A Creative Service Outline for Hanging of the Greens

A Creative Service Outline for Hanging of the Greens

Hanging of the Greens is a traditional Christian ceremony of decorating the church for the Advent and Christmas season, often celebrated on the first Sunday of Advent or during a separate evening service.

Some churches have a Hanging of the Greens service on a Sunday afternoon, the week before the first Sunday of Advent. Others have a workshop-style event the day before the first Sunday of Advent, where families come and learn about the significance of our Christmas decorations and help prepare the church for the new season.

38 Ways to Sing it Again: Silly Ideas for Your Children's Choir

38 Ways to Sing it Again: Silly Ideas for Your Children's Choir

“Good! Now, sing it again.”

How many times do you hear yourself saying these words in rehearsal? We all know the importance of repetition. This is how we learn - by trying, experiencing, and doing it again and again.

The problem is, often, this becomes something we do mindlessly. When we hear someone say, “Good! Now, sing it again,”we go into auto-pilot mode and repeat whatever we just did without really thinking about it.

Did you catch that last part?

Four Pieces for Christmas: A New Handbell Collection

Four Pieces for Christmas: A New Handbell Collection

Introducing my newest handbell collection - Christmas!

Four Pieces for Christmas is a digital collection of four pieces for the Christmas season. These pieces are designed to add a creative element into your services - thoughtful ways to incorporate handbells in new and unique ways.

The music in this collection is written for 2-3 octave handbells (12-17 bells), so they’re easy to learn and accessible for smaller (and younger) groups.

How to Teach a Preschool Choir

How to Teach a Preschool Choir

What does it take to direct a preschool choir? How is working with preschoolers different from working with elementary-age children? What do you need to know?

If you’re new to working with preschoolers or it’s been a while since you’ve been around this particular age group, here’s a quick guide to what it looks like to teach and direct a preschool choir. 

I’m tailoring this to preschool choirs in church settings, but much of what I will describe here is applicable to choirs in school and community settings, as well.

What's Not in the Job Description: The Many Roles of a Handbell Choir Director

What's Not in the Job Description: The Many Roles of a Handbell Choir Director

“Congratulations! We’re excited to have you as our new handbell choir director.

There’s not much to it, really. Just show up on Wednesday nights for rehearsal, pick out a few things to play in worship this year, and arrive a little early those mornings to run through your piece.

The bells are kept in this locked cabinet. You’ll need to retrieve the hidden key to the office to get the key to the cabinet…

Oh, and we’ll need you to recruit a few new members - we had a few people move out of state last year.

Oh, and some of the bells may need repairing - ringers complained last year about a few odd noises…”

Four Unique Advent Traditions for Your Worship Services

Four Unique Advent Traditions for Your Worship Services

The first Sunday in Advent is only seven weeks away!

Advent is a journey; that season of waiting and preparation leading up to Christmas. It’s the beginning of a new liturgical year, a time when we gather in darkness and wait for the Light of the World to come again. 

We re-read the ancient prophecies, we hold on to hope, we remind ourselves what it means to trust in God’s promises and receive God’s peace. We celebrate the gift of joy to the world and the light God shines into the dark places.

Four Pieces for Advent: A New Handbell Collection

Four Pieces for Advent: A New Handbell Collection

Surprise! I released my first collection of handbell music this week!

Four Pieces for Advent is a digital collection of four simple pieces for your Advent worship services. These pieces are designed to add a creative element into your services - thoughtful ways to incorporate handbells in new and unique ways.

The music in this collection is written for 2-octave handbells (12 bells), so they’re easy to learn and accessible for smaller (and younger) groups.

What Type of Choir Director Are You?

What Type of Choir Director Are You?

Take a moment to think about the choir directors you’ve had during your lifetime. What was your first choir director like? If you sang in a choir during high school, what was that director like? Think about the directors you’ve had as an adult, whether in a university, church, or community setting. What were those directors like?

Each one had a different style, right? A different approach to leading, conducting, organizing, and communicating with the choir. What makes one director a stronger leader than another? Which communication style is most effective?

Each one had a different style, right? A different approach to leading, conducting, organizing, and communicating with the choir. What makes one director a stronger leader than another? Which communication style is most effective?

Books You Can Sing and Chant with Your Children's Choir

Books You Can Sing and Chant with Your Children's Choir

I received an email from a preschool choir director recently asking if I had any recommendations for books that could be sung that she could use in her rehearsals.

You know the ones: books that either have lyrics to a familiar children’s song or hymn, or stories with text that can be sung to a familiar tune, like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

There are lots and lots of children’s books out there, and a few helpful lists of books that can be sung or chanted (see here, here, here, and here, for instance). But books that can be used in a church setting? With a children’s choir? Those are a little harder to find.

Three Things I'm Doing Differently in My Piano Studio This Year

Three Things I'm Doing Differently in My Piano Studio This Year

It's been a while since I've written anything about private teaching here. This is a big part of what I do during the week, even though I don't talk about it much here, and I know many of you teach privately, as well, in addition to the other things you do. 

I teach private lessons four days a week at a private school as part of their extracurricular and after-school programming. At the beginning of this year, I shared eight ways to continue developing your teaching skills this year.