Here are some frequently asked questions about Music that Makes Community. Have a question that isn't answered here? Suggest a question here!
- What to Expect
- Who is involved?
- What if I'm not Christian?
- Host an Event
- What about written music?
What can I expect to experience at a Music That Makes Community event?
MMC events typically last the better part of three days (though some workshops are shorter), beginning with morning worship on the first day and ending with a concluding Eucharist service around noon on the third day. The schedule moves between worship, periods of guided conversation we call "What Did You Notice" designed to ground the learning in experience, plenary sessions where we introduce core material, and small group workshop sessions that give participants a chance to practice leading one another in song. The days are fairly structured and full, but we are always fine-tuning the planning to keep everyone engaged and learning while leaving room to absorb the material. The emphasis at Music that Makes Community events is on collaborative learning and skill building; we always start with the premise that everyone present is charged with the two-sided task of both learning and teaching.
MMC began at St. Gregory's of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. Rev. Donald Schell and Rev. Rick Fabian, the founders of both St. Gregory's and All Saints Company, started the project in collaboration with Emily Scott, Lutheran pastor and founder of St. Lydia's in Brooklyn, NY. Over the years, they have invited many talented musicians and clergy to help lead and facilitate MMC events, and you can see a list of our current presenters here. Beyond our regular leaders and presenters, there is a wide network of practitioners who have attended past events and have helped to bring the practices we explore at MMC to their home congregations and communities.
Many of the people who have been involved in the Music That Makes Community project so far are from the Episcopal and Lutheran traditions, though we have welcomed participants and collaborators from many other Christian denominations, as well as people from other faiths, atheists and agnostics. Everyone is welcome at Music That Makes Community, though we are aware that the Christian worship and language we use at MMC events can make some people feel unwelcome. We are interested in exploring the possibilities and challenges of bringing our practices to interfaith and secular settings, and in learning from the singing and worship practices of others, and we hope you will help us continue to explore and grow in this way.
We definitely want you to come to MMC, and if you or your church or organization aren't able to cover the cost of tuition, we want to work with you to make it possible to attend. We usually ask that you give some thought to how much you can contribute, and do our best to help cover the difference. Since we work with host communities to produce MMC events, decisions about scholarships may vary from event to event.
Definitely not! We advocate using the practices and techniques we explore at MMC as one tool of many in your efforts to bring the people you worship with, live among and work alongside together through liturgy and music. We would never advocate that you try to lead a Bach cantata without written music (though if you did, we would most certainly want to hear about it!), and wholeheartedly acknowledge that written music is a valuable part of worship and life in general.
On the other hand, we've found that singing some songs without books or screens can invite a more relational experience. We think singing this way emphasizes listening and awareness, and can give the stranger a way in to music making, and therefore, to community, in a way that can be hard to accomplish with written music that requires special knowledge to interpret.