Music in Worship

Hello readers!

For my second blog post of the semester, I was assigned to write about how I’ve been affected through music in worship. Many times I’ve led my church with old hymnals, and many others I’ve been the audience members. Music in worship is always such an intense, captivating experience for me regardless of which role I play.

This semester, I started going to a church in Belton every Wednesday night with my roommates called Vista. The service always starts with two people leading us all in a song or two and every song moves me. The power of the lyrics blended with the dynamics and emotion behind the music itself, and not to mention the love of God that everybody around me always shares. Every time they play and sing I look around and observe all the other students there. You’d be absolutely AMAZED at how many people have their hands raised, eyes closed, singing at the top of their lungs not caring what they sound like, simply because they are singing for God, and that’s all that matters. This past week, they sang a song called “One Thing Remains,” and I literally had chills all over, and tears in my eyes from the emotion I felt from everybody else in the room. I can’t put into words how amazing it is to see everybody join together to praise our God. I think music is an enjoyable thing for most people as it is, and when you match music itself with songs for a Divine Power, the results are absolutely overpowering. Music is often one of my favorite parts of worship. Maybe I like the way it seems to speak to me so clearly, or maybe it’s the way everybody swallows their pride and shouts it as loud as they can. Maybe it’s seeing how it affects other people. Maybe it’s all of these things together. I strongly believe music is an incredibly important part of worship, because of the way it moves me and others around me, because of the way it brings us together, because of the power it has to send chills down our spine and bring tears to our eyes, because of the way it makes us feel free from everything, and most importantly, because of the message it sends to us to remind us we are loved.

Theory in Reality

Hello readers!

For my first post this semester, I was assigned to write about a time I used my theory training in a real life situation. Many people probably look at music theory (sort of like math)¬†and think, “When am I ever going to need this?” Personally, I think I use music theory almost every day. I’m a guitar player, and when I’m learning a new song, I would much rather try to teach myself how to play it first. If I absolutely can’t figure it out, I will resort to looking it up online (though it usually makes me feel like I fail as a musician).

Luckily, the further I go into my theory training, the more I learn about chord progressions and how they fit together. When I sit down and try to figure out a song and how to play it while I sing, if I can’t figure out a chord, I’ll start by narrowing it down to what chords it could possibly be in. Whether it sounds major or minor, what chords are in the key signature, things like that. Once I narrow it down to possible chords, I usually try to figure out the solfege to one part that I’m singing, and I’ll try to narrow the chord possibilities down further by distinguishing which chords have the dynamic note in it. If there are multiple possible chords from there, I play the chords one by one and try to harmonize with it to figure it out (though fortunately, it usually doesn’t have to go that far).

Like I mentioned earlier, I absolutely loathe having to look up guitar chords and tabs. I personally love the feeling of knowing I figured it out on my own. I honestly love music theory because the more I study and practice it, the better I become at figuring out possible chords and melody lines in songs. It honestly has helped me so much not only in knowledge, but I believe it has definitely made me a better guitar player. Thanks for reading!

-Bailey Shea