The Importance of Creating a Sabbath

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” - Exodus 20:8

The idea of a Sabbath is probably not new to most of you. You’ve likely heard about it in church, read about it in your Bible, and seen it outlined on countless 10 Commandment posters, but what does it really mean to "remember the Sabbath day”? How do we “keep it holy”?

Before we get into the details of all that, here’s a little bit of the history behind this sacred practice:

History of the Sabbath

We read about it from the beginning of the Bible, how God finished the work of creation and rested on the seventh day. "God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:3)

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How to Start a Handbell Choir (with Zero Experience)

So, you want to start a handbell choir. The only problem is, you don't know the first thing about ringing and your ringers are mostly newbies without a whole lot of previous musical experience.

What's a want-to-be handbell choir director to do?

The good news is you don't need to have a lot of experience or professional training to lead and direct a handbell choir (though, that never hurts). With a desire to learn, a solid sense of rhythm and steady beat, and a little practical know-how, you'll be on your way to building and leading a handbell choir in no time.

Today, I'm going to walk you through the step-by-step process of starting and directing a handbell choir with little (or zero) experience. Ready to get started?

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"Immortal Love, Forever Full" and 15 More Anthems for Holy Week

Holy Week is the week in between Palm Sunday and Easter. It’s the time in the church year when we remember the Last Supper, Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal, the denial, the crucifixion.

Some churches have several Holy Week services: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil. Others alternate between having a Maundy Thursday service one year and a Good Friday service the next. Still others have one combined Holy Week service that touches on all the events of the week: the Last Supper, Jesus praying in the Garden, and the Crucifixion.

Last year, I shared my service outline for a combined Holy Week service that incorporated music, art, and poetry. I used symbols to guide us through the events of the week: Light, Water, Table, Garden, Courtyard, Cross, Darkness. Download a copy for free here.

Looking for a few anthem ideas for your Holy Week service(s)? Here are a few to consider:

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Top 10 Résumé Tips for Professional Musicians

A résumé is a professional document representing who you are and what you’ve done in your career.

It shows your qualifications, skills, education, and experience, but it also demonstrates other less-obvious things, like attention to detail, organizational skills, commitment, and even creativity and innovation.

Your résumé tells the story of who you are and what you do.

Now, in terms of look and feel, résumés often follow some sort of template. This varies by industry: some use color blocks and bold fonts, even photos or icons to showcase their work and experience.

In the music industry, especially churches, community music schools, colleges, and K-12 schools, things tend to be pretty traditional.

Often, the people interviewing and hiring at these organizations will be looking for a pretty standard résumé format: clean and simple, black and white, two pages or less. That doesn’t mean you can’t mix it up and have a résumé that’s a little more modern, but it is something to keep in mind as you polish your document and get it ready to submit somewhere. 

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6 Strategies for Helping a Child Discover Their Singing Voice

Everyone is born with some level of music aptitude, or potential to succeed in music (source).

According to music researcher Edwin Gordon, this aptitude can increase or decrease between birth and age 7, based on musical exposure and experience.

"The vocal range is remarkably wide from birth,” music education professor Lili Levinowitz wrote. "Infants can imitate and experiment with their vocal instruments: and even match pitch as early as three to four months of age. Purposeful singing can begin at around twelve months. At this time, adults can recognize snippets of songs to which youngsters have been exposed. Through continued exposure to spoken chant, songs, and vocal play, young children can develop the use of their singing voices during the remaining early childhood years.” (source)

By Kindergarten or 1st grade, many children are able to sing familiar songs, engage in musical play, and make up their own songs to go with experiences they have. However, many are not (source).

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