“Bigger!” said the voice in my in-ear monitor.
I was on stage in a dark room, nearly blinded by spotlights. It was my first time leading worship at a big regional conference for college students, and one of the production managers in the sound booth prompted me to raise my hands higher, move more, clap more, jump, be more physically demonstrative.
I had always known conference worship sets were orchestrated, but this was the first time I could see the minutiae. At one point, I was told to imagine my arms attached to foam pool noodles, to keep them straight and raise them high. Each song was ranked by “energy level” from 1 to 5, and certain sessions could have songs only above a 3.
I remember wondering, Am I manipulating the people watching, singing, and listening? Am I using music to generate an emotional response in the crowd?
The short answer is yes. Worship music can move and manipulate emotions, even shape belief. Corporate worship is neurological and physiological….