I'm currently sitting at a local cafe digging into 1 John and Psalm 63...in the 'fertilising' stage of writing some new songs. But I've been happily distracted by this brilliant post from @shaungroves that raises some really important questions and critiques (I'd suggest anyway...he's trying to be a bit more diplomatic!) about a lot of contemporary worship songwriting. A bunch of us from @Kirkplacechurch spent 6 weeks with @ptpattison studying songwrinting with this free online Coursera course (HIGHLY recommended if you'd like to be stretched in your songwriting skills) - and I was left with these same questions...and more! Have a read and let us know what you think?
"I have a theory. I think worship writers have parted with standard songwriting practices because they’re creating with the live experience in mind. So their priorities are much different from those of a traditional songwriter.
Participation, for instance, is a top priority for the worship music experience. To ensure our participation on Sunday morning, lyrics and melodies and song forms are simplified to the point that standard practices are broken.
Because when we participate we want to feel something too, writers and producers give us a lot of long-building crescendos, emotive guitar swells, drum breaks, and other production techniques that stir our emotions during the live experience. And they don’t put as much effort into crafting lyrics, which tend to be thought of (right or wrong) as tools best suited for eliciting thought rather than emotion.
We don’t want a great song. We want a great experience. And that’s what worship writers are giving us.
This is either resulting in good hockey or bad painting. I don’t pretend to know which. What do you think?"
BTW - its given me a new appreciation for great worship songwriting...like this song from @dustinkensrue and @StuartTownend.