Singing in the Pew: Survey Says …

NPM has their online survey results. Pew people think it’s worse than the musicians do. And the grass is browner on the other side.

NPM attributes the difference in musician-pew perception perhaps to acoustics, and that may be true. Church musicians might be a more forgiving lot and count the swell of sound on those favorite chestnuts as a high point.

As for the preference for home parish singing, again, it might be the memory of those inspiring times (few or not so few) when the people raise the roof with a good sing.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Singing in the Pew: Survey Says …

  1. MCNS says:

    Hmm. It is interesting to note that the parish music directors’ perceptions appear to be so out of synch with those of the parishioners in the pews.

    I followed the link to the Pastoral Musicians Association’s website, and perused a sample back issue of their magazine — the “Singing Peace, Singing Justice” number that sings the praises of contributor Fr Dick Vosko.

    Perhaps the remarkable discrepancy between the perceptions of the pastoral musicians and the average folks in the pews is owing to something more than acoustics.

    Could it be that most people think the singing sounds awful because the songs their parish music directors want them to sing are — well — pretty awful?

    If a song sounds good to a Vosko-ite liturgist does it indeed make a beautiful sound?

  2. Todd says:

    I don’t know the musicians’ assessment is as much out of synch as viewed from a different perspective. A scientific survey inclusive of clergy, and in the very same parishes–that would be interesting. Let’s keep in mind this survey was entirely voluntary, and not descriptive of even the same parishes.

    As for the songs asked to be sung–I’d say it’s undeniable that music today is better than a generation or two ago across the board. Sure, some parishes have backpedalled, some have tread water, and some have leaped ahead–probably all due to the whims of pastors and the availability of good music directors.

    Since his name was brought up, let’s recall Vosko is a liturgical design consultant who disfavors carpet and advocates for good acoustics. If a parish liturgist has worked with Vosko, it’s likely good music will be enhanced in a Vosko design and poor music unmasked.

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