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5 reasons why I love a cappella singing

Gene Kelly Singin' in the Rain I grew up with a cappella music (singing without instrumental accompaniment) at church, and with both a cappella and instrumental music at home. I love them both, anytime, anywhere. They each bring their own value of celebration to the party.

I don’t pit one against the other. I thank God for creating them both and encouraging us to use them in our praise to him.

Here are 5 reasons I give thanks for a cappella singing:

1. You get to harmonize
You take ownership. There are no instruments filling in the gaps for you. You’re on your own, sink or swim. That means sometimes it can sound fairly rough, but other times, it can send chills down your spine when you hear nothing except a beautiful blend of human voices.

2. You can find a part that fits your voice
If I had to only sing with the lead melody in every song, I’d be out. I can’t reach many of the high soprano notes. But with four-part harmony, I usually have at least 3 notes per chord that I can choose from. That means I can participate.

3. You can hear your brother/sister singing beside you
This one is important to me. If one purpose for singing is to encourage each other, I need to hear you for that to happen. With a cappella singing, you can hear the person singing beside you. And they can hear you. Good voice or bad; it makes no difference. Heart is where it’s at.

4. You can travel light
Nothing to carry; no electricity required (unless you’re projecting sheet music: a sweet shout-out to my AV friends for that service); no extraordinary music skills needed. No tuning up or volume adjusting or special staging necessary. Just you and your voice. (Okay, maybe a pitch pipe if you’re a stickler—but it can fit in your pocket; still light.) It’s the most convenient way to make music. 

5. You can sing it anywhere
To quite rudely borrow from the great American poet Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a.Dr. Seuss, you can sing a cappella…

…In a boat, with a goat, in the rain, on a train.
In the dark, in a tree, in a car, where ‘ere you be.
In a box, with a fox, in a house, with a mouse.
You can sing it here and there. You can sing it anywhere!

* * * *

Music is God’s gift to us to give back to him. I’m grateful to be included in that loop, in whatever form I can, including a cappella.

* * * * *

A big, big thanks is due Keith Lancaster for all that he’s done and continues to do to keep a cappella singing alive through Acappella Ministries and his Praise and Harmony worship workshops.

One of my first and among my still top favorites I heard from the group Acappella, mid ’80s, is this one:

A Cappella

There's a light that's from the window
And it shines down on the street
There's some guys standing on the corner
Making that good old harmony
And now there's a light that's from the window
And it's sent to the street court symphony
Let 'em sing let 'em shout
Cause they're singing that good old harmony

Singing it soul to soul
Brother to brother
A cappella
Well it sounds good to me
Singing it soul to soul
Brother to brother
A cappella
Well it sounds good to me

And now I turn out the light
Say goodnight to another day
I'm gonna rest my weary head
In my long-awaited bed
I'm gonna get on my knees and pray
Ask the Lord to give me just one more day
Oh Lord, hear my plea
This music just sounds so good to me

You know we're singing for the Lord
And now we're feeling mighty good
Giving praise to God the Father
Like we know all Christians should
We don't need any type of guitar
Or an instrument to use
Oh it sounds good to me
And I'm hoping it sounds good to you

Soul sing a cappella
Soul sing a cappella
Soul sing a cappella ooh

Church sing a cappella
Church sing a cappella
Church sing a cappella ohh


Susie said...

I completely agree with you!

I will say that depending on the congregation, a cappella music can be its own advertisement or embarrassment. I've visited both kinds.

I like to sing with accompaniment. It is as you say, more forgiving. But a cappella is my passion. I love to hear each of the harmonies. I love nothing better than to sing in church, surrounded by my biological family. We grew up singing hymns together on holidays. My husband and son sing bass. My father and brother sing tenor. My sister sings alto. My mother sings tenor or alto, and I sing soprano. There's no greater feeling on this earth than to sing with good singers.

Anonymous said...

I always loved a cappella music, even long before I knew there was any such thing as a church who used it. There is just something about the blend of voices in harmony. I am so spoiled now it is almost a distraction when I go to a church with instruments. I have no problem with them being used as a part of their worship service. I am just glad we don't.

Don3727 said...

I love good singing too, but it is not our opinion that matters. God wants us to hear us sing whether we can carry a tune or not. Do we think that the Paul and Silas Duo was supremely good singers in a Phillipian prison? I think not. But, the Phillipian jailor became a Christian that night because of a different attitude expressed by his Christian prisoners, and their pure praise to God in song.

Anonymous said...

I like the way everyone in our church can sing and that it is not restricted to those who can sing very well.

Lisa notes... said...

My whole family loves to sing together, too. It's some of our greatest times together. I just visited your blog; I'm certain we have mutual friends. I didn't see a way to contact you there though....

I agree. God loves to hear us give him praise regardless of our OWN opinion of how we sound. It's all beautiful to him. I'm thankful.

Karen said...

Found you via Keith Lancaster today and am so glad! I agree with all you had to say about a cappella music. Due to some geographic issues, we're currently worshipping in a church with instrumental worship... many times when I am singing with the worship team, I think things would be much easier if we didn't have to worry about the band and just focused on the singing. I am looking forward to getting back to a cappella worship in a few months, when we move back to the South.

Did a little browsing here on your site and noticed you homeschool; so do we. :D I think you and I would get along quite nicely!

Anonymous said...

This a great article. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for keeping up informed.


Rick J said...

In a time when some are focusing on the limitations of acappella, thanks for so succinctly reminding us of the advantages. Think I'll link to your article from my blog as well. :-)

Anonymous said...

A capella singing is how I learned to worship God. Nothing can prepare me to enter the presence of our Lord like a solid old hymn. There is nothing between us but our voices, and you can really hear everyone chiming in to love the Lord out loud. The harmonies of the human voice cannot be matched by any other medium for expressing the most honest and personal feelings before the Father. I like hymns the best because when performed as written, they take the most advantage of the full vocal range for a congregation.

Lisa notes... said...

"...for expressing the most honest and personal feelings" -- nicely stated.

To Facebookers: befriend Keith Lancaster to see more comments about a cappella music and leave your own. A nice conversation going on there.

Deanna said...

Wonderful thoughts! One of my fav memories is years ago singing to the Lord for about an hour with the teens from our church under the stars on top of Monte Sano. Another where a girlfriend of mine and I were asked by a teen to be chaperones on a field trip and the 3 of us 'serenaded' the teacher driving with songs of worship. :)

Anonymous said...

Everytime i listen to a capella it reminds of The GReat I Am i serve and makes me long for Heaven even more; my greatest desire is to hear The Creator Sing

Brenda said...

Did they change the words to that song or did you? I remember it to say, "Making music with our voices like we know all Christians should." :-) That was my favorite line!!! Ha ha.

Joseph Chase WorshipLeading said...

A capella music uses the very instrument that God created. He made the heart, the soul the voice to blend together to ring forth wonderful music. Sometimes covering that up with instruments that were made to mimic the human voice.

Joe Chase Lead singer for Harvesters Quartet and Worship Leader.


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