Is It Necessary To Read Music To Serve On Worship Team?

Featuring Tony Marvelli Posted on February 21, 2011

Is it necessary to read music to be considered a good musician?

     That’s a great question!  Being a “good musician” is a term that can be obfuscated with multiple entendre.  Many people can expertly play a musical instrument but cannot read music. Does that mean they are not good musicians? They can have excellent technique, make no mistakes, and still not be able to “read the dots”.
     British keyboardist and producer Dave Stewart is quoted in his book “The Musician’s Guide to Reading and Writing Music” on the topic as follows:

“…Musical notation—or “the dots”, in ageing hipster terminology—is a quick and easy aid to communication and memory.  Consider the problems of learning and remembering songs-when you first start playing, it’s easy enough to pick up certain chords like E, A, and D, which don’t require notation.  But after a while, inevitably, you start running into F minors and Bb7s, and the confusion begins.  Was it F6 for 7 bars or E7 for 6 bars?  At this point people begin to jot down chord symbols on pieces of paper for reference, but this system does not work for writing down melodies or rhythm patterns.  Although musicians can remember arrangements simply by playing through them enough times, they tend to forget them just as easily—it’s amazing how much you forget in a week let alone a year.  Given this, and the need to explain your musical ideas to other musicians quickly and efficiently, there really is no substitute for the conventional notation system.”

    There is no doubt you are able to play a musical instrument with a degree of skill that surpasses the average person. Thus, you are a musician.  The question then becomes, “Are you a well rounded musician?”  If you want to answer “yes” to this question, reading music is essential to being truthful in the eyes of God and others.  You have been given a great gift—the gift of music and song—one that is held in high regard throughout scripture.  In the book of Numbers 18:29, we are told to “…present as the Lord’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.”
    It is true you may only perform music in church for two services on Sunday morning, Wednesday night service, and maybe a rehearsal somewhere in between.  Even so, it is important to give the very best of your talent and fully develop the skill sets required to bear the best fruit of your talent. In Malachi 3:8 God asks of man, “How do you rob me? In your offerings!”  If you put forth the very best effort as a musician, you must also put forth the very best of your ability in the fundamental skill sets to become a well rounded musician.  Thus, you honor the congregation you serve and honor God with the “best and holiest part of everything given” to you.

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