Often times, a director has the most difficult position of the choir. Besides the regular planning and preparation for Sunday liturgy, unseen obstacles will surface. In the past 15 years, no two Masses have ever been the same for us.
This page will discuss how to address those obstacles, while maintaining the proper direction of the ministry. But first, share your experience in music ministry with us. How has your direction been challenged in Catholic music ministry?
There are times when musicians and religious do not see eye to eye. We can recount a handful of times when we arrived at a parish to provide music for a wedding, and the available parish staff were less than hospitable and even disrespectful at times. Thank goodness those times did not influence the Mass, and all went well for the special day. Thank goodness we have been fortunate to work with many more clergy members who are very supportive, respectful, and communicate well.
This category of blog posts will give some insight to musicians on how to best work with clergy of the Catholic Church. We will also provide information to clergy on ways that they can better communicate to musicians the requirements and suggestions for Catholic music ministry.
The most important aspect to keep in mind in relation to each other is that we are all in service to God. None of us are in this line of service for the riches on this Earth. We must respect one another’s role and be wise to only be of service to the Body of Christ, the people. We are here to help children of God encounter Christ. We all must be the hands and feet of Jesus, and do better every day to work joyfully together.
We will soon post the 5 Tips every priest wants Catholic musicians to know. Follow our blog to get these tips and other great information in relation to Catholic music ministry.
Ever feel like your throat feels extra dry right before it is time to sing? Many vocalists do not know how much time it takes for water to actually hydrate your vocal folds. People in general do not even know how to tell when their body is letting them know that dehydration is near.
Water of Life
Some say it takes 20 minutes for water to reach your vocal chords, while others say your body actually takes almost 24 hours to really hydrate. Then, you also have to incorporate how much caffeine you have had within the day and the amount of sweating from physical activities. In reality, the most important organs, such as the heart, gets first dibs on the water that you drink, so the vocal chords have to wait their turn.
Regardless if it takes 20 minutes or 20 hours, you can not simply drink water right before you sing or as you sing, and it actually help you sing easier. Also, it does not matter if you are a part of a choir or a soloist; it is still just as important for you to hydrate your instrument.
Drink small amounts of water frequently throughout the day for the best chance to keep your voice ready for any singing or speaking engagements. Keep in mind that room temperature drinks are best to allow the muscles needed to sing to function at their highest level.
Now, tell us what your singing tips and tricks are for healthy singing! One of my favorites is to drink warm (not hot) honey chamomile tea throughout the day. Be sure to check back often for more insight on what it takes to be a vocalist in the Catholic Church.
Now, we all know those vocalists who hear a very spiritual song and think that they can sing it like the original artist. Furthermore, they decide that it would be fantastic to sing it during the Mass for all parishioners to enjoy. Although this may be true in rare cases, I will be the first to admit that in most cases that is not the case. Here is what the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council has to say to those musicians.
11. It should be borne in mind that the true solemnity of liturgical worship depends less on a more ornate form of singing and a more magnificent ceremonial than on its worthy and religious celebration, which takes into account the integrity of the liturgical celebration itself, and the performance of each of its parts according to their own particular nature. To have a more ornate form of singing and a more magnificent ceremonial is at times desirable when there are the resources available to carry them out properly; on the other hand it would be contrary to the true solemnity of the liturgy if this were to lead to a part of the action being omitted, changed, or improperly performed. (Musicam Sacram)
Did you get all that? To simplify, it means acknowledge what your God-given talents are and put the Liturgy of the Mass before your own ambitions. The Mass is the highest form of worship in the Catholic Church, and we must be wise to always keep that in mind. Remember that in parts of the world, the Mass is celebrated without musicians and sound equipment, and still hearts are changed and the Holy Spirit is always present. As musicians we can get caught up in wanting to do more, but sometimes it is a simple “Seek Ye First” that will make a person tear up. Our job is to maintain the “true solemnity of liturgical worship” as stated above, and simply encourage parishioners to open their senses to hear God’s call for their life.
It also states above to “carry them out properly” relating to a more ornate form of singing. This will definitely be a blog post in the near future!
Now, I want to ask you a question. As a parishioner, how has a musician that has been over ambitious affected your time at Mass? As a musician, have you ever realized that you were attempting to do more than your talents would allow or had to address someone who was in that situation? Tell us about your experiences.