How To Improve Our Singing (II)
Congregational singing improves when members desire to develop their abilities in the mechanics of music. A song has words, melody, harmony, and rhythm. To sing the words of a song, we must either memorize them or read them. To sing the melody, harmony and rhythm of a song we must also either memorize or read music.
Therefore, the command to sing necessitates learning something about singing. Regular classes in singing need to be conducted by a local congregation along with their Bible classes. A singing school for one week about every three or four years will help a little but not much. When classes are conducted on a regular basis the more capable singers will help those who are weak in singing. This must not be neglected, because the younger members learn how to sing praises to God from older members. In our Bible classes the more knowledgeable members of the class are a tremendous help to those who are less knowledgeable. The same is true in singing classes. We must keep in mind that we want our singing abilities to improve so that our praise to God will improve. Surely we all know that God wants the best praise we can give Him.
Song leaders have a lot to do with making a song service effective. They must realize that they are leading God's people in praise to God. This is an important task and needs to be taken seriously. Leaders need to know that they are not up in front of the audience to perform, but to direct their brothers and sisters in Christ in sincere worship to God. A song leader must have sincerity, humility, and enthusiasm in his heart. This influences the church to have the same attitude. A song leader needs to learn how to pitch songs so that all members can participate in that song. Since we don't use mechanical instruments of music, we have to get the singable pitch another way. The song leader needs to learn something about the tempo or speed of a song. Singing too fast or too slow will destroy the effectiveness of a song service. A song leader needs to use some discretion in selecting songs, especially in the assemblies on the first day of the week. New songs should be learned in classes that are designed for that purpose.
Congregational singing is always better when every member is familiar with the song that is being led. One of the best ways for a song leader to improve his ability in leading is to observe and study with a more experienced song leader. Preachers learn to preach by studying with more experienced preachers. All who lead singing should have the attitude that they can always improve their abilities as song leaders. Many have attended song leaders’ schools and have received a lot of good from a week of studying how to be a more effective leader of praise. Some congregations have sent their song leaders to such schools and have seen great improvement. However, an experienced song leader in a local church can help young men learn how to lead if they want to learn.
Tuning the voice is great, but remember that tuning the heart is greater. When one desires to express his faith, hope, love, and joy in the Lord, he will put forth the effort to learn psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Even though it is congregational singing, it is an individual matter. May God help each one of us to say: "I can improve, and I am going to improve my ability in worshipping God in song."
— R. J. Stevens