Thoughtfully, Please
Do Not Compete With The Singing!

(Lance Landall, a friend of mine in the South Pacific wrote this poem on the problems that sometimes come when church musicians are using their talents to showcase their abilities and thus compete with the singing that should be paramount. You can find more of Lance's poetry at this site: http://www.poetrywithamission.co.nz)

Dear church organist, or pianist — I value my hearing, Thus, playing rather softly, will show me that you’re caring. You’re meant to accompany — not compete with — the congregation, Lest you assault their ears, displease God, provoke irritation.

Accompanying instruments should be chosen carefully, And particularly so, when dealing with the holy; A saxophone — as a case in point — may sound too sultry. But whatever’s used, shouldn’t clash with the voice, cause injury.

Singing should always come FIRST — it’s the WORDS, God wants to hear, Thus, nothing should drown them out — they should be heard, firm and clear. Instruments should simply aid, enhance unobtrusively, Not clamour for attention, nor, act somewhat exclusively.

And please don’t get carried away with your ability, Lest eyes soon be drawn to you, depriving God of glory. After all, you’re there to help shine the light on Him — Him alone, For it’s His time, His territory, and where ‘self’ we dethrone.

Even the congregation should exercise some restraint, And with an appropriate volume themselves acquaint. For it’s fervour, not loudness, that registers with our Lord, Plus, even with that which is good, one can go overboard.

Often mikes are used, or some other amplification, That ups the sound of instruments — then the congregation. Such isn’t always needed; can overpower, unpleasantly, Thus, one can struggle to hear their own voice — upsettingly.

When musicians or congregation put balance in jeopardy, Quality and integrity soon become the casualty. And reverence suffers too, hence the need to take great care, For when we meet for worship, the angels our worship share.

By Lance Landall