Too Many Notes

Too Many NotesMozart’s composition had one flaw: “Too many notes!”  You’ll recall from the movie Amadeus how crestfallen the composer was when his monarch concluded that he was brilliant, but, there are “only so many notes an ear can hear in the course of an evening.”

Do you know a Mozart?  Are you one?

We believe that we will be heard “for our much speaking” like the Gentiles our Lord warned us about (Mt. 6:7), or we are sure people will be swayed to agreement with us if we fill page after page with the priceless information that issues forth from our laptops.

Not too many notes.  Too much speaking.  Too much text.

It’s little wonder that our culture sides with Mozart’s monarch in preferring less speaking, less text.  We are inundated with information, only a fraction of which finds its way into awareness, much less memory.  We are barraged with the written word, which clamors for our attention, approval, assent.  Too much speaking.  Too much text.

Short is good.  White space is your friend.

I proclaim this to every team of leaders.  “Do you want people to read it… to listen?  To understand?  To be inspired, and remember?  Be. Brief.”

Ah, but we pastors (because we seem to be the most. . . ah. . . “notes cluttering” of them all), we word-smiths, we word-revering Gentiles would do well to spend time with a group of Millennials (buying their coffee) who know better than anyone how to capture and captivate the attention of the church today.

Like Mozart’s notes, there are indeed only so many words that the eye, the ear, can perceive in the course of a day.  If we want ours to be among them, let’s strive for. . .

  • Bullet points over paragraphs
  • Paragraphs over pages
  • Active, rather than passive, voice
  • Shorter sentences
  • More images
  • Pauses and space, for they too communicate
  • A mindset that “less is more”

Who knows. . . you may turn out to be our culture’s Mozart.

-John Sproul

John Sproul NewJohn serves as a Vice President and Consultant for Capital Funding Services, and has a passion to partner with congregations seeking to achieve the vision God has for them.  His creativity is expressed in his love for writing, designing, and implementing worship and special events during which people are inspired to respond generously to the future God has for our congregations, schools, and institutions.

Photo: “Like a Piano” 2009 by Leah lockhart used under CCL.

  1. Excellent and relevant article!

  2. Pingback: Crestfallen. Twice. | rsmithing

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