do men still sing in church?

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    Senior Member Gary Condon's Avatar

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    Do men still sing in church?

    Here's a partial answer to what some of us old guys are concerned about regarding church music.

    [URL="http://www.patheos.com/blogs/afewgrownmen/2013/05/why-men-have-stopped-singing-in-church"

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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    I would say that it's a great article, but it's not, it's a sad commentary for sure. Couldn't agree more.

    There are factors beyond what the writer mentions.

    One is meter, in order for folks to sing along, a song must have a fairly even meter, otherwise people get thrown a curve and lose their sense of timing, once thrown off, men tend to become embarrassed and clam up, a lot of contemporary songs are pretty irregular or use quirky timing, they should be avoided.

    Another consideration is progression, when songs contain unusual or difficult progressions. Again, people get thrown off and end up singing a couple of wrong notes, and again the men will tend to quit from embarrassment. I did take note of where the author mentions that some song leaders write their own stuff, I've been in a few churches where this is done, usually the songs are poorly written with awkward progressions, timing and poor lyrical qualities.

    Songs have also changed in pitch in that last dozen years or so. It seems that we have more and more songleaders who are alto's. While the alto voice has a very pleasing quality, men cannot sing along. The song will either be too low for them or too high. When you take a song that has been traditionally sung in Bb and transpose it down to G, then it becomes impossible for men to sing.

    Bottom line for worship leaders is that if few people are singing, you aren't doing your job. It's the only standard that really matters.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

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    Senior Member George Wallace's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    No problem for us Psalm singers, everybody sings! (Except the babes, but they often accompany us with a -joyful noise ) In addition to the Lord's Day and Family Worship we have a monthly Psalm Sings/Fellowship and we usually have between 50 and 75 people in attendance. Not bad for a church of 115.

    Jim,
    Try these:
    A collection of psalms and hymns for the Lord's Day. Published by John Wesley and Charles Wesley,
    http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00000053/00001/1j

    Try seeing what worked back in the day...

    Studies in Worship-Music; Chiefly as Regards Congregational Singing.

    "Preach the gospel; if necessary use words" is like saying "feed the poor and; if necessary use food."
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    Senior Member Kyle Borger's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    I agree with Jim. A part of worship isn't just how good you are. To be sure we all want to glorify God and having music that is painful can make it difficult to focus on God. A part of worship is providing ministry opportunities for everyone. That may be the 8th grade drummer or the tambourine lady. But you still have to get the mix right and produce at least a somewhat pleasing sound.

    I agree that there are too many choices. At times as pastors we can choose songs strictly based on its theological message. We want the music to support the message. However if no one has ever sang that song you are kind of shooting yourself in the foot. I would personally have 1 song per major theological position (idealist!) and rotate the same music frequently. Many times it is the repetition that makes the song meaningful. Now I didn't mean repeat the same verse 50 times in a service. I mean the better we know the song the more likely we are to sing it everywhere or hum it and the message in the song keeps on giving.

    Jim makes better points in the technical aspects and I support his view there. That doesn't mean I am strictly hymns. I do enjoy hymns, but I also need a certain portion of the music to be relate-able to the culture where we are serving. Just make sure that music can be sung and that you stick with it for a while.
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    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    I would say that it's a great article, but it's not, it's a sad commentary for sure. Couldn't agree more.

    There are factors beyond what the writer mentions.

    One is meter, in order for folks to sing along, a song must have a fairly even meter, otherwise people get thrown a curve and lose their sense of timing, once thrown off, men tend to become embarrassed and clam up, a lot of contemporary songs are pretty irregular or use quirky timing, they should be avoided.

    Another consideration is progression, when songs contain unusual or difficult progressions. Again, people get thrown off and end up singing a couple of wrong notes, and again the men will tend to quit from embarrassment. I did take note of where the author mentions that some song leaders write their own stuff, I've been in a few churches where this is done, usually the songs are poorly written with awkward progressions, timing and poor lyrical qualities.

    Songs have also changed in pitch in that last dozen years or so. It seems that we have more and more songleaders who are alto's. While the alto voice has a very pleasing quality, men cannot sing along. The song will either be too low for them or too high. When you take a song that has been traditionally sung in Bb and transpose it down to G, then it becomes impossible for men to sing.

    Bottom line for worship leaders is that if few people are singing, you aren't doing your job. It's the only standard that really matters.
    I see some factors in addition to these (and those mentioned in the article).

    1. A shift from worship leaders trained in music education to worship leaders trained in music performance, or perhaps not trained at all, and so defaulting to music performance. The difference is HUGE!! A music leader not trained in music education has no idea how to select songs that a congregation can sing, while being unaware of how to teach a song to the congregation.

    2. Most CCM songs on written for performance and are shoehorned into congregational singing, with mixed results. The song "I could sing of your love forever" is a great example of this. The lyrics are very syncopated and free when sung by a soloist, but when modified for congregational singing it just sounds ridiculous, and if not modified, it is a train wreck because nobody is singing together - or more likely they aren't singing at all.

    3. Music literacy is not as widespread as it once was. We could put a full musical score in front of the congregation (by way of a printed hymnal) and most people will still pick it up by ear, if they pick it up at all.


    The writer of the article seems to poo-poo 'professionalism', but when it comes to worship leaders leading congregational singing, it's amateur hour.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis

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    Senior Member Mike Schutz's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    Bottom line for worship leaders is that if few people are singing, you aren't doing your job.
    One of the blessings I have with a Minister of Worship Arts/music leader who is not only an excellent musician but also a music educator is her understanding of these issues and ability to make the music serve the purpose of congregational worship. Over the last year we have seen an obvious increase in congregational participation due to her addressing the issues mentioned here. When I suggest a song for content purposes, as Kyle has mentioned, and it is not optimum for congregational singing, she will either make the necessary changes - if we are deciding to add it to the repertoire - or it will be done as a prelude or special music prior to the sermon. When she makes changes in a contemporary song to make it more appropriate for congregational singing, a member of the music team may comment that he/she wishes we could sing it "the way it is on the recording," but they are beginning to understand that this is not the primary purpose.

    Of course, she also has to put up with a preacher who regularly wants to change lyrics to meet his theological hobbyhorse, but that is the cross she must bear.
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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    I would say that it's a great article, but it's not, it's a sad commentary for sure. Couldn't agree more.

    There are factors beyond what the writer mentions.

    One is meter, in order for folks to sing along, a song must have a fairly even meter, otherwise people get thrown a curve and lose their sense of timing, once thrown off, men tend to become embarrassed and clam up, a lot of contemporary songs are pretty irregular or use quirky timing, they should be avoided.

    Another consideration is progression, when songs contain unusual or difficult progressions. Again, people get thrown off and end up singing a couple of wrong notes, and again the men will tend to quit from embarrassment. I did take note of where the author mentions that some song leaders write their own stuff, I've been in a few churches where this is done, usually the songs are poorly written with awkward progressions, timing and poor lyrical qualities.

    Songs have also changed in pitch in that last dozen years or so. It seems that we have more and more songleaders who are alto's. While the alto voice has a very pleasing quality, men cannot sing along. The song will either be too low for them or too high. When you take a song that has been traditionally sung in Bb and transpose it down to G, then it becomes impossible for men to sing.

    Bottom line for worship leaders is that if few people are singing, you aren't doing your job. It's the only standard that really matters.
    Generally, I agree, except, at least in the case of men in my family, the emotion is more akin to annoyance.
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    Senior Member Jim Franklin's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    If I don't know it, I don't sing it. Just seeing the words on a monitor does not translate into knowing the song. I don't want to stumble along and be a distraction to someone else who is enjoying lifting their voice in praise.

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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    I see some factors in addition to these (and those mentioned in the article).
    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    1. A shift from worship leaders trained in music education to worship leaders trained in music performance, or perhaps not trained at all, and so defaulting to music performance. The difference is HUGE!! A music leader not trained in music education has no idea how to select songs that a congregation can sing, while being unaware of how to teach a song to the congregation.
    A worship leader needs to have a heart for ministry, to which there is no substitute. But your right, a background in music education is the right direction, no doubt there. Music performance is somewhat antithetical to the task at hand, which is to enable others to worship. Performance is "hey look at me, I can do things that you can't," While the job of the worship leader is "hey this is incredibly fulfilling, lets do this together, I know you can do it!" I've oft thought that the best description for the job is "minister of music," cause if your not ministering.............well...................

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    2. Most CCM songs on written for performance and are shoehorned into congregational singing, with mixed results. The song "I could sing of your love forever" is a great example of this. The lyrics are very syncopated and free when sung by a soloist, but when modified for congregational singing it just sounds ridiculous, and if not modified, it is a train wreck because nobody is singing together - or more likely they aren't singing at all.
    Good example of a bad example for sure! I'm a fan of the ballad style contemporary stuff, usually the meter is reasonable and there aren't big interval or range issues.

    I generally give CCM stuff the easy test. I'll look up the lyrics and give it a try, if I can't sing it easily by the second pass, then how long will it take for the congregation to pick it up. Most of the folks in our church listen to KLOVE, so most anything from there is pretty safe with them and they enjoy it. But I can't stand listening to KLOVE, so I ask around to find out what's playing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    3. Music literacy is not as widespread as it once was. We could put a full musical score in front of the congregation (by way of a printed hymnal) and most people will still pick it up by ear, if they pick it up at all.
    Which is why we need to bring back choir singing. As painful as it may be to listen to at times, it's a good vehicle to improve literacy.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

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    Thanks Billy Cox, Tami Martin - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Gary Condon's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    To me, corporate music means that the congregation's singing should dominate the event. The leader's voice and the instruments should become almost subliminal to the overall setting. That also means that the congregation should be led in singing familiar tunes/hymns. The tunes should be pitched in a comfortable range for the average voice. The songs should not be restricted to praise. Various song/lyric styles should teach, encourage, pray, convict, and celebrate. (and other functions that I fail to think of at this time) The rise and swell of the entire congregations collective voice is what is desired. Not the rise and swell of the amplified vocals, band and kick drum. (Sorry about that)

    If that were the case, I too would sing instead of stare.

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    Host Fun & Prayer forums Gina Stevenson's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    A worship leader needs to have a heart for ministry, to which there is no substitute ................
    I've oft thought that the best description for the job is "minister of music," cause if your not ministering.............well...................
    Yes, sounds about right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim C
    Which is why we need to bring back choir singing. As painful as it may be to listen to at times, it's a good vehicle to improve literacy.
    Chuckled at this one, b/c ~~ as many choirs as I've sung in in my lifetime ~~ I, too, don't really relish hearing them. Something in me just has to be singing when there's music like that ... listening does nothing, really, for me. It's a participatory thing, as far as I'm concerned ... "congregation=choir."

    ETA: Even the Messiah, as majestic as it is, is something I'd rather not go to where I'm supposed to be totally quiet. Yes, don't wish to sing the whole thing, where there are out-of-my-range solos, but the preferred Messiah experience is one of those Messiah sing-alongs (which you don't hear of all that much anymore, at least around here).
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    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Franklin View Post
    If I don't know it, I don't sing it. Just seeing the words on a monitor does not translate into knowing the song.
    That's my dad's reason for not singing.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

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    Senior Member Bob Carabbio's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    What I noticed in OUR church, is that Nobody really sings very much. it's MOSTLY just a "Performance Set" by the Worship team. And like most "Contemporary Song services" you can barely hear yourself think.

    But if you roll out the OLD stuff - you'll get participation.

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    Senior Member Valisha Trammell Hall's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carabbio View Post
    What I noticed in OUR church, is that Nobody really sings very much. it's MOSTLY just a "Performance Set" by the Worship team. And like most "Contemporary Song services" you can barely hear yourself think.

    But if you roll out the OLD stuff - you'll get participation.
    I completely agree, Bob. Recently my 17 year old daughter said, "I wish we sang hymns out of the hymnal, they're so much more fun to sing.". The Sunday before we had attended my parents' church in Holdenville, and they sing hymns.

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    I think we need to remember that all music was new at some point (and I apply this to myself). There is nothing wrong with learning new songs. My biggest bones of contention are content, singability and noise level. The music should have sound theology. I believe there is a place for praise songs, just don't sing them over and over to fill space. What is played on the local CCM station may be catchy, sound or emotional, but it may not transfer over to congregational singing. And the noise level? How can we minister to each other if we can't hear the people singing? Just a few observations from a tone deaf, musically challenged guy.

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    Senior Member Jim Franklin's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    As I have said on this forum before, my enjoyment of church services has decreased with the institution of amplification.

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    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Franklin View Post
    As I have said on this forum before, my enjoyment of church services has decreased with the institution of amplification.
    Same here. My father can't enjoy it because amplified music comes across as distorted with his hearing aides. I can't enjoy it either because the loud sound waves trigger migraines.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

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    Senior Member Andrew Blye's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    I find that men like anthems, songs that are declarations about God, and songs that are more cerebral in nature (hymns) and this is cross-generational. I am 36 and I find that I prefer them as well. The "lovey-dovey" "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs are a turnoff for many men. As a pastor another thing that bothers me is singing songs from us to God that make absolute statements about my amount of love or faith for Him. I mean, do we really "surrender all", do I actually "sing of his love forever", is Jesus really "my all in all"?

    If you don't mean it, don't sing it. And I think alot of men realize this.

    Susan, I did the service for Memorial Day and on the way up to the cemetary, the Commander of the Legion said to me, that was a good service pastor, but boy howdy those boys who did the music, they had their guitar too loud, I couldn't make out the words. I had to agree with him. If we can't hear the words (which btw should be the most important part of the music), then it's really just a concert. The instrumentation is there to support the vocals, not be the focus.

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    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Blye View Post
    I find that men like anthems, songs that are declarations about God, and songs that are more cerebral in nature (hymns) and this is cross-generational. I am 36 and I find that I prefer them as well. The "lovey-dovey" "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs are a turnoff for many men. As a pastor another thing that bothers me is singing songs from us to God that make absolute statements about my amount of love or faith for Him. I mean, do we really "surrender all", do I actually "sing of his love forever", is Jesus really "my all in all"?

    If you don't mean it, don't sing it. And I think alot of men realize this.

    Susan, I did the service for Memorial Day and on the way up to the cemetary, the Commander of the Legion said to me, that was a good service pastor, but boy howdy those boys who did the music, they had their guitar too loud, I couldn't make out the words. I had to agree with him. If we can't hear the words (which btw should be the most important part of the music), then it's really just a concert. The instrumentation is there to support the vocals, not be the focus.
    I think that most of the heartburn we get from church music can be chalked up to rank amateurism. I know and have known a number of worship leaders whose theological training was almost as sparse as their music training. This isn't even about 'professional' musicians doing great music with no regard for the theological content, but is rather someone with better than average vocal skills who knows a few guitar chords and is thus deemed qualified to lead worship.

    If the guitars drown out the lyrics week after week, or if the song lyrics are diametrically opposed to the congregation's theological tradition, or if the song lyrics suggest a pseudo-sexual relationship with Jesus, or if the music leader closes his/her eyes and withdraws into a private worship closet and takes no notice of the congregation during every song, these are evidence of a leadership issue. I can't really blame an untrained person for not knowing any better, but I do wonder who among the congregation's leadership does know better and why they are asleep at the wheel.

    If I go to a fine restaurant and the food is terrible, I first ask why the chef doesn't know how to cook, and then I ask why the manager continues to employ a chef who can't cook. Likewise with a congregation where the pastor continues to employ/utilize a worship leader who is unqualified to lead worship. Really...this isn't rocket science.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis

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    Senior Member George Wallace's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?


    "Preach the gospel; if necessary use words" is like saying "feed the poor and; if necessary use food."
    Thanks John Kennedy, Greg Farra - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    The loss of musical literacy among congregational singers is one of those church wounds that has been self-inflicted. And the tragedy is that the self-infliction took place at the same time the administrators thereof were smugly proclaiming that getting people's attention away from the words in a book to the words on the wall was a guarantee that the church would experience immediate and phenomenal growrth. PURE UNADULTERATED HOGWASH!!!
    The prophets who so glibly proclaimed that the future could only be assured by relentlessly trashing the past have been shown to speak with forked tongue. Truth to tell they were more interested in trashing the past than in doing anything to substantively build for the future. Maybe someday I'll manage to work up enough courage to express my real feelings about them.

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    DO MEN STILL SING IN CHURCH?
    Some of the men do, some don't. Some of the women do, some don't.

    I've made it clear to the people in the church where I serve in music ministry that while I will prepare and present the best choral music possible comensurate with the resources I have available, if I'm not getting that congregation engaged in musical praise I won't feel like I'm doing my job.

    I've made it a point in the last few months to move down and stand in the center aisle when the congregation is singing. I've tried to make it clear that I consider congregational music to be THE 'special music' - and they're responding. (and yes, George, I can hear them blending very nicely with the organ - or the organ blending with them). If I ever have the opportunity to work with a worship band they won't be allowed to 'run away' with the music - I wouldn't allow the organist/pianist to do that sort of thing.

    I take great care in selecting music - in many respects it's the heart and soul of our liturgy (and it truly needs to be the 'work of the people'). Our minister allows me a great deal of latitude musically - I, in turn, consider myself to be ultimately accountable to him.

    I will never be able to comprehend what possesses a pastor to simply hand over one of the most vital components of corporate worship to someone with some musical talent but with no awareness of the dynamics of worship. I figure the ones who do pretty well deserve whatever happens to 'em.

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    btw - this thing of posting several items in a row is an idea I picked up from Dennis Scott.
    Laughing Marsha Lynn, Greg Farra, Susan Unger, Peggy Gray, Gina Stevenson - thanks for this funny post

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    Senior Member Mike Schutz's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    One more point is that I would prefer we not focus this issue in terms of gender. There were plenty of men who did not sing when the church sang just hymns or Gaither choruses, and there are plenty of women who don't sing now - and vice versa. This is not primarily about gender, it is about creating an environment conducive for participation.
    "Fully embracing the Gospel, fully engaging the world"

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    Senior Member Mike Schutz's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kennedy View Post
    The loss of musical literacy among congregational singers is one of those church wounds that has been self-inflicted.
    While I would love to agree with you on this, as we come down in the same place in the end, I'm afraid I cannot.
    Before the movement away from hymnals for the majority of congregations was the movement away from musical literacy in society and in the schools. The churches were the last bastion of teaching musical literacy, reading music and group singing. As my wife as been a music educator for over 30 years, she has witnessed the end of this in the schools. As early as twenty years ago in high school, the only choral students who could read music were those who either had private lessons or those involved in church singing. The students were no longer learning to read choral music in elementary school, nor in middle school general music. While the timing would vary in different parts of the country, the dramatic cuts in music and the arts was the real impetus behind the loss of music literacy. This began when folks who are now in their 30s and even 40s were in school. Thus, those churches that moved to projected music were responding to a problem, not necessarily creating one. Some churches could buck the trend, but really only those with a strong tradition in classical and choral music, often with music educators as music leaders, and who likely valued it enough to have paid music staff.
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    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schutz View Post
    One more point is that I would prefer we not focus this issue in terms of gender. There were plenty of men who did not sing when the church sang just hymns or Gaither choruses, and there are plenty of women who don't sing now - and vice versa. This is not primarily about gender, it is about creating an environment conducive for participation.
    The gender dynamic does suggest a different range of motivations than simply asking "Do people still sing in church?"

    Invariably the conclusion of the gender-specific questions is that men need steak and potatoes music with lots of concrete propositional belief statements, military/conquest metaphors, and clear black-and-white categories...as opposed to all this feeling stuff and aching for Jesus' embrace and dancing around in pastel-colored robes. These sorts of complains are more about the so-called feminization of the Church than about music.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schutz View Post
    While I would love to agree with you on this, as we come down in the same place in the end, I'm afraid I cannot.
    Before the movement away from hymnals for the majority of congregations was the movement away from musical literacy in society and in the schools. The churches were the last bastion of teaching musical literacy, reading music and group singing. As my wife as been a music educator for over 30 years, she has witnessed the end of this in the schools. As early as twenty years ago in high school, the only choral students who could read music were those who either had private lessons or those involved in church singing. The students were no longer learning to read choral music in elementary school, nor in middle school general music. While the timing would vary in different parts of the country, the dramatic cuts in music and the arts was the real impetus behind the loss of music literacy. This began when folks who are now in their 30s and even 40s were in school. Thus, those churches that moved to projected music were responding to a problem, not necessarily creating one. Some churches could buck the trend, but really only those with a strong tradition in classical and choral music, often with music educators as music leaders, and who likely valued it enough to have paid music staff.
    I would agree, to some extent. What has happened to music and the arts in K-12 education is tragic. And the current "test 'em to death in the name of accountability" idiocy certainly hasn't helped things. My contention, however, would be that the 'throw out the old and bring in the new' crowd didn't give a second thought to musical literacy or anything else.

    They piously and self-righteously did a search and destroy mission in the name of evangelism. I'm well acquainted with a number of situations in SoCal where that crowd moved in, did their thing and left churches that are just a shadow of what they once were.
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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    The gender dynamic does suggest a different range of motivations than simply asking "Do people still sing in church?"

    Invariably the conclusion of the gender-specific questions is that men need steak and potatoes music with lots of concrete propositional belief statements, military/conquest metaphors, and clear black-and-white categories...as opposed to all this feeling stuff and aching for Jesus' embrace and dancing around in pastel-colored robes. These sorts of complains are more about the so-called feminization of the Church than about music.
    While this is true, there is more and from what I've seen, gender plays a large role. Women will generally try harder than men will. Men tend to be more self conscious when singing, when they make a mistake, they silence themselves pretty quick. And your right, I believe that men do pay closer attention to the words, they aren't going to sing something that they disagree with.

    Range is also a sizable factor in recent years. We have dropped to singing in much lower keys than we used to, and some of the newer songs are written with no consideration for the fairly narrow range whereby everyone will be able to sing. I'll generally not pick a song unless it falls between a C on the lower end and an Eb on the top. And I'll generally place the higher songs later in the service. A good example is "Above All," it's pretty comfortable when sung in Ab, yet it seems that end up in F, where it's pretty much un singable for men as it puts it in the alto range.
    -Jim

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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kennedy View Post
    I would agree, to some extent. What has happened to music and the arts in K-12 education is tragic. And the current "test 'em to death in the name of accountability" idiocy certainly hasn't helped things. My contention, however, would be that the 'throw out the old and bring in the new' crowd didn't give a second thought to musical literacy or anything else.

    They piously and self-righteously did a search and destroy mission in the name of evangelism. I'm well acquainted with a number of situations in SoCal where that crowd moved in, did their thing and left churches that are just a shadow of what they once were.
    Agreed. The out with the old and in with the new crowd, often will eliminate choir and special music in the name of "professionalism." And there goes literacy out the door. Sure the schools used to teach more music, and sure we could do better with paid staff, but neither is necessary. Volunteer amateur choir directors have taught music in our churches for years with great results. But we have tossed them out, we don't need community in music worship anymore, it's a closed club in many of the out with the old churches, it's now a spectator sport.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Our choir ended because the people didn't want to do it anymore. I got blamed for "killing" the choir when I came. Out with the old, in with the new but the truth was when the choir got behind closed doors a lot of them were tired of the level of commitment it required to put a choir on every Sunday. Turns out many of them were doing it because they felt ashamed when they didn't. We took a summer off and in the fall they choose not to come back. Strangely many of the people who complained the most about the loss of the choir were folks who loved to have it in worship but seemed not to participate much themselves.

    Everytime I hear about the end of choirs I can't help wondering how many choir members secretly rejoiced. Many of the former choir folks joined one of our four rotating praise teams and several went on to give time to other departments. -- Just say'n
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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    I'm with Mike. I think people don't sing in church because they don't sing nearly as much in general. Blame it on Radio. Used to be people stood around the piano and sang, or just sang acapella around the living room. They learned to sing parts by ear very early and most girls learned the piano and a lot of boys did as well. Then radio showed up and instead they listened to that... and thus began the long slowed slide in music literacy. Now, they play videogames of them playing instruments and they watch videos and download mp3's of others singing. - The world changed and like it always does, the church changed with it.
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    Senior Member Gary Condon's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox;209173

    but I do wonder who among the congregation's leadership [U
    does[/U] know better and why they are asleep at the wheel.

    If I go to a fine restaurant and the food is terrible, I first ask why the chef doesn't know how to cook, and then I ask why the manager continues to employ a chef who can't cook. Likewise with a congregation where the pastor continues to employ/utilize a worship leader who is unqualified to lead worship. Really...this isn't rocket science.
    Good point and I have a suggestion. Let's pick a date sometime in the near future that we will all go to the manager and ask if he knows that the chef can't cook.

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    Senior Member Gary Condon's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Maybe the decline started when we no longer had time to sing campfire songs with our kids.

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    Senior Member Marsha Lynn's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Condon View Post
    Maybe the decline started when we no longer had time to sing campfire songs with our kids.
    There may be multiple cultural changes resulting in less singing in society in general.

    During a summer program at the library, I decided we would use jump ropes. It turns out today's kids don't know how to jump rope. It also turns out I don't remember much about rope-jumping in a group setting. All those sing-song rhymes we used to do? It turns out they weren't extraneous to the process. They establish and maintain the rhythm of the rope. Without them, the whole thing falls apart.

    I think the same used to be true for various tasks aboard rowing or sailing vessels. I wonder how many other manual tasks, now done by machines, used to require group singing or chanting (by men, no less) to establish rhythm. Marching comes to mind. Do today's soldiers ever sing as they march?

    Marsha
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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Lynn View Post
    There may be multiple cultural changes resulting in less singing in society in general.

    During a summer program at the library, I decided we would use jump ropes. It turns out today's kids don't know how to jump rope. It also turns out I don't remember much about rope-jumping in a group setting. All those sing-song rhymes we used to do? It turns out they weren't extraneous to the process. They establish and maintain the rhythm of rope. Without them, the whole thing falls apart.

    I think the same used to be true for various tasks aboard rowing or sailing vessels. I wonder how many other manual tasks, now done by machines, used to require group singing or chanting (by men, no less) to establish rhythm. Marching comes to mind. Do today's soldiers ever sing as they march?

    Marsha
    Great insight.
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    Senior Member Charlene Clevenger's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    After a summer off a few years ago our choir re-formed, but we only sing occasionally. We try to meet for rehearsal every Wednesday, then when the director thinks we're ready and we have space in the service, we sing. It's nothing regular. Probably about once a month. That may not be the best way, but it works for us.
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    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Lynn View Post
    There may be multiple cultural changes resulting in less singing in society in general.
    This is a good question, although with at least 3 singing-oriented talent shows on TV, vocal music is not becoming a lost art. If anything, singing is becoming like professional sports, where one either aspires to star status or quits during adolescence or young adulthood when it becomes apparent that they don't have the talent/skill.

    It's tempting to mourn the decline of musical literacy, but it's more interesting to examine (as you have) why it is falling out of favor and the opposite question, "why was musical literacy important in previous generations?"

    I think that the church actually has an enviable position with regard to music. On any given Sunday, virtually every Christian congregation in the world has live music of some sort, with a fair amount of it participatory. Even if there is no preaching due to a special program, or if Sunday School is canceled due to a holiday weekend, there will still be live music. I don't think that is just a matter of tradition, otherwise so-called non-traditional congregations would dispense with music altogether in favor of doing more important things.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    This is a good question, although with at least 3 singing-oriented talent shows on TV, vocal music is not becoming a lost art. If anything, singing is becoming like professional sports, where one either aspires to star status or quits during adolescence or young adulthood when it becomes apparent that they don't have the talent/skill.

    It's tempting to mourn the decline of musical literacy, but it's more interesting to examine (as you have) why it is falling out of favor and the opposite question, "why was musical literacy important in previous generations?"

    I think that the church actually has an enviable position with regard to music. On any given Sunday, virtually every Christian congregation in the world has live music of some sort, with a fair amount of it participatory. Even if there is no preaching due to a special program, or if Sunday School is canceled due to a holiday weekend, there will still be live music. I don't think that is just a matter of tradition, otherwise so-called non-traditional congregations would dispense with music altogether in favor of doing more important things.
    Interesting side note... while all small churches have live music in terms of folks singing, increasingly they do not have live musicians. A lot of "music in a box" out there these days.
    It is not enough to be right, you have to be like Jesus.
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    Host Fun & Prayer forums Gina Stevenson's Avatar

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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Agree with you, Billy ... this aligns with a tho't I've had "forever" ... "What would we do without music!?" It definitely is such an important part of life ~~ maybe moreso to some than others. Cannot imagine life with absolutely no music ...............
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    Re: Do men still sing in church?

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig Laughlin View Post
    Interesting side note... while all small churches have live music in terms of folks singing, increasingly they do not have live musicians. A lot of "music in a box" out there these days.
    The church in which I serve is small (ave weekly attendance - 110 +/-), yet they consider music to be such a high priority that they hire both an organist/accompanist and myself on a part-time basis. She gets paid more than I do, but she's worth every cent of it. I normally have about 10-12 voices (like I said, a praise team with a pipe organ) and will have about 15-16 on a 'high' Sunday.

    I enjoy the job so much that I'd probably do it on an unpaid basis, but the fact that the church is willing to budget for music is a tremendous boost to my morale. God knows I spent enough years doing music gratis and still having to deal with some issues that have been blessedly absent where I now serve.
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