traditional and contemporary worship music: strengths and weaknesses

From Grace Hennig

Traditional and contemporary worship music side by side

Contemporary worship music
Strengths
                                                          Weaknesses
Music is appealing to many
                                                          Loses appeal quickly; disposable
High priority placed on doing music well
                                                          Possible unbalanced emphasis on effect
Introduces variety 
                                                          Music is unfamiliar and not worship-like for some
Texts are simple
                                                          Texts can be generic; doctrinally weak
Personal, emotional connection to a song
                                                          Texts may center more on the individual than Christ
Engaging; powerful vocal display
                                                          Soloistic; hard to sing along for some
Refrain is memorable and singable
                                                          Melody more important than text

Traditional worship music
Strengths
                                                          Weaknesses
Simple and beautiful tunes endure over time
                                                          Tunes that are not engaging can hide a good text
Easy for people to do with simple accompaniment
                                                          Too much organ for some
Music comes from the people, not a soloist or team
                                                          When group singing is poor—can feel awkward
Old favorites are sung often
                                                          Not enough variety
Texts can be poetic, beautiful, strong, biblical
                                                          Some may lack patience for learning “thicker” texts
Continuity from week to week
                                                          Worship can become rote or unengaging
Congregation can sing unaccompanied, in parts
                                                          Not enough people know how to read music

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