Hymns at Home: Thoughts on Attentive Listening by Ken Myers

By Fr. Sean McDermott


Arvid Liljelund -- Man Singing Hymn (1884)

We are now bound to our homes. Church services, which must be viewed on our computers, are stripped down to the bare minimum. Perhaps the priest is alone or joined by a server and one cantor, but for all of us, the Mass is devoid of the full liturgical rituals. We cannot truly participate because we are not there, but it is remarkable how my senses of sight, smell, hearing, and taste yearn for the ritual. I miss the smell of incense. I miss the sight of the Altar and our specific icons. I miss hearing our full choir. I miss tasting the Blood and Body of Christ.


While we have to sacrifice most of these things for the time being, we can still have the aid of music in our private worship at homes. However, before we just turn on a hymn to play in the background or to set the mood for a nice dinner, it is helpful to understand how to actually listen to music, especially church music. To that end, I invited Ken Myers Ken Myers, choir director of All Saints and found of Mars Hill Audio, to give a short talk to our parish about how to listen while at home. His short and very insightful talk reaches to the history of hymnody, the Te Deum, and the importance of receiving music rather than consuming music. Listen to the talk here:



Fr. Sean is Curate at All Saints Anglican Church in Charlottesville, VA and Editor in Chief of Earth & Altar.