Instrumental Music for Reflection
People often ask about the music we use when leading reflections, prayer stations or other meditative parts of worship. So I've put together a playlist of some of the pieces we most commonly use. If you use Spotify you can just make use of this playlist. You might prefer to buy the tracks and have them downloaded - if so, you can do that from iTunes or other vendors.
A carefully chosen piece of music can really help people to engage with a scripture, some images or a particular theme. Here are some of the things I look out for:
- No words. I am almost always distracted by lyrics, and especially if they do not fit the theme of the reflection. I virtually never use worship songs as a soundtrack for reflection, unless I specifically want people to focus on the words of the song.
- Emotional connection with the theme. This playlist is generally quite floaty and ambient, but there are different moods expressed throught the music. Make sure you choose something which connects with the kind of reflection you are leading.
- Fits the congregation. This playlist mixes ambient, jazz and classical. Be aware of who is going to be in the room, and choose something which will connect with them.
- Avoid heavy beats, fast tempos and large changes in volume or energy. Most of these tracks are slow, helping the listener breathe more steadily and focus on God.
And no, most of these tracks are not by Christian artists. My experience is that God is in the process of renewal and re-creation, drawing the good out of every creative act. I sense something of God even in the music of non-Christians, and I believe that using their work in worship allows God to sanctify and speak through it.
Feel free to make other suggestions for tracks in the comments below.