By Christin Cooper, Assistant Music Director for Children
As the days of social distancing continue to linger on, many of us are missing specific things about being in church. Maybe it’s the sound of the organ, the scent of the altar flowers, or the taste of a delicious donut. Prior to the outbreak of COVID 19, most of us would have considered these experiences to be some of the “little” things we love about church. Now we realize just how big an impact these “little” things have on our worship experience.
The biggest loss for me has been the loss of making music together, in real time, with other musicians. This experience is simply irreplaceable, since music is all about timing and listening. Being in the same room is important for these elements to take shape and have meaning. In order to fill this void, many have turned to the latest virtual choir for an approximation of this experience in the abstract. There are a lot of benefits and drawbacks to this new world of virtual music making, but that’s not what I’m most interested in. For me, the more fulfilling path is the development of a personal spiritual practice of music-making.
This situation has got me thinking about the difference between active and passive musical experiences, and what opportunities our current circumstances present for the development of more active and personal participation in worship music. As we enter the summer months, you can expect some new programming ideas inviting you to take an active role in your own at-home worship music experience - have you ever wanted to learn how to sing a psalm? Or learn more about the hymns in our hymnal and how to sing them? How about learning how to make a joyful noise together in a family sing-a-long? What about the simple act of connecting with other parish musicians on a Zoom call?
These are the questions that most intrigue and energize me as a person and as a musician. This is active participation in music. This is music-making as an expression of faith. This is singing as spiritual practice.