If congregational singing is a primary goal, how should leaders think about musical accompaniment?
If church leaders want to develop and emphasize congregational singing, they should strive for musical accompaniment that is mere and enhancing, rather than full and enveloping.
Mere and enhancing. In order to encourage congregational singing, musical accompaniment should support and enhance the singing. This means that the musical accompaniment should be loud enough to be heard but not so loud that it risks substituting itself for the voices. In terms of instrumentation, this means that less is generally more.
NOT full and enveloping. In other words, the musical accompaniment shouldn’t create a wall of sound that swallows up the singing. Loud, enveloping musical accompaniment will tend to discourage singing rather than encourage it. When was the last time you tried to compete with an orchestra, or a choir, or a fully amplified rock band? How did it go?
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