Orginally published on Monday, January 14, 2008 at 8:03 AM
by Todd Rhoades
It's a contentious issue in many churches today. You have a small group complaining that the worship music is 'too loud', while another group wants you to crank it. Who do you listen to? And when IS the music too loud? Here's a synopsis of some great points from Rick Muchow's The Worship Answer Book that can help you out...
This synopsis from BiblicalWorship.com. Read more here...
1. The music is too loud when the volume distracts from worship. Muchow relates about a service where the congregational singing was wonderful until the organist got to the last verse. At this verse the organist did a showy demonstration and greatly increased the volume of the organ. Muchow said everyone began to take notice of the organist and the attention was no longer on the text of the song. He says “the volume of the music is just right when it is not noticed. Our bodies should feel the music, not notice the volume.”
2. The music is too loud when it is no longer musical. Muchow says that “high volume is not a synonym for excellence. Beginning musicians often try to use loud volume to make up for a lack of accuracy and practice - as if the louder they play, the better their musicianship will sound.” Muchow also shares about the plight of other musicians on stage when one instrument is too loud - they also turn up their volume to hear themselves. Muchow suggests that musicians should seek to have varying dynamics in their music. “When the music is only one volume, whether too loud or soft, it becomes less musical and has less impact. Using dynamics is a great way to improve communication.”
3. The music is too loud when it causes hearing loss. Muchow states that “repeated exposure to loud noise can cause permanent damage and hearing loss. If people need to shout to be heard above the music, then the volume is too loud.” Muchow uses a decibel meter at his sound board to monitor the level of the volume in rehearsals and services. He believes the volume limit should be at 96 decibels (similar to a hand drill or spray painter or bulldozer). A typical conversation is at 60 decibels while rock concerts are normally at 130-140 decibels. Muchow says that “it would take continuous exposure to sounds at 100 decibels - such as a very loud worship band and an energetic teacher with a microphone - for about one to two hours, the average length of a church service, to cause permanent hearing loss. Church musicians are at more risk than the rest of the congregation because they are closer to the sound and are exposed to the volume longer.
What do you think? How do you determine how loud your music is?
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