Monday Morning Quarterback

Stuff we learned on Sunday.

What does your community need musically and artistically for young people? What does your context already provide for children and youth in music and the arts?

The community I live in has a Community School of Music, abundant kids’ musical theater offerings, and an academy for music, voice, and dance. In addition, there’s a youth symphony, and private instrument-specific tutors are everywhere. There’s music–good music–for youth all over this place.

I recently asked a group of teenagers, though, what their town lacks for youth, and their answer was music. There’s no performance venue for teens. There’s no recording studio. There’s no place to go hear live music in you’re underage.

Yesterday our program staff discussed the future of our Director of Music for Children and Youth position, since we recently learned that our Director of five years will be moving on. “Director” in this case has traditionally meant of choirs, up to three at a time at one point in the church’s history.

But it has slowly ceased to mean that; children, their parents, and youth, have gradually stopped participating in the church’s choral programming. It has become more flexible in response, more experimental. Students conceived of an Ash Wednesday service, for example, that was structured around contemporary pop music (Bastille’s “Pompeii” and Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire”). The Director helped the students clarify and perfect that conception so that they could carry it out well. And they did.

It seems to me that the resource our church can uniquely provide the community isn’t a choir director anymore. There are lots of those around. But kids and teens here don’t have access to musicians to take the artistic interests and aspirations of young people seriously and to accompany them in learning, playing, and performing.

Could this place be served by a musician who is an entry point and guide to the life of faith as expressed through music. A Musician in Residence? For Children and Youth?

Does this exist anywhere?

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