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Posted January 18, 2007

Musicians, people in pews differ
on what encourages singing in church

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- People in Catholic music ministry and Catholics in the pews hold slightly different opinions on what helps congregations sing, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.

Participants included 1,541 people who said they were involved in church music ministry, and 808 people who said they were not involved in music ministry. All respondents were asked to choose from up to 14 different factors that help them sing in church, and only two were cited by a majority of Catholics in the pews: a familiar melody and "easy to sing."

In contrast, more than half of Catholics in music ministry voted for five choices.

"Leadership of organ or instruments" and "meaningful text" garnered the votes of close to two-thirds of these respondents, while "leadership of cantor or director," "linked to liturgy of the day or season" and "enthusiasm of the congregation" got smaller majorities. "Familiar melody" and "easy to sing" placed seventh and eighth, respectively.

The survey was conducted online through the organization's Web site, www.npm.org. Results were announced Jan. 10.