growing up protestant, i am well aware of how music can at times be manipulative. i dont want to fall in to the same trap with Orthodoxy and chants.
Interesting you say this. When I was just starting to learn as a chanter, I felt as though I had to make sure I understood/really believed the words of the chants before I was able to say them, because of an instinctive fear that I might get manipulated by the music. I'm also selective about what chants I listen to, because I suspect that it has an unconscious influence on me.
As for praying, I don't listen to anything while I pray, as this feels wrong to me for reasons I'm not sure of. I do often chant my prayers.
Sometimes its hard to imagine getting emotionally manipulated by chants, but I guess it can happen.
In my world, we will have these big, powerful worship songs thats start out soft and pretty and then build into this big emotional chorus. Most of the churches have fantastic sound systems and pay REALLY good musicians to be in the band, so the music really sounds great. Now, Im not going to say that God cant use this music and truly work in someones life through it. However, I have often wondered if people would get as "into" it if it were traditional hymns or chant. I dont really think people would pay hundreds of dollars to attend these massive conferences if their favorite worship band wasnt there and there was rather someone chanting. ha!
I guess my point is that the big, cool worship songs that mirror the style of music you listen to anyways will have more of an emotional effect on you...
Couldnt God use this emotion for something good though???
Well, I think any music can "drone" ideas into your head, but yes, if emotion played no part in worship, then we would be like the Puritans, driving anything aesthetic out of our churches. As LBK has pointed out, there is Orthodox music of exceptional beauty that involves great skill. Of course, it's not always recognized for what it is, because Orthodox compose special genres of music for Church, whereas modern Protestants try to imitate secular music. Many people find it boring because it's not what they're expecting. (On the other hand, much Orthodox music is genuinely boring when badly executed.)