The Need for Training

BYU does a great job training their music majors in the area of church music.  From music history classes to organ lessons to composition and conducting courses, the subject of church music is taught and discussed.  However, most church members in LDS music callings have not received this training and are left to their local leaders for training.  It is the responsibility of the Stake and Ward Music Chairmen to ensure that appropriate training takes place.  We’ve all heard them, the church music stories that make us cringe.  Below are some examples of why church music training is essential.

LDS Music Stories

sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes embarrassing, and 100% TRUE

  • Arizona: a man sings Michael Jackson’s, “Man in the Mirror” for a Sacrament Meeting musical number
  • Idaho: Sacrament Meeting on the 4th of July, Opening Hymn, “God Save the King”
  • California: for a musical number in Sacrament Meeting a member of the bishopric puts a boombox on the podium and pushes the play button so the congregation can listen to Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American”
  • California: a girl accompanies herself on the piano while singing into a boom mic a pop-style version of “I Know that My Redeemer Lives”
  • Utah: in a 2006 Primary Program Presentation in Sacrament Meeting the children go retro singing a Mormon pop favorite from the 80’s
  • New York: the dress rehearsal for a Stake Christmas Fireside revealed one of the musical selections as “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (The Stake Pres. caught wind and canceled that song in the nick of time)
  • Pennsylvania: A woman has the congregation join in with her, swaying and holding their pointer fingers up as they all sing “This Little Light of Mine”
  • California: a congregation is confused when they can’t reach the notes of a hymn. The organist failed to see that the transposition knob had been turned to sound a 5th higher.
  • Utah: an over-zealous choir director convinces a struggling ward choir of 12 that they can perform Wilhousky’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. The performance left the congregation wishing for ear plugs.
  • Arizona: an over-populated ward fails to provide hymn books or print hymn text in the programs leaving 50% of it’s members (all those packed in the cultural hall) unable to sing the Sacrament Meeting Hymns each Sunday.
  • California: an organist leaves town with the key to the organ leaving a congregation without accompaniment for Sacrament Meeting.
  • Arizona: a woman sings the solo “The Wind Beneath My Wings” in Sacrament Meeting

Each of these little errors really happened, although I don’t think it’s appropriate to embarrass the wards/stakes so I’ve chosen to keep the exact location/date confidential.

Do you have a true story you’d like to share?

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2 Responses to “The Need for Training”

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California: a man sings Amy Grant’s “El Shaddai” in sacrament meeting.

Fagaloa, Samoa; A relief society mother of 4 bears her testimony and starts with “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” and raises her right arm while shaking her head along.


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