Someone who plays a musical instrument during a church service is known as a church musician. This can include a wide range of instruments that can be performed solo or in an orchestra. During hymn singing, these musicians frequently accompany the church choir or congregation. They could be paid members of the church staff or unpaid volunteers providing a service to the congregation.
Many people think of an organist or pianist when they think of a church musician because these are the most common instruments used in Christian churches. Piano or organ music is used in most Protestant and Catholic church services to accompany the choir and congregational hymns, as well as during processionals and recessionals. Other instruments, such as drums, bells, wind instruments like flutes, and string instruments like guitars, are frequently present in Christian churches, either alone or as part of an ensemble. Harps can be found in some churches as well.
Piano and organ music are uncommon in many non-Christian religions around the world, while other instruments are more common. Drums, flutes, tambourines, and other musical instruments are examples of these. Many faiths and churches have handbell choirs, which are groups of musicians who create music ringing a series of handheld bells in concert with one another. An individual who plays an instrument during religious services is classified as a church musician, regardless of the church’s faith or the type of instrument used.
Some religions are adamantly opposed to music. Others believe that while singing is acceptable, it should not be accompanied musical instruments. A church musician would not be used in these churches.
The church musician is a paid position in some churches. This could be a formal employment relationship in which the musician is a church’s direct employee, or a contract relationship in which the musician is a self-employed independent contractor providing musical services for a fee. These situations are most common in large churches with multiple services throughout the week, and the musician may also be required to participate in choir practices and special events like weddings and baptisms.
Volunteer church musicians are used the majority of small to medium-sized churches. These musicians are usually church members who contribute music to the church as part of their service. If the musician plays the piano or organ, the church usually owns the instrument and keeps it at the church. Many musicians who play other instruments use instruments that they have purchased themselves.