History of Church Music

Ep. 11: Musical Training for Priests and Other Topics in Orthodox Church Music, with Harrison Russin

Try This at Church: Use timbre to change your liturgical colors. Picking up on last week’s episode about using music to set Lent apart as a special season of the year, Stephen writes that he changes his musical “liturgical color” during Lent.

Interview: We discuss the musical training of ministerial students with Harrison Russin, Lecturer in Liturgical Music and Dean’s Fellow at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (Yonkers, NY). He also shares his experience directing a choir in non-metrical chants; surveys the (many!) kinds of Orthodox music heard in churches across the U.S.; and explains why some Orthodox churches have organs, but most don’t. Continue reading →

Posted by sarah.bereza in Choral Music, History of Church Music, Instrumental Music, Podcast, 0 comments

Ep. 5: Bringing a Researcher’s Mindset to Music Ministry, with Carrie Allen Tipton, and the 4 Sundays of Advent

Try This At Church: If your church serves alcohol at functions (like a Christmas choir party!), make sure there’s something non-alcoholic that’s equally festive to drink.

In the Field: The Four Weeks of Advent—have recurring themes! Crawford and I discuss what hymns fit which each Sunday’s themes, including one that delighted my son in utero.

InterviewDr. Carrie Allen Tipton is a musicologist who hosts the podcast Notes on Bach, sponsored by the Bach Society HoustonNotes on Bach is a monthly series of interviews with scholars and musicians who work with Baroque music and issues around music like theology. Today, we discuss the benefits of bringing a researcher’s mindset to the ministry of church music.

Continue reading →

Posted by Sarah Bereza in Church Music Administration, Congregational Singing, History of Church Music, Music and Theology, Podcast

Ep. 3: The History of Contemporary Worship with Swee Hong Lim and Lester Ruth

Interview: Dr. Swee Hong Lim and Dr. Lester Ruth discuss their new book Lovin’ on Jesus: A Concise History of Contemporary Worship.

It’s an exploration of the origins of contemporary worship—including contemporary worship music. In our conversation, we discuss the implications their research has on church music today: What should traditional church consider if they want to add a contemporary service and will it attract young people? Can blended worship services have integrity? And how do different theologies of worship shape church services?

Continue reading →

Posted by Sarah Bereza in Contemporary Worship, History of Church Music, Music and Theology, Podcast

What’s So Important About Church Acoustics? An Infographic

The acoustics of every congregational worship space, from living room to cathedral, affect how people experience services there. And if a space was built for church services, then the planners chose to prioritize certain kinds of sound.

Everything shaping sounds waves in these spaces mediates the sounds people hear—everything from the kind of flooring to the height of the ceiling to how many people are gathered and whether they are wearing winter coats.

Here’s an infographic with snapshots on the ways churches have approached acoustics over the centuries. Continue reading →

Posted by Sarah Bereza in Congregational Singing, History of Church Music, Music and Theology

What Did the Early Church Think About Music?

When writing about church music, people often cherrypick early church leaders’ words to support or not support a present-day practice or viewpoint.

It goes like this: “Shiny quote from Augustine. Therefore, do/don’t do XYZ in church.”

If you’re talking about How Church Music Should Be, it’s easy to pull soundbites from people like Basil the Great and Augustine because these men did have things to say on the topic.

But they didn’t necessarily say or think what you think they did. And, what they seem to say doesn’t necessarily translate to present-day issues.

Enter Music in Early Christian Literature. It’s an excellent starting place to get a fuller picture on what leaders in the early church thought about music. Continue reading →

Posted by Sarah Bereza in History of Church Music, Music and Theology