Musicians Welcome in Unprogrammed Worship
I mused on that for a while. Here is my answer:
It is my understanding that it is perfectly acceptable to make music in meeting for worship - what is usually frowned upon is pre-arrangement.
The point of our form of worship is to come in open to the leadings of the Holy Spirit, without having planned what God will ask us to do or say or sing. I don't know if it's happened on a week when you were in meeting for worship, but people do sing - old hymns, familiar songs, once I sang a U2 song.
Some Friends with musical gifts are often called upon to sing in worship. Called upon, not by a person, but by our worship leader: the Holy Spirit.
It is less common to hear someone play an instrument, just because it's less common that people are walking around with their trumpets, for example. But I don't think that would be wrong, any more than people bringing their Bibles just in case they might feel called to read something from it, either to themselves or out loud. You see that pretty often.
Since our worship is unprogrammed, it means that if we want to practice something together, like reading the Bible or singing, or a string quartet, we do that outside of worship. Bible study is on first and third Sundays, hymn singing on second and fourth, and other groups by arrangement. I haven't seen a spiritual string quartet (or drum and bugle corps, for that matter) at our meeting but that doesn't mean it can't happen.
The last thing I wanted to say is that in other places among Friends, there is lots of music, all by pre-arrangement and rehearsal. One time I went to the Berkeley Friends Church there was an acoustic guitar solo. The time I went to Newberg Friends Church in Oregon, there were traditional hymns and contemporary praise music, led by a vocalist with a band including piano, electric guitar and accordion, if I remember correctly.
Some African Friends churches have several choirs that all sing at every meeting for worship. There's drumming and dancing and singing, and it is part of their worship service. I've never been to Africa, but I've read and heard about it. If you read back through Peggy Senger Parson's blog, A Silly Poor Gospel, you'll find descriptions of her time in Burundi, mostly, and of their highly scripted, highly musical worship.
I hope that this helps you understand more. We need artists among us, and plumbers, social workers and librarians, bankers and people with no apparent means of support. Each may have professional skills - and other gifts they don't get to use in their work life that can come forth in the meeting community. But that's another story.
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