We have all experienced times of uncertainty, fear, and disorientation. And while so much may feel out of our control, singing is a powerful tool to support and strengthen community as we move through challenging, painful, and traumatic experiences.
MMC leaders have compiled a list of songs that we hope will be useful to you and your community in these unsettled times. While we are writing in the context of a global pandemic, it's certain we'll need singing to face other local and global challenges.
As you think about what to share with your community, listen to your heart and your community as they name their needs, fears, and hopes. Short, simple melodies can be a powerful balm and many can be treated as pocket/zipper songs, which allow us to add words, names, and feelings specific to our context.
No matter what you sing or how the songs are shared (in emerging online/virtual spaces or safely in person), may these songs comfort anxious hearts and remind us that we’re together in deeper ways than we ever imagined.Read more
Paul Vasile is a interim/transitional church musician, consultant, and composer based in New York City. He has been a Music that Makes Community presenter since 2011 and now serves as MMC's Executive Director.
My second year of graduate school, I registered for an elective in continuo playing (see above for examples of figured bass, i.e. Baroque chord symbols). It seemed like a great way to round out my skills as a church musician and it offered the opportunity to play different repertoire than I usually encountered as a pianist. I went to the first class with a bit of nervous anticipation, which was kicked up a notch when the professor began with an exercise to assess our skill level. Each student was given an eight-measure melody with figured bass to sightread in front of everyone.
I registered for the class to stretch myself, to gain new experiences, and to be able to perform Baroque music with more authenticity. But, approaching this moment of assessment, all I felt was fear: fear of being scrutinized, judged, inadequate. When an exceptionally gifted keyboardist played shortly before me, I was undone.
Intimidated and insecure, I stumbled through my excerpt, sat back down, and decided the class was too difficult. I went to the Registrar’s office the next day and signed up for a choral literature class instead, embarrassed that I had even tried in the first place.
* * *Read more