(A VISION FOR CHRISTIAN SONG, by Ken Bible; p.57)
Holy Spirit has been helping Christian composers do that very thing. If you want to compose
hymn tunes, do what successful composers have usually done:
1. Prepare yourself musically. Learn the basics.
2. Learn from the best. Go through a good, diverse hymnal and study the tunes that are the
most expressive, memorable, and broadly used. Note their use of form and repetition.
Look at how they balance predictability and surprise. (Hint: many current congregational
songs lack predictability and thus are too complex.) Immerse yourself in the finest tunes.
Absorb their qualities.
3. For now, forget being published and just write for your local situation. (Many of my early
hymns were written for my Sunday School class.) Listen to how people respond to your
hymns. Be your own toughest critic. Learn from your successes and your failures.
4. Practice, practice, practice. Writing is like basketball or playing piano. It requires skills
that come only through repetition.
Be bold! Write hymn tunes in a variety of styles. But submit to the discipline of simplicity. Keep
the tunes easy and enjoyable enough for the Body of Christ to sing together.