Are your young people grumbling about the music they hear in Mass? Are you willing to help them experiment a little... maybe Father has agreed you can have a Youth Mass - but you don't know where to start ? Well, here's a little selection of what comes recommended by the team at the youth ministry office.
Just remember, the key distinction between music you can play in Mass - which has to complement and support the Liturgy - and the more open choices of music for prayer, "praise and worship", or reflection sessions.
Firm favourites remain our friends at CJM Music. Many of you will have experienced their class act at some of our Conferences. With music ranging from lilting gospel and mad choral settings to simple post-communion reflections, CJM not only publish CD's and cassettes, but also provide music scores for you to use in your own parish. Listen to the music at the site, and then order online!
And a major musical resource within our own Diocese is Teresa Brown, based in Northampton.... as well as being County Ecumenical Officer for Peterborough and Northants, she is a noted composer, performer and ambassador for good liturgical music. Check out her website and listen to some of her work. As you will see from the Events listings, she is book-able to encourage parish musicians at study days and Missions.
Meanwhile, the communities at Taize and Iona still rank among the best contemporary producers of chant and atmospheric bliss! Taize can be found here (select English from the menu), with a chance to listen online and find out where you can pick up material. Iona's site (here) doesn't allow you to listen to music, but you can pick up some order forms for both liturgical and music publications from their Wild Goose Publications page.
Alternative Worship tracks from Proost (who created the music for Labyrinth). Alt.Worship music tends to be more chilled-out reflective pieces that could be appropriate to use for reflection, within the context of a visual / artistic display or some kind of creativity exercise.
For more liturgical-based music, see the GIA site, with a wide range of music that can be listened to and ordered online - quite cheesy at times in its setting, but can be easily adapted.
Sample 'n' See
There are various ways to hear a wider range of Christian music:
- Follow the individual links above, and look for any samples that may be on the sites.
- Nose around your Christian bookshop....Various recording companies release 'taster' discs, with a variety of different genres and artists. The cheapest of these are priced around £1.99 for 15 tracks ('Fresh' and 'The Soundtrack' are two decent types), and should be in most Christian bookshops. Alternatively, the annual 'WOW' albums are the Christian equivalent of the 'NOW' series, but quite pricey.
- There are some Christian radio stations that broadcast online - Premier Radio plays a wide variety of popular mixed in with the 'oldies'and R&B, Cross Rhythms is a diverse British site.
- ... and, of course, go to where you can hear the music being played live... the festivals like Celebrate just after Easter, New Dawn or Youth 2000 in July/August, the monthly renewal days at Euston in London - check out the GoodNews site for listings...or NYMO's events such as lumos, or our occasional Conferences... or any of the better Parish Youth Masses ! Take paper and make a note of any songs you really like !
Once you've listened to it, where do you find scores and dots so your music group can play it ? Assuming you wish to move beyond the Celebration Hymnal or Hymns Old & New found in most of our churches, the most popular collection of contemporary Christian music is probably the "Songs of Fellowship" series published by Kingsway, and containing nearly 1,700 songs and hymns. To buy all three from Amazon will cost you (or your church) about £71 plus post & packing. They come with CD's containing all the lyrics for transfer to OHP transparencies or home-made songbooks (so long as you have a copyright licence, of course ! - see the Music Group guide downloadable from the Guidance and Ideas page).
Alernatively, the latest edition of "Mission Praise" gives you over 1,000 songs for about £38 in a single volume, though it's very thick (not easy on music stands !) and doesn't come with a Words resource.
And if the budget's really tight, there's a good selection of 500 of the most popular recent worship songs - the Worship Today single-volume, for £19.99 plus postage from the Spring Harvest website.
But be warned - all these books are designed for non-liturgical churches, so you have to exercise even more discretion in choosing music for a specific bit of our Mass.
If it's just words-and-guitar-chords you need, there are several websites that will let you print/download these- try here.
Our friends at Goodnews Books are able to get many titles delivered to your door, either through their website or via phone / fax. Alternatively, many are also stocked and reviewed on Amazon. To find out where your nearest Christian shop is, click here.
You also might like our page with practical music resources.