Music: Where to Start?

Resource Type: Articles

This is an introduction to a series of articles on how best to encourage music.

“I can’t sing,” my pastor told me. “I wish I could, but I can’t sing a note.” I was surprised. His children love to sing, and their family really adds to the music of our Sunday morning services. When they’re gone, I can’t just unobtrusively switch to bass and assume that the soprano will carry strongly. Why can his children sing when he can’t?

Or what about another friend, who enjoys singing, but needs to follow someone else who’s singing her part. What keeps her from singing with more confidence? 

Then there are other friends who don’t consider themselves musical. But they love to listen to music when they’re driving, and they sing along with their favorite songs. Why do they stop there—and why doesn’t this make them “musical”?

Should we even care about answering these questions? I think so. Singing is an integral part of our church services. People’s favorite songs help them through tough times. Here at SCMC, we hear from all kinds of Anabaptist communities. It seems like music is one of the big things that everyone talks about and cares about.

So in this series of articles, I’ll be exploring this guiding question: “How can we encourage the most valuable kinds of music in our homes and communities?” This is a sort of cultural travelogue, where I wander through the musical world and make observations about the landscape.

To find this out, I’ll first need to answer some other questions, each of which will build on the one before:

  • What is the importance of music and the role it plays in cultures and individuals?
  • What kinds of music are most valuable for these reasons? What should be emphasized in our music?
  • What’s a healthy view of singing, and do we have it?
  • When and how are good singing abilities and attitudes learned?

To help me answer these questions, I’ll be interviewing people and doing plenty of research. This series of articles will document my progress through these issues.

The advantage of writing these articles as I learn is that you can join me on the journey and learn at the same time that I’m learning. Perhaps you can speak into that journey as well, recommending people to interview and articles and studies to read.

First I’m going to interview several people on the question of “Why music?” Stay tuned for the results.

Until next time,

Lynn Martin

Lynn Martin serves as administrative assistant at SCMC. Because he loves to sing, he's often been a student at the VA camp and has sung in other choirs too. He writes poetry and edits the Curator (, a publication for Anabaptist poets and writers. He also enjoys such things as theology, playing oboe, and lame jokes.
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