DOES ANYBODY PLAY TROMBONE?
As I have worked with instrumental musicians in the church for the last 40 years, it has been amazing to see the use of orchestral and band instruments in the church revived! Most of us know that instrumental music in the church or Old Testament synagogue has been around for centuries going back to the earliest discovered written music at or around 1000 BC. During past millenniums, the use of the ancient instruments up to modern instruments has had its ups and downs with varying degrees of significance. However, beginning in the 1980’s there was a huge resurgence of using our modern day orchestra and band instruments in worship. As an instrumentalist myself, I am very, very thankful for that.
One of the reasons for this resurgence has been the very significant growth of music being written for church ensembles. A number of publishers, large and small, jumped into producing this music that continues to feed the church with needed music to play. Much of the music has been specifically written for church musicians. What that really means is for “amateur musicians.” Many church instrumental ensembles are built on musicians who are not professionals, but played in their school band or orchestra programs or may even still be students playing in their school programs.
This brings me to my “topic” which is how to encourage instrumental musicians to get involved using their musical talent if they have been off of their instrument for 5 years, 10 years, 20 years or more!
Many of these players who have not taken their instruments out of the case for some extended period are either very cautious about considering playing again or frankly, have not even thought about playing again. Here are some thoughts of how to encourage these folks to get involved.
- Do a talent survey to find out who has played a band or orchestra instrument at any point of their lives. This should be a church wide survey. Find out what instrument they played and for how long.
- Contact them and encourage them to come to rehearsal. Their progress will happen much quicker if they are sitting in the group and being pulled along by the better players. There’s nothing worse than hearing yourself on those first notes after not playing for several years.
- Tell them they can be where they were when they left the instrument in no more than 3 months! It will surprise them, but it usually happens in less time. Keep in mind we are talking about when they left the instrument. If they only played through 10th grade, that is all they know. But, they can progress if they have any ability.
- Do not put pressure on them to play in the worship service too soon. Keep them coming to rehearsals to get their “wings”again. However, don’t wait too long either if they are ready.
- Encourage, encourage, encourage!
As an instrumentalist, I know God gave me a talent to do this. He gave me the talent to use to glorify Him! I am so thankful my church allows me to use this gift for His glory and to encourage others to worship Him!
Read 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 to see how God’s music lifted with choir and instruments can be blessed by Him.
Camp Kirkland, recognized as the pioneer in instrumental church music, is a highly skilled educator, clinician, and spokesman, as well as a brilliant arranger and orchestrator. He has over one thousand publications in his catalog from every major publisher of church music today. When not directing the orchestra at his church, Judson Baptist in Nashville, Camp plans mission trips for musicians around the world through Global Missions Project.