I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.Psalm 34:1-3
As a church musician I know it’s hard to find time to practice a song for a special or offertory. And when you make it a group number, the more people involved, the harder it is to get together for practice.
For that reason, a lot of us prefer to perform solo. It’s easier to prepare, true—but it’s also tempting to get up and “wing it.” Your turn has come, and you’re not ready, so you open the hymnal and sing something, or you pull out a song you’ve done fifteen times already, and you do it again simply because you know it and feel comfortable with it.
But I ask, is that worship? Yes, there are plenty of songs worthy of repeating, but may I challenge you to repeat them because of the message they bear, and not because you were too lazy to learn something new.
May I also challenge you to put together more duets, trios, quartets, and ensembles—both vocal and instrumental. When looking for your next piano offertory, pick a duet, and then pick a partner. Not only does the preparation time unite you with your fellow musicians, forming a special bond of friendship, but it also pleases the Lord when we put forth the effort to strive for excellence in our worship. And it blesses the hearers too.
Just as there’s a time for repeating familiar songs, there’s also a time for solo performances. But group performances should be the rule rather than the exception. I believe this is scriptural. After all, in the Old Testament in particular, where worship music is spoken of quite frequently, it is almost always in the context of choirs and instrumental ensembles.
Are you working on a special for August? Talk with your fellow musicians, and ask them to join you, saying, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!”