Contemporary practices in Southern Baptist Church music: a collective case study of worship, ministry design and music education
Gillis, Leslie Myers
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The widespread popular music-based modem worship movement begun in the 1960's brought the styles and sounds of popular music into worship as churches sought to increase cultural connection in their worship. The worship transformation brought significant challenges. Church musicians trained in traditional skills had to adapt and incorporate skills associated with popular musics. Music ministers had to train themselves and ministry musicians. The worship transformation altered the design of many music ministries, changing personnel, practices, repertoire, and ensembles. The purpose of this study was to explore the worship transition experience and how it impacted the musical processes and training within seven Baptist churches in Hartford County, Georgia. Using a qualitative collective case study design, I explored three primary areas: 1). the worship style implementation; 2). the structure and activities of the music ministry leadership and program; and 3). how the skills necessary for nontraditional music ministry have been developed. Within the primary focus, I also investigated the transferability of school music education training into current music ministries, examining if and how school-trained musicians can engage within nontraditional music ministries. The research highlights commonalities existing between school and church music, and parallels training challenges shared by church and school music educators. This additional inquiry stems from the call of music education experts for classroom learning to be expanded in content, encourage lifelong engagement, and connect with community life. Data was collected through in-depth interviews, pre-interview profiles, ministry documents and materials, and field observations. Results provided nuance for prior survey-based research. Data revealed that worship style interpretation is diverse in implementation. Worship changes have altered the structure of church leadership roles and job descriptions. Ministry programs have changed, but traditional ensembles maintain significance. Data revealed challenges in skill development, requiring retraining for music ministers and ministry musicians, usually achieved through independent learning. Results showed that school-based training does transfer into current ministries. Church music ministries have expanded their musical practices in a manner that parallels the challenge given to music education. Data from the music minister's experiences transfers in applicability to school music educators who are also challenged by expanding practices.
Thesis (D.M.A.)--Boston University