What American Idol Taught Me About Singing In Church
Now it was quite obvious that all those who got through the first round audition process could sing – quite well at that – but what fascinated me was this: when it came to the later stages of the competition, certain singers did not consistently bring their “A-game” to the stage, as one of the judges like to put it. “They did not show how badly they wanted to win it.” Stage presence and expression was actually part of singing.
And you would think that after standing in line with thousands waiting the whole day for your turn to audition, then getting past that first round process onto the gruelling group stage elimination, you would give your all at every stage of the competition thereafter. You win it, by giving your best – at every stage – not just at the finals.
Our daughter recently had her Junior Music Course exam for piano. Part of the exam required her to sing a song of her choice. At every practice session the music teacher reminded her students, “You’ve got to show the examiner that you really know the song. How? By swaying to the beat of the song; by tapping your feet; by smiling; by singing clearly and loudly.” I was just amazed at the simplicity of her instruction to the kids.
For an introvert like myself singing in public back then, on stage in front of a crowd was/is as scary as now as asking me to stand up and make small talk with a stranger in the middle of church service.
But I am reminded that when it comes to worshipping the King of Kings, it’ll be good if we came to the altar like those people auditioning for American Idol – with determination, focus and conviction. Gestures can be just a show, but holding back when God deserves our best and full presence (yes, that includes our finest singing) “…like we really mean it or want it”, is simply a non-argument.
It amazes me that the kids always get the simplicity of expression before us adults. Perhaps we need to revisit that part of ourselves. After all, Psalms 95:1 (NKJV) says, “Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation”.