December 2000

Volume 1, Issue 8

Testing Music In The Church by Sandy Simpson

Inside this issue:

The Lord blessed my family with a love of music. Since I was a small child our family often sang together in four part harmony. At the age of twelve I found an old guitar stored in the generator shed behind the school and put fish line on it for strings. When I was fifteen I started writing my own songs. I became a professional musician in 1975 and later went on to commercial jingle and Christian album production.

Having been around music all my life, I know quite a bit about what goes on behind the scenes of Contemporary Christian Music. I want to pass along some things I have learned about music in the

church from my experience and from the Scriptures.

THE PROBLEMS

Too many churches today are allowing music to be used in their services that is not glorifying to the Lord and can actually be a hindrance to the teaching of sound doctrine. Pastors and leaders should be using their leadership role to test what is being played and sung in their churches. Though some are quick to test preaching and teaching from their pulpits, many ignore the music being used in the same services. This is a tragic mistake. Music is a powerful medium. It is something that affects deeply the body, mind

and emotions. It is a proven fact that music often stays with a person far longer than what is taught or preached. Songs roam around in our heads, especially if the melody appeals to us. What is often overlooked is the serious impression music makes on people, and the teaching they are getting over and over again

A Bit Of Micronesian Music History by Sandy Simpson

The history of music in Micronesia is a very interesting subject. It was so interesting to me that, in 1994, I applied for a grant from the Guam Council on the Artsand Humanities Agency (CAHA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to write a video script. I was awarded a grant to write the video script which I had hoped to produce into a  video series called  "Micronesian Music - Reflections Of Change". The video was never completed.       

Nonetheless, the video script is  now on file at MARC in Guam. Between myself, my sister and my mother, who helped me  research the script, we read approximately 200 books on every aspect of life in Micronesia. Looking back on the project now I wish I had been doing it in conjunction with some kind of degree program because it turned out to be quite a thesis. But let me get on to what I want to say about the history of music in Micronesia.

There has always been music of one form or another since the first canoes landed on the shores of the many Micronesian islands. Those who came from different places to the islands brought with them many things. Not the least among these was navigational information passed down in the form of chants that included actions. Later studies were done in the island of Puluwat by anthropologists who found that the islanders there had been using techniques to