Musical Ward Touring
On a recent trip I visited four wards in New York, Pennsylvania and Missouri. What were my observations regarding music in those wards?
1. Only one ward I visited, which was in upstate New York, had an organist who could actually play the organ, pedals and all. Of course the other wards had people attempting to play the organ but it’s just not the same.
2. Only one congregation sang the hymns with strength and conviction. Can you guess which ward it was? The one with the real organist.
3. All wards had rest hymns but only one ward had the congregation stand for the rest hymn. Yes, once again it was the New York ward.
So why am I highlighting that New York ward? I think it is amazing that in wards where trained musicians are directing and accompanying the congregation responds with increased participation in the form of hymn singing. So what can we as ward musicians do to get those same results? Training. If you are a music chairman please train the people in your ward music callings. If you are in a ward music calling and feel like you need more training there are several ways to improve your skills. Music directors can receive help through LDS.org/churchmusic, by practicing with these videos, or by taking directing lessons at a local college or from a private instructor. Organists can improve their skills through diligent practice at the church, by taking private lessons, or through online tutorials.
When musicians are well-trained they provide the opportunity for ward members to enjoy the spirit of the hymns and the singing of the hymns without the distractions that come from issues like note mistakes, hymns played too slow/fast, or organ registrations that are ear piercing or slushy. How are you doing at improving your musical skills?