2019 Reading Session Picks: Children's Choir

2019 Reading Session Picks: Children's Choir

Looking for new anthem ideas for your choir? You’ve come to the right place.

This month, I’m sharing my top “Reading Session Picks” for church choirs (see my 18 anthem recommendations for Adult Choir + more to come).

Today, I’m sharing 10 new anthems for children's choirs (my favorites from all the ones I reviewed!).

The anthems on this list include opportunities for developing part-singing within your choir and adding in other instruments: handbells or handchimes and hand drum. I’ve said it before, but adding instruments to your choir anthems is a great way to develop musical independence, help develop your choir’s listening skills, and create a memorable and meaningful worship experience for all involved.

I know that not every piece on this list will work for your choir, but I hope you find at least one anthem you love.

2019 Reading Session Picks: Adult Choir

2019 Reading Session Picks: Adult Choir

This is one of my favorite posts to write each summer.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been reviewing literally hundreds of new choral releases and distilling them down to the 18 you’ll find on this list (+ a few other lists that I’ll be sharing over the next few weeks).

You should have seen how much music was in my suitcase coming back from Music and Worship Arts Week!

Today’s post is for adult church choirs.

I compiled my favorite new (or new-ish) anthems from 8+ reading sessions into a simple, readable guide that makes choosing new music for your choir a much easier (and less daunting) task.

7 Books to Read This Summer

7 Books to Read This Summer

Summer is the perfect time for a new book (or three).

I love having a book with me when I fly or hop in the car for a long road trip, but also the everyday times like sitting by the pool or lake on a hot summer day or curled up in the sunroom on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that I make a book list at the beginning of every year (here’s what I plan to read in 2019, in case you’re curious, like me).

This list will often change a little as I go through the year and pick up books here and there - from the used bookshop on the corner or the annual church rummage sale - or come across a newly-released book that I really want to read; but, I like to begin the year with a list of books (two per month, or so) already picked out so I have some direction.

Looking for a few books to add to your summer reading list? Here are a few of my favorites (+ a couple I’m planning to read myself!):

Is a Freelance Music Career Right for You?

Is a Freelance Music Career Right for You?

In music school, we learn about performance style and theory, analysis and history. We study and read and listen and write. We soak up rich musical experiences and learn to dedicate ourselves to practicing our instrument and refining our musical skill set.

And if we're lucky, we learn about music careers and the business side of things: arts leadership and advocacy and community engagement, taxes and finances and grant-writing, websites and social media and marketing yourself: the extra-musical skills needed to make it in the 21st century music world.

Will you graduate and land one of the coveted symphony jobs? Will you join the ranks of academia and start down the tenure track?

Some of you may. Some of you did.

But what if you want to do a few different things? What if you want to teach and have a podcast? What if you want to perform in a professional chamber music ensemble and run a YouTube channel?

Planning the Choir Year: 4 Creative Theme Ideas for Your Children's Choir

Planning the Choir Year: 4 Creative Theme Ideas for Your Children's Choir

How do you plan your choir year?

Maybe you spend some time over the summer mapping out what dates your choir will sing, what hymns you’d like to teach them, listening to new releases from the publishers to get ideas for anthems, and searching Pinterest for games and other creative ideas.

Maybe you plan the first few weeks of rehearsals and then get burnt out and start winging it.

Maybe you’re somewhere in between.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”

We need to plan ahead in order to teach effectively. We need to think about the musical growth and learning we’d like to see and make a plan for how to get there.

Life Lately: Spring Edition

Life Lately: Spring Edition

I’ve been thinking a lot about seasons lately - how they shift and change, pulling us into something new, yet familiar, inviting us to change right along with it.

There’s something so reassuring about picturing your life this way: “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

This past season (since my Winter update) has been full of new things: new places, new friends, new challenges, new house projects, new habits.

This is life lately:

How to Use Vocal Exploration in Your Rehearsals: 19 Practical Ideas

How to Use Vocal Exploration in Your Rehearsals: 19 Practical Ideas

Vocal exploration, or time spent exploring what the voice can do is a vital part of early childhood and elementary music-making. Invite your singers to experience what their voice can do and experiment with different types of sounds.

As you plan your choir rehearsals, look for new and creative ways for children to explore what their voices can do. 

Spend a few minutes each week reviewing the four voices: speaking, singing, whispering, shouting. Then, take some time to create vocal sound effects that span the entire vocal range. This helps them build coordination and develop control of their voice, learn about their voice and what it means to sing, and build personal confidence.

11 Prayers for Children's Choir

11 Prayers for Children's Choir

Prayer is an important part of any church choir rehearsal, but maybe especially for children’s choirs.

Spiritual growth goes hand-in-hand with music education in this setting, and taking time to pray together is an important part of cultivating faith, learning how to trust, and developing a personal understanding of who God is.

Praying a short, simple prayer on the spot is always an option, but if you’re looking for something different, here are a few other ideas for prayers you can use in your children’s choir rehearsals:

What to Sing with Your Summer Choir

What to Sing with Your Summer Choir

So, you’ve decided to have a summer choir. 😊

You’ve invited your current choir members and put the word out to others in the congregation who might be interested. Now, it’s time to figure out what you’re going to sing each week.

Depending on how you structure your summer choir, you may have a general sense of how many people you’ll have each week (and how many parts you’ll have covered). But, if you’re leaving it more open and letting people show up without RSVPing ahead of time, choosing music can be a bit more complicated.

Related post: Three Ways to Have a Summer Choir (+ How to Make the Most of Your Time Together)

You need anthems that are:

  • singable and intuitive

  • written in an accessible way

  • easy to learn

Jumpstart Your Music Career with These Helpful Tips

Jumpstart Your Music Career with These Helpful Tips

The beginning of a new career is an exciting time, full of energy, motivation, and possibility.

Maybe you’re taking that first step from music student to music professional, newly-printed diploma in hand (or in the mail - sometimes these things take a while).

Or maybe you’ve been working for a few years and are ready to make a change and set off in a new direction.

Maybe you’re in between things: trying to figure out what you want to do and what kind of musician you want to become, or maybe you’re beginning a second career later in life.

Wherever you are today, and wherever you hope to be in the next few months, here are 5 helpful tips for getting started: