Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Getty's tips on Congregational Singing

Contemporary Hymn writer Keith Getty offers some advice on congregational singing in a blog post Five Ways to Improve Congregational Singing. He has just returned from a tour that involved meetings with pastors and worship leaders. Reflecting on this he makes the observation that I myself have made and that never fails to amaze me:
In each of those leadership events, I posed the question, “What are the things you ask yourself on Monday morning, in reviewing Sunday’s services?” Generally, the responses centered around production values, stylistic issues, people management, pleasing the pastor, or finishing the service on time. I do not recall that any one asked, “How did the congregation sing?”
It seems curious that in a generation that has produced innumerable conferences, articles, blogs, and even university degree programs on “worship,” the topic of congregational singing hasn’t been raised more often.
He then offers his five suggestions--check them out for yourself. He concludes with this suggestion:
Why not in 2014 begin the Monday morning review by asking, “How did the congregation sing?” and, “How can we help them do it better?"
Good questions Keith!


  1. That's why I read your blog. Few people are talking about the singing. In a way, it's a hot button because it is so laden with opinions. So unless one is willing to take the load, one shouldn't ask. I think asking and listening opens great doors of communication. You hear stuff that stings AND you hear amazing stuff, too!

    1. Thanks for reading the blog. I think the question "How did the congregation sing?" is a good one because it holds the possibility of moving beyond the worship wars and people's personal favorite songs and hymns. It is a more objective question than "did you like the music today?" or "Did the songs help you worship?"
      As my wife and I continue to work as musicians in our own congregation, the question we have formulated for folks is "How can we better help you participate in the singing?" To answer it -- even if the answer stings--the person first has to move themselves from the psychological standpoint of the audience/critic to that of active participant.