Guidelines for Music Selection and Use.
"And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?" (1 Corinthians 14:7).
1. Words - The words of the songs we sing are very important. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8).
2. Life-style and testimony of writers. "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34). Is the life-style and testimony of the writers in agreement with God's Word? What do the writers think of Jesus Christ? "Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David." (Matthew 22:42).
3. Effect on listeners. Does this song cause listeners to give glory to God or to the singer? What does this song motivate one to do or to be? Does this song cause the hearers to want to grow closer to the Lord, and to be more Christ like, or is it merely entertaining them?
4. Appropriateness. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Is this musical selection appropriate for this service or occasion?
Criteria for Evaluating Music.
1. Words: The words of the song must be doctrinally correct.
2. Melody: The melody must be strong and clear. A strong melody will build to one major climax and possibly several minor climaxes. Variety is the key.
3. Harmony: Harmony should show some creative ability on the part of the composer/arranger. Avoid music that does not resolve; that overuses chord clusters (clusters destroy tonality which is an absolute); that utilizes "blues" notes as found in "rhythm and blues" music.
4. Rhythm: Rhythm is a vital part of music but should not dominate. There should be a natural accent in the rhythm.
-- Excerpted from A Biblical Philosophy of Christian Music by Thomas Cassidy, First Baptist Church of Spring Valley, California, © 1995