Resources for Fine Arts

Advice for Selecting Instrumental Music

Fri, 02 Jun 2006 - 10:02 AM CST

The rulebook states, “Sacred music is music that is intended for the church and ministry effectiveness.” Translation: Instrumentalists have the unique opportunity to play music from almost any period as long as it was written for the church, by a church composer and/or can be used as a ministry. Each of us has a different ministry and different gifts. Some people enjoy playing old hymn arrangements and some like new hymn arrangements and choruses. Others enjoy playing music by Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. No matter what style preference, we can all glorify God with our talents. Here are a few words of direction in selecting instrumental music for Fine Arts:

    •     Keep in mind that Fine Arts is a place of learning. Select music that suits you and your style but will still challenge and improve you. If you have a great tone but need to work on technical aspects, choose a piece that will allow you to demonstrate your best tone but forces you to expand your range or finger speed. Do not fall into the trap of selecting music that is too easy and will quickly become boring for you. Remember, you only want to offer your best to God.

    •     Talk to your orchestra, band or private teacher about pieces he/she would like to hear you do. Often they are more aware than you of what you do well and what you need to work on. It also helps to have a knowledgeable music teacher encouraging you and giving advice.

    •     If you have a piece by a long-dead composer and aren’t sure if it is suitable for Fine Arts, do some research. Just because a piece doesn’t have “God” or “Jesus” in the title does not mean that it wasn’t a musical offering to God. Here are four questions to ask when selecting a more “classical” style piece:

  •     Was the composer a church musician?
  •     Was the composer writing with the intent of glorifying God?
  •     Was the piece commissioned or written for the church?
  •     How are you intending to use this piece as a ministry tool?

    •    Do not come to compete! As artists it is easy to “minister” when we are really just showing off. It is wonderful to make callbacks and to be the Assemblies of God National Award of Merit Recipient, but this should not be your focus. Make every practice time a time of devotion. Before practicing make it a point to dedicate your session to God. After all, He is the one to give you your talent and passion. God will honor those who give their best but only receive an “Excellent” above those who receive a “Superior with Honors” with a prideful heart.

Here are some resources to help you find music and information.

For Music:

David E. Smith Publications –;
Word Music –
Lillenas Music –
Hal Leonard –
 Church –
Jeff Cranfill Music –
AnderKamp Music –
Bold Worship –

For Reference/Research:

Grove’s Music Dictionary Online –
Classical Net –

For Enrichment:

Noland, Rory. The Heart of the Artist. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999.
Noland, Rory. Thriving as an Artist in the Church. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004.
Kavanaugh, Patrick , and Barbara Kavanaugh. Devotions from the World of Music. Colorado Springs: Cook Communications Ministries, 2000.
Patrick, Kavanaugh. The Spiritual Lives of Great Composers. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996.

Authors: Melanie Bush

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