microphone purchase advice
  • Hello, my name is Eric Williams, I'm a cantor and the voluntary interim choir director for my parish, and I'm new to this forum. :)

    I have a question of a technical nature, and I hope this is the right category.

    I want to purchase 3 - 6 microphones suitable for singing in my church (so we're not talking about a big concert setting). The church sound system can only handle a limited number of mics plugged in at once, though. Consequently, I would like something like a multiplexer (a mixer?). I also want to buy a stand for each mic.

    I have a budget of $300. I'd like to order from a net-based store, so some of that might be shipping. Where would you recommend I shop, and do you have have product recommendations?

    Thanks :)
  • donr
    Posts: 969
    FunkyDung, interesting handle? Welcome to the forum. A $300 budget will not get you much. It is impossible to determine what you need without knowing your layout, your acoustic challenges are, the number of seats in your church, where the does the choir sing from (font, side, choir loft), etc. I can easily spend $500 or more on a mic or you can find cheap mics for $50 or $60 but you get what you pay for. You will find good advice on this forum so keep on asking questions.
    Churches that built acoustically accurate do not need much amplification if any.
    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • We're singing from the old sanctuary, behind the newer sanctuary "island" built for the freestanding altar. Acoustics aren't too bad, but the mics we're using just weren't meant for singing. They're old ones meant for speaking, and you practically have to eat them to be heard.

    P.S. I'm aware my handle is...unique. It's actually an obscure secular musical reference I've used on forums for a very long time. I thought my handle and my display name would be distinct, though. Oops. ;)
  • FunkyDung,

    (Indeed, a strange moniker). I implore you to think of better uses of $300. Microphones, especially those attached to temperamental sound systems, constitute money being wasted. What you can get for $300 probably can't fix the problem.

    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • quilisma
    Posts: 136
    My microphone purchase advice is ....don't. If there isn't a wall of carpet in between you and the rest of the building you can surely get away without amplification. Or are you trying to sing louder than some other source of sound - an over-zealous organist, for example? Such problems can be resolved by gluing some of the stops closed and putting a rock under the swell pedal ;-)

    However, if you insist, look at the Shure SM137. Ok, your budget would probably only get you 1, but this may not be such a bad thing - more mikes can mean problems of phase cancellation.
    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,678
    Is there another place the choir can be where amplification isn't necessary (a loft)?

    If not, you might put notices in the bulletin looking for some donations for the project and set a higher budget level. At $300 for amplification, if it is needed, you're just going to find headaches and people upset about not being able to hear things.

    Amplification should be the last resort - but if its a resort you're going to, you need to get the right people involved to get the right result (which is something that sounds as unamplified as possible)!
    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • Thanks for all the advice so far. :)

    The church (sadly) carpeted. I don't know if the organist is over-zealous, but we do have trouble singing over the organ. My ragtag choir is also a bit timid, so they are not easily heard.

    I think you've all convinced me to hold off on a mic purchase. Would a small amp make sense, though? If the pickup from the mics is insufficient, due to age or defect, perhaps we can compensate. In the meantime, next choir practice will focus on projection. :)

    P.S. For the curious: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom_Heart_Mother_(suite)
  • As I read up on audio tech, I think a light bulb may be lighting up in my dimwitted brain. A month or two ago, a piece of equipment at the church died, and we had no mic output. Once the fried component was removed, and all the series connections were restored, we got mic audio back. However, the choir is almost inaudible to the congregation.

    So...I'm thinking the problem is that the dead piece was a microphone pre-amp (or perhaps a mixer with a built-in pre-amp). Sound like a reasonable hypothesis? Any recommendations for an affordable replacement?
  • FunkyDung,

    I stand by my original advice: avoid wasting $300 on a microphone or on any amplification system.

    Remember that the choir exists to praise God first, and then to lift the hearts and minds of the faithful to the things of God. Ergo, since God doesn't need a hearing aid, you don't need a microphone.


    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Welcome FD.
    Questions:
    1. What "piece of equipment" died that disabled "output," presumably amplified sound?
    2. Have you access to the sound system components such as the main power amplifier, any mixers segregating mic or source inputs that feed the main amp? What other components can you identify that are part of the whole system?

    Only after you have access to the whole system, then you can work toward the source of your volume issue from a process of elimination protocol. That's the first step.

    I agree with my colleagues that "more mics" isn't a silver bullet remedy. If, OTOH, the one mic input you have in your "choir" area functions well, and the volume level is at "max headroom" on whatever's processing the signal from it, then $300 would be well spent for a mixer, specifically a Yamaha mixer that comes in at about $200. That would leave you $100 for a AT "Midnight Blue" condenser mic that projects an "enriched" field of vibration receptors to the mic diaphragm. And you have four dedicated inputs so that multiple mic's can be accommodated in only one channel to the main mixer and amp. (Caution, this might also bring forth other problems.)
    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    Sweetwater out of Ft Wayne could probably help you.
    Thanked by 1melofluent
  • Get someone to record out in the room. Then have a meeting with the organist and together listen to the balance.

    Singing is not to fill the building, but to be present in the building - microphones are often over-used. People also, sadly, have lost the ability to listen, expecting things to be loud and ever-present.
    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • If anyone 'needs' microphones they either have a padded cell of a church that is as dead as a TV studio, or they don't know how to sing. If the latter, it's not their fault. Your task is to teach them. Never, ever, put microphones in front of your choir.
  • lmassery
    Posts: 350
    I have found the AT2035 Cardioid Condenser Microphone from AudioTechnica to work fairly well. It is not that expensive.
    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    I agree with the no mics thing. I only use one when I have to accompany myself singing for Mass, as proper technique for both organ and voice aren't likely to happen at the same time: normally one has to be compromised for the other and usually it's the organ tech for the singing because the sung word is more important. By this, I mean that significantly less complicated accompaniments are played, often improvised.
    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
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  • Does wall-to-wall carpeting count as a padded cell? ;)

    Thanks again for all the answers. :)

    What my choir lacks in professional skill, it makes up for with love of the Lord. Nobody appears to be tone deaf, but they do have limitations, especially wrt projection, due to advanced age. Hence the need for mics.
  • Hence the need for mics.


    You left out the word "perceived". Microphones aren't necessary because God doesn't need a hearing aid.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    I have found the AT2035 Cardioid Condenser Microphone from AudioTechnica to work fairly well. It is not that expensive.


    I have used these, as well as the Midnight Blues. In a perfect world where money is available to hire professional cantors, the acoustics of the building wonderful, and the volunteer cantors available and of higher quality, microphones would not be needed. I am still looking for that perfect world where I can be snotty as hell and look down on everyone else who uses microphones. LOL.
  • Charles,

    As one of the people who is the target of your scatter-shot comment, I must insist that if we lose sight of the fact that God is our target audience, then He isn't our target, and something is fundamentally wrong with our worship.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Chris, something in your declaration(s) above that "God is our (primary) target audience" seems theologically muddled, though I get the larger point regarding our efforts. I think the semantics of "audience" obfuscates the intent and form of worshipping the Almighty. "Target" also is problematic.
    By your logic, and I've experienced this many times, when I try to remediate the foibles of particular choristers who will not conform their personalities and voices to the simple consensus of choral blend and beauty, they often reply with "I don't care what you want, I'm-a singin' fer God!" That sort of myopia can also encumber "successful" choirs who've estranged themselves from the Faithful and other liturgical ministries because they're so good, so accomplished that they usurp the roles of all of the Body of Christ at worship. That narcissism is not a healthy form of worship either. We're all in the same hospital for sinners on Sunday, so things like microphones/PA's/certain instruments are secondary concerns as regards true means to a true end.
  • If God is our target office, why do we get fired for doing what his church says is the correct recipe for music for worship?

    I mean, even Wendy's has better control over its franchise locations than the Catholic church when it comes to quality control and job performance....especially by its managers.

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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674

    As one of the people who is the target of your scatter-shot comment, I must insist that if we lose sight of the fact that God is our target audience, then He isn't our target, and something is fundamentally wrong with our worship.


    Nothing scatter-shot about it. Some seem to enjoy speaking for God a bit too much. Easy to do when you are in a different situation, building, set of church politics, and without limited resources. Why not respect the musician doing the best he can under possibly difficult circumstances? God is perfectly capable of speaking for Himself, if he so desires.

    I will add another note. I have been in churches where microphones are a necessity. There is one locally where the founding priest called in a friend who was a recording engineer to do the building sound system and acoustics. It is like being in a sound studio and you can't hear anything in that building without amplification. Even the organ is amplified through the sound system. Worst acoustics I have ever experienced. Should a musician find themselves in such a place, their options would be very limited by the building and acoustics.
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 873
    Solution: set up some microphones to make everyone happy, then don't turn them on. Win - win.

    I did this inadvertently when I recorded my choir, and everyone raved about how great the choir sounded with the new mic's. I didn't have the heart to tell them nothing was being amplified.
    Thanked by 1Elizabeth_Schmitz
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I mean, even Wendy's has better control over its franchise locations than the Catholic church when it comes to quality control and job performance....especially by its managers.

    Apples to oranges, FNJ. If restaurants (all for profit enterprises) were analogous to the HRCC, Wendy's franchises would run the gamut from monastery refectories, Medieval inns, hovels or castles, ornate and specified gourmet bistros and palaces in Vienna and Paris, Hometown buffets and cafeterias (pardon the pun) as well as drive-thru's (another pun!)
    "Church" is neither a laboratory nor a museum, nor solely a political/social/economic institution. Therefore it must perpetually look back and forward in time simultaneously. For Protestants and other upstart creeds, it's all they can do with sola scriptura to hold center because of those natures of institutions.
    At least the HRCC, as incoherent as manifested globally it may be, benefits by a clear and present hierarchy and deposit of faith and tradition. Trouble is, some of her "managers" fancy themselves as ringmasters, referees, bureaucrats, functionaries and most often, the landed gentry. HHFrancis won't affect that appreciably, he's tired already. All bets are off in my estimation. So if FD needs advice about mics, give him advice about mics, if Chris and Jackson want a puritanical ethos in every RCC parish, let 'em work out their purpose too. As much as I would love to dwell in an idyllic, orthodox and living tradition handed-from-the-past, I say, "Darn you, Catholic Church, I just can't seem to quit you."
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • if Chris and Jackson want a puritanical ethos in every RCC parish, let 'em work out their purpose too


    It's not Puritanical. In fact, it's the polar opposite of Puritanism. Puritans go around judging everyone and lose sight of God because (among other things) they pursue the illogical Sola Scriptura. Puritans banned music, unless it were metrical psalms. Puritans required everything in the "vernacular", so that it could be understood by the people.

    Exactly how far does compromise get us, in matters of principle? Chesterton was right: be rigid in principles, and flexible with people, instead of flexible in principles and rigid with people.

    Chris, something in your declaration(s) above that "God is our (primary) target audience" seems theologically muddled, though I get the larger point regarding our efforts. I think the semantics of "audience" obfuscates the intent and form of worshipping the Almighty. "Target" also is problematic.


    I will happily accept a re-formulation, for I see completely the point you're making, and it is a valid one. I think the technical language of "object" and "subject" might solve the problem, but would be interested in how you might solve it.

  • '...puritanical...' [!!!???]


    This is preposterous! What, precisely, does it even mean? That whatever standards so labelled are different from those being peddled by the labeller? Does it mean rigid and unbending (as opposed to principled and faithful)? If there are any who, by these definitions or parameters, are puritanical they are the ones who give us padded cell churches made to order for an otherwise unnecessary sound system.
    And, alas, Charles, none of us, none of us, is so blessed that we never ever have to deal with what you might call the 'real world' and its puritanical commitment to the tawdry, the maukish, the maudlin, the tasteless, and the awful, the unorthodox, and the skirting-as-near-as-one-can-get-away-with of heresy, and, and, ...... but that doesn't lead to us pleading their cause.

    One expects a higher ratiocination from you.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I apologize for indiscriminate choice of adjectives, Jackson, and its implied use as a noun for Chris. And for the record, I've been a preposterous personality as long as memory serves, can't help myself sometimes. It's nice to know you have higher expectations of me.
    The larger point, gentlemen, is "Are we basically on our own?" crying in the wilderness as Noel seemed to imply in his post comparing the RCC to Wendy's?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    The larger point, gentlemen, is "Are we basically on our own?" crying in the wilderness as Noel seemed to imply in his post comparing the RCC to Wendy's?


    Wendy's at least offers good baked potatoes. ;-)
  • Yes, God is the "target". However, the choir's job (as I see it) is to lead the congregation by example. A choir also (ideally) helps to create a rich sensory experience to aid the congregation in prayer. That is, other aspects of the mass engage the sight, smell, touch, proprioceptive, etc., while the choir aids in engaging the hearing. It's not a performance, and I know that, but if the choir cannot be heard, they cannot perform those functions properly. If they cannot be heard because they are aged, timid, in bad acoustics, etc., then they need amplification.
  • FunkyDung,

    Here's a point of contention between the OF and the EF. In the OF, the assumption (in practice, anyway) is that everything is in the vernacular, and so participation must be accomplished by leading the congregation - in effect, forcing the congregation to sing, or, at least, behaving as if the congregation has to hear the choir so that it can sing. Therefore, amplification is necessary. In the EF, the congregation isn't ignored, but cues such as change in organ registration clue the attentive congregants into when and how they are welcome to sing. No hand signals from cantors [self-edited simile], no microphones, no needless stage managing.
  • Let's not turn this into a debate about the relative merits of the EF vs the OF, shall we? ;)

    ETA: FWIW, irrespective of arguments over to Latin vs. vernacular (for which my opinion does not fall in either camp), I believe that making more prayers audible by the congregation and increasing the opportunities for vocal congregational participation were good changes introduced with the OF. Granted, those could have been achieved without a complete and inorganic overhaul, but I digress. ;)
  • Eric,

    I won't engage in the argument on any other ground in this posting. I only observed that in the minds of some, the "environment" of the EF precluded microphones for anything other than preaching (which is addressed to the people), but the "environment" of the OF doesn't preclude microphones --- especially in the hearts and minds of its most ardent advocates. If the use or non-use of microphones is a ground on which to determine the relative merits of the OF and EF, then I'll engage that combat, but I only meant to suggest that the EF precludes microphones and the OF doesn't. Since I'm personally opposed to microphones in nearly every case, that makes me appreciate the EF more than the OF .... please read carefully the claim that I've just made.
    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • I cannot subscribe to the cavalier assignment of an implied microphone culture to the OF. This is to confuse the shabby manner in which many celebrate it with its natural expression. This is screed that some never tire of bandying about. The OF is not inherently whatever is implied by 'microphone appropriate'. Further, if the implication is that the EF need not be heard, that is another argument against the clerical kabuki-ism that some of its detractors raise. Those who wish to characterise the OF by reference to the awful things that some do to it should make a parallel with the abject and routine sloppiness with which many celebrated the EF when it was the only rite in use. Conversely, if one is referencing a beautifully done EF, one should compare it to a beautifully done OF. It is people in and out of holy orders whose liturgical praxis is unfortunate - not any rite in and of itself. The OF does not call for or require the bad things that people do to it. And, as I've said before, it is likely that if the EF were the only thing around these people would be grossly abusing it.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    And, as I've said before, it is likely that if the EF were the only thing around these people would be grossly abusing it.


    And they did! I am old enough to remember. The whippersnappers seem to think heaven on earth existed before Vatican II. It didn't. That silent canon and the cult of the priest have been condemned numerous times throughout the history of the church. Yet we still have those who want to make liturgy into some kind of secret mystery cult where the people are spectators. That is not how liturgy was or is supposed to be

    A good sound system in a building that needs one in the first place, is transparent. One should only be able to tell that readings and such are audible. The sound system shouldn't be so overpowering it calls attention to itself. Amplification is supposed to help, not dominate.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    Yes, God is the "target". However, the choir's job (as I see it) is to lead the congregation by example.


    The bigger question: are you seeing it correctly? The choir isn't just a super-singing-congregation-extension, they have their own liturgical office.
  • Jackson,

    In an earlier post I noted that I was describing the OF as it is usually celebrated in our day, not as it is ideally celebrated.

    Now, I will raise a question: what, precisely, is the correct culture of the OF? Are the multitudinous options part of the culture as it should be, or merely as it is? Is a commentator part of the culture as it should be, or merely as it is? Is versus populum merely allowed, or required? Do we abandon the GIRM to find the correct culture, and return to the documents of the Council?


  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    Good questions, Chris. Correct culture? I don't know, but I do know that with the current culture, it seems everyone is in charge - meaning when everyone is in charge, no one is.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I gotta say, this thread has become pretty demoralizing for me. I had no idea a simple (though apparently misguided) question about microphones would make me question the purpose and value of the choir I'm trying to enlarge and lead. :(
  • lmassery
    Posts: 350
    That's one thing we need to work on with this forum - answering the question posed and staying on topic. Often threads devolve into a debate or tangent.
    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • "The bigger question: are you seeing it correctly? The choir isn't just a super-singing-congregation-extension, they have their own liturgical office."


    Could you elaborate or point me in the direction of useful articles that aren't too legalistic? I'm genuinely curious, but I don't want to get sucked into some kind of debate.

    FTR, I'm doing the best I can to select suitable hymns from Breaking Bread (what few their are), since that's what I'm stuck with (unless folks want me to dust off the shelved copies of Gather. *shudder*). Whenever I cantor, I tend to choose solid English translations of chants for the psalm and alleluia (usually from Lumen Christi Missal these days). It's not like I'm leading the choir in singing Haugen, Haas, Schutte, or similar dreck for every hymn (though I'm unable to avoid them completely, alas). ;)
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Eric, the kerfuffle you've experienced here is Standard Operating Procedure on most liturgical list-serves, don't be discouraged. Pardon the expression, but newbies who wander into this forum can't possibly have an idea of the 180 degrees of divergence among a society of "Know it alls" (I include myself) in an elite (that I mean in the kindest, most honest meaning) assemblage of "experts" with which they've decided to consort.
    Many suffer from what I call "horse or zebra syndrome." You come asking about grooming a horse, and you get 75% of answers that have to do with grooming zebras. It's been, and I've been here for a LONG time, a real detriment that some true experts here can't divorce their own predilections from the practical advice and answers that folks offer up here. Stay your course, evaluate the advice given you, and do not get discouraged by "pie in the sky" philosophies offered in lieu of straight-forward advice that would help you NOW.
    Go back to my post of June 29.
    And yes, I'm still preposterous even after turning 64 yesterday!
    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • Eric,

    Hi! Remember me?

    I can understand your frustration. Although a non-amplified choir is ideal, you are the best one to judge whether or not your choir needs amplification, since you alone here are acquainted with your church building and choir. Don’t feel that you have to apologize for using microphones if they will help your choir’s ministry.

    I’m no expert on sound systems, but in my experience, the most successful amplification systems for choirs do not use the church’s speaker system, since they are usually designed for speech, not music.

    Rather, the best situations I’ve encountered have separate, high-fidelity speakers which slightly amplify the choir and are in the same physical area as the choir. This way, all of the choir’s sound comes from the location where they are singing. Of course, careful placement of microphones and speakers is necessary to avoid feedback issues. Ideally, the amplified sound would serve to slightly boost the choir’s volume, and would not be louder than the non-amplified sound of the choir.

    In response to your question regarding documentation on the role of the choir, paragraphs 28-33 of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2007 document, Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship might be helpful.
    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • "Hi! Remember me?"


    Yes, I do, and it seems you remember me. I must apologize for the way I turned a difference of tastes and preferences into something insulting years ago. I am sorry for my overzealous commentary. I'd like to think I've grown in the intervening years since those remarks. I've been told my wife can take a lot of credit for that. ;)

    Thank you for your advice. :)

    ETA: Revisiting my archived emails, I see that I never had the guts to respond to your email to me. I apologize for that as well. Why say all this on this public forum? Because my offending remarks were public, and I should publicly be held publicly accountable for them.
    Thanked by 1Fr. Jim Chepponis
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,528
    Welcome Eric. Given the opinions on microphones to be found in a quick search of the archives (and also given the FD handle) you might forgive some of us for thinking we were being trolled! The part of your post that leapt out was "voluntary interim choir director", certainly a difficult role, especially if it's open-ended. If it isn't, give some thought to whether your successor might find the equipment a white elephant. For $300 you could get written recommendations from an acoustician, or have a choral clinician work with your singers on vocal technique.
    Thanked by 1Eric D. Williams
  • Sorry to give the impression of trolling, however erroneous. My role is open-ended in the sense that we do not know how soon we will be able to hire a full-time organist and choir director. For the sound equipment, I'm merely looking for a stop-gap solution. There's been talk of a complete sound system overhaul for some time, but I have the impression that movement has been cautious (or glacial, depending on your perspective). In the meantime, I'd just like to make small tweaks that make the best of what we have.
  • "In response to your question regarding documentation on the role of the choir, paragraphs 28-33 of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2007 document, Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship might be helpful."

    I haven't had a chance to absorb the document itself yet, but when I googled it I found a thread on these forums about it. Folks around here weren't particularly enthused about it. ;) I wonder how they feel about ~8 years later.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Well, many of us appreciate that STTL affirmed the role of the choir as having a liturgical role not merely as a part of the congregation. This corrects the misunderstanding some people have which would reduce the choir to being only a model and support for congregational singing, and therefore having no distinct role.

    One way to confirm this distinct role is by noting passages in the GIRM which say that some parts of the Mass may be sung by the choir alone.
  • Having finally read the whole document, I find myself a little confused. I get the impression that a fully sung mass - involving the congregation - is the ideal. In contrast, the choir singing alone seems to be preferred when the congregation lacks the ability or willingness to sing. Have I misunderstood? Perhaps I need to more carefully study the relationships between choir singing alone, whole congregation singing, and "progressive solemnity".
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    Have I misunderstood? Perhaps I need to more carefully study the relationships between choir singing alone, whole congregation singing, and "progressive solemnity".


    When you figure all that out, let me know, too! Welcome to the land of the eternally confused. That may have been by design, not accident. LOL.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Eric, (just to confuse you more, I'm one of the three Charles' who post here frequently)
    What CDub above says about the "land of eternally confused" mirthfully isn't too far from the truthful actuality. SttL was a sort of revised primer to a former set of guidelines that dominated and steered the dubious course of American catholic music for decades, "Music in Catholic Worship." It's hallmark line, the three judgments-music must be adjudicated as "liturgical, pastoral and artistic"- basically gave musicians vague and individualistic license to fill musical accompaniment to ritual actions of the Mass as if they were assembling a structure from Tinker Toys or Legos. The sponsor group of this forum essentially is trying to realize a truly lawful document issued 112 years ago by S. Pius X, his motu proprio Tra le sollecitudini. But we do so while strenuously trying to also honor the post-conciliar liturgical documents that also have the weight of canon law, The GIRM, CSL and MS. And there is some tension between 1903 and 1967, best signified by the term "options." Which brings me back to CDubs' joke about confusion. I have only three items of advice as you begin to help re-orient your parish's music ministry:
    1. When you judge music, forget those three quoted above. The best criteria were cited in 1903 as "sacred, universal and beautiful."
    2. Along with that, make your decisions in manner not unlike physicians. "First, do no harm." Sometimes, simple and humble is the nobler way to go.
    3. Try to avoid seeing both problems and solutions as a "black or white" issue. Idealism, especially when it's employed stubbornly, can really disable anyone's best intentions.
    Cheers from California.