As the Church in China continues to grow and mature, one of the issues that is coming to the fore is that of music. Until recently, much of the music played and sung in Chinese churches has been on the traditional side – translated western hymns or indigenous folk-style music (popular in rural churches). Only in the past few years have we seen the emergence of what might be described as “Christian Contemporary Music,” popular, as one might expect, among the younger generation, particularly in the cities. The main drivers of this move towards contemporary worship music have been music ministries outside of China, such as Streams of Praise and Hillsong. Now, however, Christians in China are beginning to find their voice. This article from the Christian Times is about the publication of a book called Drums and Worship, written by a percussion teacher at a Christian music school.
Joyful River School of Music Percussion Teacher releases a book “Drums and Worship”
In recent years, with the growth of the church in China, more people are recognizing the importance of worship; heavenly worship can bring down heavenly power and blessing. In response to the call of God the Joyful River Music School has published a book called Drums and Worship. This will be the first book by a professional Christian drummer about how to worship God with drums.
Joyful River Music School is a praise and worship ministry calling the church to produce good music and to use its best to worship God. Many younger brothers and sisters are willing to devote themselves to this and are receiving training.
They recently published a book Drums and Worship written by the school’s professional drumming instructor, Brother Li Cixian. This is his first book.
Li Cixian was born into a Christian family and so from a young age attended Sunday School, youth groups, and served in the church with his parents. At age 18, he enrolled in the music department of a Korean seminary to begin a systematic study of praise and worship, and of drumming.
After graduation, he became the leader and drummer for the Ebenezer Worship Band, and was invited to be a lecturer in percussion at his alma mater. At age 22, he was admitted to the Beijing Midi School of Music. Upon graduation, he entered the ATA Band as a drummer. Since then he has also worked as a percussion instructor at Joyful River Music School.
He has cooperated and played with Huangguolun, Xianghai, Xunchi, Huangqishan, Dongfangbili, Caiqianqian, Hillsong, and many other Christian artists on songs such as “Testimony of the Times,” “Harmonious Love,” and “From Eternity to Eternity.” He has also participated in numerous large-scale concerts as a drummer and musical director.
Why write Drums and Worship? According to Brother Li, there are numerous references to drumming in the Bible, beginning with Genesis, and each time the drums are shown to be a be an important feature of worship.
“Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” (Psalm 150)
“And it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud.” (2 Chronicles 5:13)
We also read in 1 Chronicles 16:5 that “Asaph the chief, and second to him Zechariah, then Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom and Jeiel, with musical instruments, harps, lyres; also Asaph played loud-sounding cymbals.” In this we see the close relationship between Asaph and God. He is not just a songwriter and worshiper leader; he has another identity which is often not noticed – that of a percussionist.
In the foreword of the book, Brother Li describes how God called him to be a drummer. At first, he was surprised, but over time he realized that God was teaching him to understand different perspectives in worship. This book is a product of that growth in understanding.
This book, which took Brother Li three years to write, can be described as “good news” for Chinese worshipers. Brother Li wrote this book because there has never been a book written in China on the Christian teaching of drums, something that was a concern to many brothers and sisters.
The book is written from the perspective of a worshiper. It analyzes the forms of the church. These include rhythm, basic skills, speed, and other specific technical exercises and explanations. Looking at these from a philosophical perspective helps us to understand more clearly the need for excellence in drumming training. The book also has collected 14 different pieces of music from a variety of sources (Hillsong, New Life, Streams of Praise, etc.) as demonstration tracks. This will help brothers and sisters to learn more quickly how to use drums in worship.
Now that the book has been published and is available online, Brother Li hopes that it will “bless many people and bring them joy.”
According to Brother Li, the Joyful River School of Music will also publish books on guitar and piano in worship.
To purchase Drums and Worship online, go here.
 In the Chinese translation of the Bible, this passage includes the character 鼓, which means drum.
 The English translation uses the word “cymbal,” while the Chinese word used is broader.
Original article (and photo): 中国教会首本鼓手教材出炉：乐河音乐学校推出新书《鼓手&敬拜》(Christian Times — translated and posted with permission)