Findings ~ a brief
My desire to better understand the Contemporary Worship Singer commenced with the view that the uniqueness of the task could not be fully explained aside from the broader issues of identity and environment. This preconception arose from earlier enquiry into the group, ongoing participation as a church singer and observations made as a singing teacher. For these reasons I disclose that I anticipated certain outcomes at the commencement of my enquiry. Namely, I perceived that the variety of denominations a Contemporary Worship Singer might enact their role across could give rise to a diversity of theological positions in relation to worship practice. This presumption has found merit in each of the data sets (Literature Review, Survey and Interviews). However as the following presentation of conclusions will show, the levels of tension expressed by the Contemporary Worship Singer regarding many of the theological issues covered are generally low and culturally sustainable.
Secondly, I anticipated that church singers are typically untrained and vocally inexperienced. This conjecture has been scrutinised against the analysis of data and has been found to be too general in its rhetoric. While there was a high portion of the research participants that had not received adequate levels of instruction (according to the review of literature), there was a group of Contemporary Worship Singer’s that had undertaken vocal tuition. The final chapter of the dissertation (in part) explores whether the lessons obtained are beneficial to the unique task of the Contemporary Worship Singer; concluding that while general singing lessons are helpful, instruction provided by singing teachers responsive to the unique task are best.
I noted a third anticipated outcome that arose from the second speculation: The Contemporary Worship Singers inexperience leads to a lack of practical understanding of their vocal task. During the dissertation’s Introduction I hypothesised that the “mostly untrained and consequently unskilled Contemporary Worship Singer is forced to develop skills for the task by copying other more experienced, but nonetheless untrained and unskilled fellow team members” (p.10). The contention that a culture of ‘monkey see, monkey do’ exists has been upheld as true, but the original view that this was limited to the practicalities of the task has been found to be short-sighted
Explicitly, emerging from the collection of data has been an overarching perception that participants, for the most part, have a limited view of their role both practically and theoretically. First and foremost, as an active voice in the research I must declare that at the commencement of the study I held an underdeveloped view of the role. This declaration flies in the face of my yester-self of almost six years ago. I arrogantly believed that I had a suitable view of the group being researched and that while the investigation would unearth new understandings it almost certainly would not alter my existing thought. Having now completed the review of literature and the data analysis I can see the folly of my inexperience. I declare my own short-comings in order to appropriately frame the far more innocent, naïve position of my fellow church singers. My ignorance was fuelled by a little knowledge but the ordinary Contemporary Worship Singer actively shares in the joys of their role, often oblivious to the broader considerations of history, theology and vocal pedagogy. My original expectation was to observe unhealthy and unproductive singers who have been allowed to accept mediocrity as the norm. What I have found is a group of individuals seeking to do their best with a simple ignorance as to how to achieve their full potential.