School of Music


Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS)


Jerry Newman


worship, orchestra, contemporary worship, instruments, improvisation


Liturgy and Worship | Music


Despite the high demand for contemporary worship musicians to lead contemporary worship services, there remain classically trained orchestral musicians who desire to worship God with their instruments. Biblical evidence reveals, God, who highly values diversity and creativity, desires these traits in worship. Likewise, this evidence suggests God accepts and is pleased with all who offer Him true worship, regardless of their instrument. As such, there must be ways to accept these classically trained orchestral musicians into contemporary worship contexts and utilize them to enhance worship. Based on biblical evidence, industry resources, and music education materials, this qualitative study identifies the challenges facing the successful utilization of an orchestral ensemble within a contemporary worship setting in a typical modern evangelical worship service and identifies potential solutions to these challenges. The study will identify the benefits of successfully utilizing an orchestral ensemble in contemporary worship contexts. This study identifies that the most significant challenges facing the successful utilization of an orchestral ensemble in a contemporary worship context are the availability of classically trained musicians, the availability of contemporary orchestrations of praise and worship songs, space limitations, and the ability to improvise from a chord chart amongst classically trained musicians. This study also identifies the most significant benefits of utilizing an orchestral ensemble in a contemporary worship context as increased diversity in worship, broader appeal to congregants, and greater depth and breadth of sonic possibilities in worship. Since contemporary worship continues to grow in demand, and orchestral musicians continue to desire to offer their gifts to God in worship, this study will aid others in discovering new, creative ways to utilize orchestral ensembles in their contemporary worship contexts.