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Congregational Singing makes you feel better

Posted by jdbsound on July 14, 2012

All over the place your hearing that church giving is down.  What about church attendance?  It is up slightly.  If you want to get more people to come to church to make up for the lower giving’s, you can do it with better sound and better acoustics.  Why better acoustics?  One of the main events of worship is congregational singing and singing fosters unity and friendship.  The better the singing experience for the congregants, the more rejuvenated and refreshed they become.  The more people enjoy their singing experience, the better chances for them to be involved in mid week church programs and more tithes.

“But we have a great worship and praise team!  They do an excellent job!”  While this is true, there is nothing like belting out a great hymn at the top of your lungs.  People want to participate in a church, not just be entertained.  For some congregants, this all out singing is like a spiritual high that gives you a warm and pleasant feeling.  Singing usually makes you feel better.  Even belting out a depressing song can end up you feeling better.  When people are like this, they tend to be friendlier and more willing to be involved in other church events.  A worship space should encourage this type of singing.  You can have the best leadership standing up front trying to get the people to singing but if the room is fighting you, it isn’t going to happen.

“But we have the best sound system with the latest State Of The Art Technology.  That will get people to sing!”  Wrong!  That makes the people more passive.  Sure people love being entertained but that also means they are less likely to be involved in other church events.  When people are entertained, they are less likely to give extra or give a full tithe.  The Sound system can only bring the sound to the people.  Acoustics put people into the sound which gives you a fuller worship experience.

I have fixed the acoustics of hundreds of churches and I have also kept track of the health and response of how people react to good acoustics.  Every time a church has completed their entire acoustical plan, the results have been remarkable in existing churches.  It really is a day and night experience.

Here is a simple test you can do to see what your acoustics are like.  Have the congregation sing a familiar song without the sound system on and no instruments.  This size of your church doesn’t matter whether your church seats 100 people or 8,000.  With an attendance of 65% or more, measure at the front of the church how loud the singing is.  Don’t tell the people it is a test.  Look at the Sound Pressure Levels (SPL) (Even a Radio Shack SPL meter will do.) which should be placing about half way between the first row of seating and the front wall of the church.  If the levels are over 90dB most of the time, you most likely have a good room.  If they are singing over 95dB most of the time, you have a great room.

If your congregational singing is producing 85dB or less when singing a familiar song, then you need acoustical management.  Believe it or not, when you fix the acoustics for better congregational singing, you will also be improving the performance of the sound system no matter how good your sound system already is.  You will find more gain before feedback, better intelligibility, better floor monitor control for churches that use them and better bass response from the piano, organ and choir.  Don’t be surprised if this also gets rid of the drum shield but that is for another article.

One Response to “Congregational Singing makes you feel better”

  1. Very interesting. We have precisely this acoustical issue with a new build synagogue in North London (UK). I would be interested in hearing if you know experts who can advise on how to address this. Due to the restrictions of sabbath observance, having microphones on during the sabbath day may well be an issue, but there may be non-electronic solutions. The floor is carpeted and the ceiling is very high. I can be reached on henry.clinton-davis@hotmail.co.uk. Thanks Henry

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