33 Choral Anthems with Organ Accompaniment

It’s that time of the year: Easter Sunday is past, and the choir year is beginning to wind down - time to start thinking about music for next year! Too soon?

Perhaps you have plans to attend a local reading session this summer or attend a music- or worship-related conference. Maybe you have some time carved out to sit down with a tall glass of sweet tea (or beverage of choice) and listen through those listening CDs that have been filling up your mailbox recently.

Read More

Signs & Symbols of the Church (and What They Mean)

Have you ever wondered what those letters on the altar stand for? What is the significance of the symbols in the stained glass windows? Why is a fish a symbol of our Christian faith, and what does a peacock have to do with anything?

Yes, the church is full of sacred signs and symbols that tell us about our past - our history - and inform our faith. Each one has some significance and connection to our faith, and each one represents a time in history, a story, a body of believers.

Read More

A Fun Way to Incorporate Composing and Musical Creativity Into Your Teaching

Raise your hand if you tend to leave composing to those required college classes and the professionals who do it for a living.

Why is this? I think the biggest reason may be our own insecurity. I mean, how many of us grew up writing our own musical compositions? How many of us include this as a musical activity in our lives and work today?

If you had classical music training growing up, you probably didn’t spend much time composing or creating. Instead, the focus was likely on learning how to read and interpret what’s on the page (speaking from my own experience here).

Read More

What We Can Learn From Others: Six Things to Listen to, Watch, or Read This Week

There's a message that bears endless repeating and living out in our world today: we need each other. 

We live in a world where we are taught to live in fear of those who are different, to question those with differing beliefs, to be defensive and respond to violence with more violence; but the truth is, we need each other.

We need diversity - different perspectives and ways of seeing the world, different skills and approaches, different opinions. Each one of us is unique, in the way we approach the world, the things we create, the skills and talents we cultivate, and the way we use those gifts in service to others. This is a gift, and an opportunity to learn.

Read More

The Secrets of Motivation: My 3 Biggest Takeaways from Daniel H. Pink's "Drive"

I recently finished a book that’s been on my to-read list for a few years now - Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. The book is based on scientific research by people like Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, Carol Dweck, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, among others.

Before we dive in too deep, let’s talk about what motivation is.

Motivation is what drives us, what propels us forward, what challenges us to keep going; in more formal terms, it’s the "process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors” (source).

Read More