In many churches, "Special Music" is a fairly common occurrence in worship services. For some, the title is reserved for a soloist or small ensemble, and sometimes guest musicians or interns. For others, Special Music is anything other than the choir singing - a soloist or ensemble, an amateur instrumentalist from the congregation, a guest musician, etc.
Let me begin by saying there is nothing wrong with having Special Music in your services. However, there are a few problems that might arise:
- Expectation. It can be hard to live up to the expectation of having Special Music every week. It can be challenging to find people who are willing to do something musical and are readily available, especially if you’re in a small church. During extended periods when the choir isn’t singing (e.g. summer), it can become a week-to-week struggle. “Are you in town next week? Would you like to sing something, anything?"
- Content. When Special Music is planned relatively last minute (e.g. week-to-week), you often have less control over the music selection, choosing from whatever the person has in their repertoire already. Sometimes, it may feel like a nice solo stuck in the middle of the service with no apparent connection to anything else around it.
- Label. For some people, the label “special music” itself can be a problem. “Isn’t all music special?” they might say.