Friday, November 03, 2006
How To Improve Church Music III: What's A Pastor To Do
A pastor has to hire a competent professional he can trust, who is close to agreement with him in pastoral and theological philosophy. Then let go. Aside from that, priests can do a lot of familiarize themselves with music, even if their seminary training was deficient. I would suggest some of these: - Attend choral concerts in your area. Listen to the best of church groups and community chorales and get a sense of what a real music director might accomplish in your parish. Invite the choir director to join you and talk about church music in a friendly way over a beer or a coffee after the performance. - Listen to lots of music. - Attend an occasional choir rehearsal and sing with the people. Get a sense of how your music director works with folks and get a better sense of how choir members see the church, pray in it, or what their challenges might be in doing so. - Encourage organists--your own or someone else--to give lessons on the parish instrument. - Host a concert every now and then, or maybe gather a group of parishioners to start a regular concert series. - Provide a generous budget for your musicians to broaden their skills. - Ask for an occasional voice lesson. It will help your singing voice, but you can also apply the physical principles you learn to your speaking voice. You'll become a better homilist through a stronger set of physical skills. Regular voice lessons would be a great idea if you regularly chant the prayers of the Mass, but a "consultation" once or twice a year can be very helpful, especially if you schedule it just before the Easter Vigil and Christmas. Any other suggestions from the gallery?