I never want to be…

…a music grinder.  Yes, you read correctly — not an organ grinder, but a music grinder.  This is a descriptive term that has fascinated me ever since I read it in Paul Westermeyer’s book, Church Musician, a kind of how-to-be book for musicians who think they might want to be just that, a church musician.  For him, a music grinder is a church musician who just puts out the music, without attachment to the context in the which the music is performed, and without any sense of purpose or participation in the worship of the community in which they make music. It is, sadly, possible, to be a music grinder even when you have carefully planned the music and coordinated it with the lectionary and the sermon.  Whether or not you are a music grinder depends on your intent in the specific moment you make the music (my definitition, not Westermeyer’s).

Clearly, I never want to be a music grinder.  But a lot of church musicians are.  And we are all in danger of just grinding the music when we reach a busy time of year.

And this week is the launch into one of those times of year.  So I got up this morning at the end of a long week of rehearsals and performances, facing 3 more such weeks, and feeling tired already (well, an international flight and trip to Istanbul contributed a bit) and I thought that this was a good time to remind myself why I find myself up and sitting at the computer xeroxing pages from the hymnal at 6 am on a Sunday morning.

I sing for the glory of God.

I sing to bring the Word to others.

I sing that all might know the peace that faith brings.

And so, when I open my folder this morning, I will remember the words that open the Vivaldi Magnificat we sing today:

My soul magnifies the Lord.
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.


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