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  • The Postlude - How to get people to listen?



    I play a postlude to end the service - in my church it appears to be a signal for everyone to get to their feet and chat - so that I can barely hear the music I have practiced for hours to present. Any suggestions how to get the congregation to sit quietly and meditate while I play that final number?</P>
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  • #2
    Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?

    Face it, in most churches the postlude is 'traveling music". People think tha,t as soon as the the last Amen is said or sung, it is time to get up and get out, with maybe a pause to two on the way to greet others. Only if you can get the pastor behind you, and get him to suggest (if not command) that people remain seated for the postlude, are things going to change.
    Mike

    My home organ is a circa 1990 Galanti Praeludium III, with Wicks/Viscount CM-100 module supplying extra voices. I also have an Allen MDS Theatre II (princess pedalboard!) with an MDS II MIDI Expander.

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    • #3
      Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?



      [quote user="m&amp;m's"]Only if you can get the pastor behind you, and get him to suggest (if not command) that people remain seated for the postlude, are things going to change.[/quote]</P>


      Absolutely true.</P>


      I am resigned to the fact that people begin talking during my postlude, but I am encouraged by the folks who do listen. I usually have a gathering of 30-40 peoplenear the organ console, and generally everyone in the room will applaud at the end. Maybe they are justglad the racket is finished. []</P>


      I have one very strong word of advice (besides getting the pastoral staff onboard with your idea) - keep the postlude short. If people realize that the music is interesting, well-played, and short, they will be more likely to stop and listen. Eventually you can begin to add longer selections, but make those an exception.</P>

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      • #4
        Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?



        In one parish, I didn't bother doing postudes because the organ was so weedy and the congregation SO loud, it wasn't worth it.</p>

        There are solutions though. Include what you are playing on the 'pew sheet' and add a note 'inviting' people to remain in their seats to listen or if the console is easily accessible on ground floor level invite people to come and listen round the console.</p>

        It maybe harder for those places where the coffee and tea are in the same worship space.

        </p>

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        • #5
          Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?



          I tend to agree. Postludes are mostly to send folks on their way. If you want them to stay and listend, then the worship staff will have to agree to print something in the bulletin to the effect " You are invited to be seated during the postlude". Then keep it shorter. That will encourage folk to remain. Also, try it just for a season... Advent or Lent for instance when being quiet is more expected.</P>


          In my congregation there are quite a few who stay in the sanctuary and chat as I play. At least they're hanging around.[Y] When I finish some do applaude, but I'd rather they not, as I'm not performing.I vary the volume of the works too. Quieter during Advent and Lent, and more for festivals. I use voluntaries based on the closing hymn, or an organ composition that relates in key to the closing hymn to tie things together subliminally. But since we've a short set of aisles and folks can vacate quickly, I usually won't do much more than 3 or 4 minutes.</P>


          [8-|]Good luck! The same problems exist for preludes. How many of you play above the congregation as they enter? We actually have the minister greet folks, and then invite them to prepare for worship as we begin the service with the prelude.</P>

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          • #6
            Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?

            Solving the Postlude problem will go on for EVER....but I think at St. Mark UMC we have solved the Prelude question. Announcements are made by one of the ministers BEFORE anything else happens. The minister then instructs everyone to stand and greet their neighbor. After that we do the "Call to Worship....the Lord be with you, also with you, let us worship God". Everyone sits and thats the end of the talking. At that point the organist begins the Prelude. It's working very well so far.[Y]

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            • #7
              Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?



              Great points by all. </P>


              The church where I am now, they stay for the postlude no matter how short or long it is and they applaud afterwards. And the appreciation doesn't stop there. I am fortunate to be in a church that sees music as a high priority and are willing to prove it financially and in other ways. I was also told that they have never heard the organ sound this good since the organ dedication concert which was in 1991, and I was serving somewhere else at the time.</P>


              BUT, in all the other churches I haveserved in, they just chatted loud and made their way out during the postlude. One church was particularly bad. It seemed like I would blink and they were all gone. But in that place (which will remain unnamed), music was not something on their list of prorities. It was somewhere near the bottom. </P>


              If I may make a few suggestions (some of which may be similar to the ones mentioned in previous posts): </P>


              - Make your postludes as exciting as possible. In other words, showcase the organ, and don't be afraid to hit full organ at the end if it is appropriate. </P>


              - Change the genres of your postludes. Don't play Baroque all the time, or Romantic all the time, etc. Mix it up. Think diversity. </P>


              - Be willing to cross over. I won the kids to the organ because I played Harry Potter and Star Wars for the Intergenerational Service. I truly believe that the organ can handle just about anything, you just have to make the time to figure out how to do it. You have to also play things that they know. Play the serious stuff, the light stuff, the popular stuff, etc. Look at Virgil Fox. He played The Entertainer in one of his concerts I saw online. There's a lovely example of reaching out to people, making the organ accessible to people, and trying to break false stereotypes about the organ. </P>


              - Put something in the bulletin that says that the congregation is invited for silent prayer or meditation before the service, and that the congregation is invited to remain and enjoy the postlude or something to that effect. </P>


              - Similar to Don Furr's situation, the announcements at my church are done before the prelude. So when they are done, they begin to light the candles, people get quiet, and I play my prelude. I remember in one situation the choir and I had to work on something last minute which couldn't have been prevented. Ialso had to ask many people who wanted to talk to me if we could talk after the service. So, I ran out of time to make a substantial prelude. The folks in the pews were very disappointed. They wanted to hear the organ. So now I make it my policy to politely and diplomatically say to people who want to talk to me before the service that I'd love to talk to them but if it doesn't have anything to do with the service that's soon to start, it would be better if we could talk after and then I could give them my full attention. </P>


              Hope this helps! </P>

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              • #8
                Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?



                Somehow I am reminded of the classic Warner Brothers cartoon where Daffy Duck performs his heart out for a tough audience and rather than receiving the hoped-for thunderous applause at the conclusion, he is met with dead silence and a few crickets chirping in the background.</P>


                Of course, dead silence is better than parishioners screaming at each other trying to converse over the organ simply because they cannot wait another 30 seconds until they are outside.</P>


                Angels and ministers of grace defend us!</P>

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                • #9
                  Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?



                  Thank you for your suggestions - I appreciate the commisseration and the suggestions. The prelude is not a problem in my church because there is a praise time before it (singing of three hymns) and the prelude immediately follows. People do listen.</P>


                  I had considered the note in the bulletin and even an insert providing some education about the music I play, interesting info about the composer or hymn tune. I'm glad some of you suggested that - if it has worked for you it may work for me. </P>


                  Some of you mentioned applause, I don't care for it either - most people don't applaud the minister or priest for his/her sermon and I don't feel I'm in a recital environment.</P>

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                  • #10
                    Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?



                    I am glad to hear that our church isn't the only church that doesn't listen the the postlude. Therefore, I keep mine short and l big. Even in Lent. The candles are put out during the last song then a very short pause and I start and they leave.</P>


                    They also talk during the prelude. One time I played a piece that had a long pause in the middle of it then the song took off again. During the break in the music, the congregation instantly shut up. When I started again, so did they. We tried having announcements before the prelude, but that didn't work. </P>


                    I am very well paid, so do my best and hope that those that want to hear will be able to hear. Most people seem to think that the organist (pianist or what ever) just comes in and sets down plays the music then goes home and doesn't even think about it until next Sunday. Being the organist is a Ministry to me. </P>

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                    • #11
                      Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?



                      Reading the posts above it appears to me that the Pre and Post service music can play different roles in different congregations. In my church people are generally greeting one another and moving around all during the Prelude. I tend to respect that tradition and just keep my music fairly unobtrusive until about a minute before the appointed worship time. Then I will begin to build and generally get to FF at the stroke of 11:00, which gives a very obvious signal that worship time is begun and visiting time is over. This also cues the pastor to come to the pulpit and formally welcome the people.
                      </p>

                      Likewise with the Postlude. Worship time is over and folks are saying goodbye to one another, making lunch dates, and so on. My postlude is usually an improv on one of the day's hymns, so I'll start out FF, giving that joyous and festive note, declaring the service has ended, but then rather quickly pull back to MF. I like to do a brief but rousing crescendo just before I finish, but don't really do it for the people anyway, and don't mind at all that most of the people will be gone by the time I'm done.</p>

                      Some of you are evidently in quite different situations, in which the Prelude and Postlude are essential and intrinsic parts of the service, much as the hymns and scriptures and anthems. Personally I'd enjoy a worship experience like that, but I'd have to change churches and probably denominations to find it!</p>

                      On a related note, one of the more annoying things that people can do is to come to the console DURING the prelude or postlude and either stand there waiting for me to finish so they can say something, or else actually start talking to me while I'm playing! I try to just keep smiling, though.</p>

                      John</p>

                      </p>
                      John
                      ----------
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                      • #12
                        Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?

                        [quote user="jbird604"]
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                        On a related note, one of the more annoying things that people can do is to come to the console DURING the prelude or postlude and either stand there waiting for me to finish so they can say something, or else actually start talking to me while I'm playing! I try to just keep smiling, though.</P>
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                        [/quote]</P>


                        This is annoying and happens almost every Sunday. My 14 year old son always comes and sets on the bench next to me, which does not bother me at all and him being there limits the my view of others standing near the console. So it isn't as bad as it could be. </P>

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                        • #13
                          Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?



                          I smiled and nodded to myself as I read this post. </p>

                          I play at a large Jewish congregation in Manhattan occasionally. While I have been to churches where everyone remains seated for the postlude, this is not the case for me. By the time I have played the last note of the postlude, everyone has left. However, there are always some people who stay to listen and then applaud afterwards.</p>

                          One idea would be to play a postlude that is familiar to the congregation. As they are thinking of leaving they may think to themselves "oh, I recognize this piece! I want to listen!" If they enjoy hearing one piece you played, it will encourage them to stay and listen in the future. </p>

                          When I play a postlude, I always start out loud and fancy to grab attention, and I always try to end on full organ for an "impressive finish"
                          </p>

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                          • #14
                            Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?



                            Best advice I can give is: Don't spend hours practicing a postlude.</p>

                            </p>

                            Choose something you can sight read. I have a piano book with quite a few 2 part "Trumpet Tunes" or the like that I whip out for postludes. They're 30" to 1'30" long. That's all I do. </p>

                            </p>

                            I get pretty ticked off during preludes and offertories when people talk. But on the Postlude I don't care because I don't view that as part of the "worship" experience per se. But the prelude and offertory very much so. So when people talk during those I don't take it as much personally as I do rude to the other people there for worship.</p>
                            Finally self-published some of my compositions! https://www.createspace.com/3734555
                            Piano and organ videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/CurtisBooksMusic

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                            • #15
                              Re: The Postlude - How to get people to listen?



                              I have no idea why I should expect people to stay for the postlude unless they are specifically interested. It's like sitting through the credits at the cinema.</p>

                              Ultimately, classical music is a niche interest, and organ music is a niche interest even among classical listeners. While you may feel that your thoughtful voluntary provides the ideal opportunity for repose/reflection or instills a certain joy or should leave people feeling good for the day, it ain't necessarily so. It's outside the confines of worship, nothing to do with faith or anything else really, and why uninterested parties should sit through it, listening silently and carefully is beyond me.</p>

                              In any case, I've long since realised that there are one or two people in every congregation who really do appreciate the voluntary, and I play for them (and if they're not there, I play for me). Even if 98% of the congregation leaves/talks/does cartwheels up and down the aisle, I don't think that's a reason to dumb-down. Keep playing the good stuff. Some may see the light and be inspired, and that's plenty reason to keep standards high.
                              </p>

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