Following are our top ten picks for unwritten sacrament meeting music rules. These are hardly official, but you’ll find them practiced and encouraged all over.
In no particular order.
- Even though the Church music manual says that postlude music should be played briskly, it will offend a lot of people’s sensibilities to do so. Many members of the Church equate “reverent” with “slow and steady.”
- If you are singing a solo, keep your hands to your sides and don’t draw any more attention to yourself than you have to.
- Do not slide in and out of notes unnecessarily unless you are a woman of a certain age, at which point you should slide to hit the correct note at all costs, disregarding rigid musical timing.
- The person choosing hymns should take care to only choose hymns the congregation knows. NEVER choose an unfamiliar hymn.
- While there is no clear direction that the conductor of music in sacrament meetings must be a sister, only call a man to the position if you can’t find a woman. A woman who is willing but has no idea how is better than a man who knows what he is doing.
- The chorister should take his or her (preferably her) time leading the music, allowing members to fully absorb each word, note and nuance. One should never rush through a song, even if marked as “lively”. There is a fine line between lively and raucous and as we have been taught, it is best to stay as far from The Line as possible (unless the leading stake or general priesthood leader seems to be pushing the tempo. Then, by all means, follow his lead).
- The organist must be careful to not play so well that it calls attention to herself but not so badly that people won’t listen and be reverent.
- Advise all soloists that it is important to not call too much attention to oneself. Music performed too well may create a feeling of pride in the one performing and envy in the congregation.
- On those extremely rare occasions that something other than a hymn is presented as a special musical number, make sure it is not anything once sung by Bette Midler.
- The congregation should never stand unless it is to give people a break from sitting or a national anthem.