How has worship music changed?

How did we get to this point? What are the main changes in worship music over the last 50(!!) years?

  • organ / piano => band
  • instrument lead => vocal lead
  • dependent on written music => creating arrangements together
  • what else?

While this does not reflect the practice of Christian Worship everywhere, it does serve to characterise what most people would recognise as a “contemporary” style of worship compared to “traditional”.

At DBC, I hope we will continue to retain the rich heritage of worship music, as well as embrace the best from current writers.

Click to watch these 4 video clips…(just 1 video)

What differences do you notice?

What is common to the last 3 clips, but differs from the 1st?


  • Role of instruments?
  • Role of vocals?
  • Congregation engagement?

What is lead instrument in clips 2, 3, 4?

What differences in congregation engagement did you spot?

Some observations:

  • Clip 1: Organ leads, playing music as given; congregation sing well, if  impassively
  • Clip 2: Piano plays related accompaniment – but NOT the melody; clear lead vocal; congregation sing with dynamics following lead vocal (no visual of congregation)
  • Clip 3: Band combines orchestral instruments with typical “rock band” make up; transitions smoothly from intro into drums/guitar driven song; again clear vocal lead; congregation sing, with (muted?) animation
  • Clip4: Heavier rock band instrumentation for intro…Then what happens? – guitars pull back to leave space open for lead vocal; congregation sing and respond with enthusiastic animation!

All this means that a larger group of people should be…

“…trained and skilled in music for the Lord (1 Chron 25:7 NIV)”


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