For the past two days (a three day conference), I’ve been attending a music conference put together by the All Saint’s Company, a adjunct ministry from St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, the forerunners of many liturgical innovations, which in this case, is going back to the roots of using music to form community with having people locked into staring at music they can’t read anyway. Those of us who CAN read music like when we can get our eyes away from the page to feel the pulse and the breath of the creation of musical sharing; it seems to work on many levels.

By using arm gestures, and music simple enough to learn, but dense in meaning, people are taught to not only teach music quickly, but enable others, without the need of a piano, organ, or for that matter, lyrics to instantly create singable music, turning space into an instant liturgical experience.  You can see this happen from a video I found on YouTube. If you follow the link, you will see music happen, this is not rehearsed, you can watch and hear the music unfold. The music can also be more energetic as in this example. Using this technique the congregation is an active paricipant, and creates singable music together, and what does this do? It forms COMMUNITY!

Today, we expeerieced morning prayer with music about 5 pieces, we had never heard, but were led by experienced song leaders. We were also instructed to NOT speak any responses, but to improvise, and sing our prayers, no group speaking, just let it happen. Thirty-five people formed thick layers of chords, and within a while, the room was a pulse of various harmonic inventions which grew from each person’s active participation. When we came to intersessory prayer requests, a drone began to happen, and a repeated line of music cascaded. A leader sang read petitions, but out of this grew individual prayer requests which started to be heard, in various forms of vocal imitation, over the music. It was as if a flower peddle of prayer was blossoming amongst us. Many of us were in tears, we were creating music as prayer; it was extraordinary, and an experience I will never forget.