Music was an important element of Jewish temple/synagogue worship and probably influenced the music of the early Christian church. The New Testament records that early Christian worship included singing of psalms from the Old Testament. Subsequently, Christians composed their own hymns.
Music has been in churches for a long time. Initially, it was unaccompanied vocal music—without instruments. During the 10th or 12th century, Western Christians began to use the organ in the liturgy. By the 15th century, organ music was widely accepted in the Roman Catholic West, though it never caught on in the Orthodox East. The Coptic and Ethiopian churches have their own musical traditions, which make use of ancient percussion instruments.
Bishop Ambrose instituted hymn singing in Western church services in 386 AD, but Medieval hymns were not sung by the congregation. Martin Luther, who co-produced a hymnal in 1524, helped return hymns to the people, declaring “I place music next to theology and give it the highest praise.” It wasn’t until the late 17th century and early 18th century and later that many of our current hymns were written. Before that there was the tradition of singing metrical psalms.
A Psalm is a song of praise or music. The psalms were written to be sung, which is what the Apostle Paul encourages us to do in Ephesians 5:19, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” We are told in Psalms 66:1-2, 81:1-2, 98:4-5, and 100 to make a joyful noise to God (singing). Psalm 98:6 tells us to use trumpets and the horn. God loves to hear His children praise Him with music!
Music is spoken of many times in the Bible. A few examples are as follows: 1 Samuel 18:6 (singing and dancing. . . with tambourines, with musical instruments), 1 Chronicles 15:16 (singers with instruments of music, harps, lyres, loud-sounding cymbals to raise sounds of joy), 2 Chronicles 5:13 (trumpeters and singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and glorify the Lord), 2 Chronicles 7:6 (priests stood at their posts and Levites with the instruments of music to the Lord), 2 Chronicles 34:12 (the men did the work faithfully . . .and the Levites, who were skillful with musical instruments). So even those of the priestly class were making music.
Ministry is the performance of a service to bless others. Anyone singing or playing an instrument in church is performing a service for the benefit of the listeners. While music benefits those participating in singing or playing, it definitely is a service, and therefore, music is a ministry.