Ep. 4: Who Listens to Contemporary Worship Music, with Mark Porter | How Your Church’s Acoustics Can Work For You


Try This at Church: Invite people to join the choir for just Christmas or Easter. They get the opportunity to sing without a long-term commitment, and you get a strengthened choir on days of the year when many regular choir members are likely to be traveling.

In the Field: The acoustics of a church building can make or break your music. Crawford and I discuss ways to embrace the space you have, change it to suit your preferences, or, you know, just throw up your hands and say, I want to do the music I want to do.

Resources we mention: a blog post on theology and church buildings’ designs (Richard Cullen Rath has insight on this in How Early America Sounded). And miking the piano means you can play softer congregational accompaniments—read more on pages 225-6 of my dissertation.

Interview: Contemporary worship music is often billed as the same style of music people listen to outside of church. But Dr. Mark Porter’s new book, Contemporary Worship Music and Everyday Musical Lives explores how this is often not the case, and argues against the idea that music is a neutral canvas.

Follow Mark on Twitter and check out his website (which has links to many articles he’s written—this one on Christian congregational studies is really useful if you want to understand what researchers are studying.)

A resource Mark mentions: Jeffery Summit’s outstanding work on music in contemporary Judaism.

Listen to Episode 4

You can listen from this webpage by clicking the play button below. You can also listen and subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher, and other podcast players. Because Music and the Church is a new podcast with common words in the title, you might need to search with our names (Sarah Bereza or Crawford Wiley) to find it in your podcast player.