Prelude: What I Learned about Music Leadership in the Pandemic
Even though I haven’t been in active music leadership during most of the pandemic, I’ve still learned many things, including
- how much support the many facets of the church provided us when we needed it most. Help came from colleagues, teamwork between churches, seminars, national United Church support, licensing agencies, and so on.
- how much our already-established technology helped us to get through. Many of us had never heard of Zoom or Twitch before March 2020, but things like YouTube, Facebook Live, etc., were already well established. By layering this familiar technology over some new platforms and skills, we were able to pre-record all or portions of worship, livestream services, and connect with one another.
- how important our already established lines of communication are! Many of you connected over the Music United Facebook group, sharing best practices, information about copyright, and technology that worked well for you. You have been so gracious in your sharing!
- how resilient and creative we all are! It has been exhausting, but we have created all kinds of ways to “rehearse” together and hold hymn sings, taken timefor new learning about music and theology, and reimagined and reshaped music leadership.
- how many technologically adept people we have in our midst. These folks have been dedicated in ensuring that worship and events happen week after week.
- how important musicians are in the gifts that we offer, individually and collectively. I know how much leaders and musicians long for full groups to be able to meet again.
- how regularity and stability are important factors for the membership of musical groups. These can create a sense of normalcy, even though the circumstances weren’t normal at all! For so many of the musicians in the church, rehearsing and participating in services is a habit, and hopefully many were able to maintain their habits in some way during the pandemic.
- how challenging rebuilding will be. People have been negatively affected by the pandemic in so very many ways, including health and finances. Some people have taken the time to evaluate their commitments and the energy they have for all the things they wish to do. That has led to some stepping away from things but also realizing the things that are really important. As leaders who will be rebuilding, we need to remember that along with challenges come opportunities (more resilience and creativity!).
I am so very thankful for all of you doing ministry in some way during the pandemic, and I’m proud of the way you have supported one another. True community! We are united!
Tammy-Jo Mortensen, Music Editor