Top 25 Favorite Anthems for Intergenerational Choirs

Top 25 Favorite Anthems for Intergenerational Choirs

There’s something special about an intergenerational choir: the coming together of people of all ages and walks of life to share music and lift their voices in song. It sends a message of unity and inclusivity and I think it gives us a little glimpse of what heaven might be like, singing in the angel choir.

Intergenerational choirs are a great way to celebrate something special in the life of the church - an anniversary or special service. The easiest way to create this experience is to combine groups you already have. There are a number of ways to do this.

Worship Planning Theme: Grace

Worship Planning Theme: Grace

When I was in high school, I heard a pastor explain grace in the form of an acronym: God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.

Grace is a gift, an invitation to receive God’s riches and become heirs of God’s kingdom.

I grew up in a United Methodist church, and the more I learned about what it means to be Methodist, the more I learned about grace.

You see, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, considered grace the cornerstone of the Christian faith. He described God's grace as having three different forms: Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace, and Sanctifying Grace.

26 Leadership Skills and Traits for Church Music Directors

26 Leadership Skills and Traits for Church Music Directors

What does it mean to be a leader? And what does it take to be a great one?

Leadership has been defined as “the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.” (source) Thus, a leader is one who inspires and directs that collective action.

This requires a certain set of skills and character traits, though experts indicate you can learn and develop these skills with time and experience. You don’t have to be born with all of these skills and traits to be a great leader.

The Importance of Creating a Sabbath

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)

How to Start a Handbell Choir (with Zero Experience)

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.

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

"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.

Top 10 Résumé Tips for Professional Musicians

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.

6 Strategies for Helping a Child Discover Their Singing Voice

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)

How to Continue Developing Your Teaching Skills This Year

How to Continue Developing Your Teaching Skills This Year

As teachers, we’re never really done learning (and that’s a good thing!). 

John Dewey once said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”

So true, right? The world is constantly changing and evolving and we need to be constantly changing, adapting, learning, and evolving along with it to be the best teachers we can be.

What do you want to learn this year? What kind of teacher do you want to become? 

I shared my answers to these questions on Facebook Live a few weeks ago. Watch the replay here, in case you missed it!

10 Ways to Develop Musicianship in Children's Choir

10 Ways to Develop Musicianship in Children's Choir

I believe church music programs are a wonderful way to teach children about God and their faith and music and singing.

I believe we can do both. And being intentional about planning specific ways to develop musicianship little by little throughout the year is a great place to start.

This post is geared toward children’s choir directors looking for inspiration, ideas, and practical suggestions for teaching children about music and developing musicianship week by week. 

I’ll talk about what musicianship is and 10 practical ways to develop it little by little in your rehearsals each week.