5 Effective Leadership Approaches for Church Music Directors

You have all the credentials. You have a newly-minted music degree in one hand and a polished résumé in the other, but you wonder if you really have what it takes to be a great leader.

What does it take, exactly?

Some of us may have heard the words, "You're a born leader" in our lifetimes. Others of us may not. We may have been the kids that organized the game on the playground, assigning roles and explaining all the rules; or we may have been the kids who were perfectly content just being followers. We may have sought out opportunities to lead and make decisions, or been most comfortable in the middle of the crowd, safely out of the spotlight, and happy to not have all the responsibility.

Read More

2018 Reading Session Picks: Children's Choir

This summer, I’ve been sharing my reading session picks for choirs - twelve anthems for Adult Choir, and eleven anthems for Youth Choir, so far.

The final post in the series this year is anthems you can use with your children's choir. Most of these are brand new this year and feature opportunities to develop part-singing within your choir and include other instruments: organ, flute, and handbells or handchimes. This is a great way to develop musical independence in your singers, help develop their listening skills, and create a memorable and meaningful worship experience for them.

Read More

13 Ways to Continue Developing Your Keyboard Skills This Year

I wasn’t really familiar with the term keyboard skills until I was in grad school, flipping through the course catalog one semester. The course description piqued my interest:

"Practical experience in score reading, figured bass realization, transposition, melody harmonization, and pop symbols.”

Needless to say, I signed up.

Read More

How to Read Lead Sheets and Chord Charts

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.

Last year, I put together a free online workshop on this topic (watch it here). Today, I want to share the transcript, for those of you that may prefer to read it. I’ll talk about chord types, chord symbols, lead sheets and chord charts, accompaniment styles, and variation techniques you can start using right away.

Read More

2018 Reading Session Picks: Youth Choir

A few weeks ago, I shared my reading session picks for adult choirs - 12 new (or new-ish) anthems with good texts, singable lines, and interesting accompaniments, where applicable. Read it here, in case you missed it.

Next in this series is anthems you can use with your youth choir.

Now, youth choir can be tricky, depending on the size of your group and the ages you're working with (middle-school-age singers vs. senior high singers). As such, I tried to include a mix of things on this list: some SATB, some SAB, and even a 2-part anthem for those of you with smaller or younger groups.

Read More