New! Online Keyboard Skills Class for Church Musicians

Music school is great, but if you want to be a church musician in the 21st century, there are lots of things you're left to figure out on your own - things that simply aren't taught in most schools or private studios.

This includes:

  • playing and singing or playing and conducting at the same time
  • accompanying and supporting choral and congregational singing
  • harmonizing melodies (with and without chord symbols)
  • finding cadence points and vamping in the moment
  • creating modulations and transposing at sight
  • improvising transitions and creating musical underscores
  • playing 5-finger patterns in all 24 keys (12 major, 12 minor)

And the list goes on. Where do you start? How do you learn and develop these skills?

If you can relate to any of this, then this course is for you.

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Non-Salesy Ways to Recruit and Sustain Your Music Ministry

Growing a church music program is an important part of what we do as directors and leaders. In building a program, we’re building a place where people of all ages and walks of life can come and learn and grow. We’re creating a safe environment for them to explore and discover and feel loved and supported and encouraged.

Most of you likely inherited your church’s choir program and are building year to year on that foundation. Others of you might be starting from scratch—building a program from the ground up.

Either way, we’re always building, right? Trying new things, finding new things to offer, creating new opportunities for people to come and grow in their faith and knowledge of God, learn about music and develop musical skills, and find new ways to connect to worship.

Some of our biggest challenges as church musicians are recruiting people to be part of the ministry work we do and sustaining that ministry for years to come.

Sound familiar? If so, this post is for you!

Today, I’m sharing five effective tips and strategies for recruiting for your church ministry and outlining several things you can do to help sustain your ministry, now and in the future.

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How to Read Lead Sheets and Chord Charts [Video]

You want me to play that? Where is the left hand part? Where is the time signature? Why aren't there any barlines?

If you haven't guessed it by now, I'm talking about lead sheets and chord charts.

I'm mixing things up today and offering this post as a mini online workshop!

So, grab a pen and a piece of paper (or better yet, print out the corresponding practice files - there's a notes page at the end of the packet) and get ready for a crash course in how to read lead sheets and chord charts.

This will be especially relevant to those of you in more contemporary church settings, but I think you’ll find that the skills used in playing lead sheets and chord charts are skills we can all use - these are just basic musicianship skills, for the most part.

So even if you’re not in a situation where you're playing from lead sheets on a regular basis, I think you’ll find the skills useful in the work you do - from harmonizing to composing to playing more by ear to developing flexibility, and more.

Enjoy! (And P.S. Be sure to watch to the end for an exciting announcement!)

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2017 Reading Session Picks: Ensemble

When I have the opportunity to sit in on reading sessions, I’m keeping an eye out for any good anthem - whatever the voicing might be. If it has good text, is well-crafted musically and artistically, and is versatile enough to be used more than one Sunday out of the year, I make a note of it.

Everyone has their own rating system for this - some use a check-plus, check, check-minus system, others use smiley faces (with teeth, without teeth, indifferent, sad). To each their own, right?

Anyway, once I get back home with the anthems I saved, I divide them up into piles for easy list-making and cataloging later: Adult Choir, Youth, Children’s Choir, and Ensemble.

I’ve already shared my lists for adult choir and children’s choir; today, I’m sharing a few pieces I think would work well for an adult or youth ensemble. Enjoy!

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How to Create a Seamless, Joyful Experience for Your Preschool Choir

Sing this with me! (To the tune of “Oh, How I Love Jesus”)

Come and sing together,
Come and sing together,
Come and sing together,
It’s time to praise the Lord!

Clap your hands together,
Clap your hands together,
Clap your hands together,
It’s time to praise the Lord!

On the next verse, change the lyrics to add your own movement or hand motion idea! Better yet, ask a child in your class to suggest a motion, for example, “rub your hands together,” or “stomp your feet together.”

When I jump into preschool choir rehearsal or music class and see so many little eyes peering up at me in wonder, I realize I’m encountering a divine appointment.

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