Music for the Festival of the Christian Home (Mother's Day)

Music for the Festival of the Christian Home (Mother's Day)

Mother's Day, though not a sacred holiday, is often observed in some way in churches of various denominations.

The day actually originated in a Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia in May 1907, when Anna Jarvis, organized a special service to honor her late mother. The next year, Anna advocated that the second Sunday in May be a day to honor all mothers. Mother’s Day became an official holiday in 1912.

Celebrate Valentine's Day with These Fun, Creative Music Games

Celebrate Valentine's Day with These Fun, Creative Music Games

Valentine’s Day is just over a week away!

Now, I know what some of you are probably thinking: Valentine’s Day isn’t a real holiday! Why should we “celebrate” this in our lessons and rehearsals?

I’m inclined to agree that Valentine’s Day is basically a Hallmark holiday, but at this point in the year, I’ll take pretty much any excuse to mix up my regular teaching routine and introduce something a little whimsical and fun (especially when gummy candy is involved!).

Two Easter Hymn Settings for Brass Quintet

Two Easter Hymn Settings for Brass Quintet

Easter is less than two months away, which means you’re probably in the midst of rehearsing your cantata or ordering last-minute choir anthems, choosing your service music (and practicing that Widor Toccata again), and hiring brass players for the big day (and maybe the week before, as well).

But what will you have them play? Besides brass parts that may be available to accompany your choral selections, and standard repertoire they may have prepared to play for the prelude and postlude, it’s up to you to find hymn arrangements and any other music you’d like them to provide in worship.

Looking for a few new brass arrangements for this year?

I’m thrilled to introduce Two Easter Hymn Settings for Brass Quintet: creative and well-crafted settings of two well-known Easter hymns: Jesus Shall Reign (also known as I Know That My Redeemer Lives) and The Strife Is O'er, arranged for Brass Quintet with Opt. Congregation.

Ubi Caritas: 10 Settings for Holy Week

Ubi Caritas is an ancient chant, thought to have originated in France between the 4th and 10th century (source). The original text has several stanzas. Here is the first stanza with English translation:

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exultemus, et in ipso iucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
Christ's love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart. 

(source)

Making the Most of Your Weekly Choir Rehearsal: 7 Helpful Strategies to Save You Time

Making the Most of Your Weekly Choir Rehearsal: 7 Helpful Strategies to Save You Time

Want to listen to this post instead? Click through to the full post for an audio recording.

Time. 

It’s one of the biggest challenges we face as church musicians and music educators. Here’s what some of you shared on my reader survey in response to the question, “What is your biggest work-related challenge?":

TIME!!! I am always scrambling to get things done.

I find it challenging to fit in all I want (or need) to do. (My inspiration is often greater than my time allotment!)

Limited time (30 min./week).

Lack of enough rehearsal time and space.

I teach Preschool through 8th grade music. It is challenging to find time to put together great lessons for that huge age span.

Trying to make my staff/session understand that SO much of what I do is "invisible hours”; that I spend hours upon hours studying scores, researching liturgy, finding new ways to help all my choirs, etc. So many of them think that the bulk of my time is in front of a choir or congregation, when in actuality there is so much that goes into preparing for those few hours in front of people.

5 Reasons Why Your Rehearsals Feel Monotonous (and How to Fix It!)

5 Reasons Why Your Rehearsals Feel Monotonous (and How to Fix It!)

You know the feeling:

Lackluster.
Laborious.
Boring.
Same old, same old.

It’s easy to slip into a rut in rehearsals from time to time, but I think we can all agree: these are not things we want to feel or experience.

We don’t want to feel like we’re just going through the motions each week; we want to feel excited and energized to sing and learn and make music together.

Four Pieces for Lent: A New Handbell Collection

Four Pieces for Lent: A New Handbell Collection

Lent is a season of reflection, sacrifice, and cleansing. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

To honor this sacred season of the church year, I created Four Pieces for Lent - a digital collection of four pieces for 2-3 octave handbells (12-19 bells). These pieces are designed to add a creative element into your services.

The collection includes a solo arrangement of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” a processional for 12 bells (seven players), a hymn descant for “Fairest Lord Jesus,” and a solo setting of “What Wondrous Love Is This” for 12 bells and solo instrument.

2019 Book List

2019 Book List

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is make a list of books I’d like to read in the year ahead.

If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you know I don’t always get to all the books I have planned (full confession), and sometimes, I deviate from my list in favor of other books that I encounter during the year.

Regardless, I like to begin the year with intention and keep a running list of books that I want to read. (Here are my book lists from 2018, 2017, and 2016, in case you’re curious).

This year, I’m choosing books from seven different categories:

Let's Get Back to the Basics: A Free 5-Day Workshop for Church Musicians & Music Educators

Let's Get Back to the Basics: A Free 5-Day Workshop for Church Musicians & Music Educators

It’s the first week of the New Year and let me guess:

You’re looking back at 2018 and feeling a little worn out. You feel scattered. Your teaching approach feels haphazard and reactionary, and you wish you’d been a little more consistent these past few months.

You want 2019 to be different, but you’re not sure where to start.

You want to be the best teacher you can be, but taking on the task of improving your teaching skills is daunting. You’re not sure what to change or do differently.

Can you relate to that?