I was speaking with a friend of mine who very much likes the theology of the words in our coptic hymns, but at the same time dislikes the music (she finds it boring).
My friend suggested that our hymns need to have new music composed on it for the new generations who do not find coptic music appealing (particularly in the lands of immigration). As someone who loves coptic music, it upsets me to see that someone is not benefiting from something as beautiful as coptic music, though I understand that everyone has their own personality and benefits from everything differently.
She suggested the new hymns should be created, in the context of mission churches which retain the Orthodoxy but adjust the culture, as like those in the USA, but that the standard churches should retain the traditional music.
Of course, one would much rather change the music of these hymns than the words. Assuming the lengths of the hymns would remain the same but with new music, would there be any reason not to compose new music for these hymns (other than the obvious of losing our coptic heritage)?
On another note, my friend suggested that hymns and services needed to be shorter, for the sake of those who do not benefit from lengthy music. As one person benefits from hearing sermons but not reading books, another might benefit from seeing the icons, but not hearing the music - each has their own way of benefiting from the church.
The best example is Good Friday; although I enjoy the length of the hymns, how can I make my brother/sister in the church sit through several hours of hymns, struggling to find any benefit? What if it is to the point that they decide to leave the service early (or arrive late)?
Thanks very much for your words of wisdom :)