Summer Conferences for Church Musicians (2019 Edition)

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For those of us who teach during the year, summer is the perfect time to learn and develop our own musicianship skills and catch up on some professional development.

Summer conferences are a great way to do this. They help us stay connected with others in the field; learn new things about playing, singing, directing, and teaching; find inspiration for creating meaningful and engaging worship services; and hear about all the latest music releases: choral, handbell, children's choir resources, curriculum, instrumental collections, etc.

Today (by popular request!), I’m sharing a few summer conferences and events that are specifically geared toward church musicians, directors, accompanists, choir members, students, worship leaders, pastors, liturgists, and everyone in between.

I hope you find one that’s a good fit for you!


11 Summer Conferences for Church Musicians

Montreat 2019: Not As the World Gives

Hosted by: Presbyterian Association of Musicians
Dates: June 16-21 & June 23-28, 2019
Location: Montreat, NC

For pastors, musicians, choir members, worship committee members, children, and youth

About the conference:

Montreat is held in June every year, with two weeks to choose from. I’ve never attended, but I know several people who have and rave about it.

"Today’s society is torn amid conflict and chaos, and so often Christ’s promise of peace feels unlikely or even impossible. How is our perspective as followers of Christ changed by this promise? How do we receive God’s peace in the midst of chaos?"

Read more details.


Music and Worship Arts Week 2019: Spirit of Wonder

Hosted by: Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts
Dates: June 23-28, 2019
Location: Lake Junaluska, NC

For church musicians and worship leaders of all ages: choir members, instrumentalists, students, artists, dancers, actors, and pastors

About the conference:

I’ve attended Music & Worship Arts Week (MWAW) for many years and always learn something new. Their worship style is blended and they have choirs/ensembles and seminars for all ages, including leveled handbell ensembles, an acting group, a dance troupe, and an intergenerational instrumental ensemble. I always enjoy observing the choral clinicians and attending their afternoon seminars. There are also several reading sessions throughout the week from a variety of different sacred music publishers.

Read more details.

P.S. I’ll be at MWAW this summer, playing for the Younger Elementary Choir and one of the reading sessions! Will you be there?


Leading the Church’s Song: Doing Common Things Uncommonly Well

Hosted by: Association of Lutheran Church Musicians
Dates: June 24-27, 2019
Location: Portland, OR

For church musicians, pastors, and worship leaders

About the conference:

This biennial conference is intended for churches of all sizes and in all types of settings. Includes: worship and prayer services, reading sessions, and several workshops and plenary sessions.

"Simplicity. Shared song. Central things. Silence. Hospitality. These are marks of liturgical and musical reform that swept through the churches during the 20th century and gave birth to the service books and hymnals now used throughout North America. These marks continue to challenge the leaders of the assembly’s song who strive to do common, shared things, uncommonly well."

Read more details.


Each Breath is Borrowed Air

Hosted by: The Hymn Society
Dates: July 14-18, 2019
Location: Dallas, TX

For church musicians, organists, pastors, and liturgists

About the conference:

This annual conference includes worship services and hymn festivals, an organ recital, and a variety of plenary and workshop sessions. 

“The Hymn Society Annual Conference is a 5-day event each July that features three plenary speakers, 5 hymn festivals, and many breakout sessions that all focus on congregational singing."

Read more details.


Convocation 2019: A Seat at the Table

Hosted by: Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts
Dates: July 15-18, 2019
Location: Kansas City, MO

For pastors, church musicians, worship leaders, dancers, and visual artists

About the convocation:

“This biennial convocation is a unique gathering of musicians, dancers, visual artists, preachers, all seeking to serve God’s people by designing and leading participatory worship experiences. It’s a week filled with seminars and workshops that will allow you to learn and grow in your ministries as well as moving worship experiences and (of course!) fellowship.”

Read more details.


Alleluia: Many Voices, One Song

Hosted by: Baylor University
Dates: JULY 16-19, 2019
Location: WACO, TX

For worship leaders, church musicians, children's choir leaders, and keyboardists

"The Alleluia Conference is a one-of-a-kind enrichment event featuring superb clinicians who re-energize and inspire worship leaders, music ministers, children’s choir leaders, and keyboard ministers.”

Read more details.


National Seminar

Hosted by: Handbell Musicians of America
Dates: July 16-20, 2019
Location: St. Louis, MO

For handbell ringers and directors

About the conference:

Geared toward handbell ringers and directors of all experience levels, the conference includes a few different tracks to choose from and a variety of educational classes and inspirational performances.

Read more details.


Handbell Conference

Hosted by: Zephyr Point
Dates: July 21-25, 2019
Location: Lake Tahoe, NV

For handbell ringers and directors

About the conference:

"At the Zephyr Point Handbell Conference there are opportunities for ringers of all levels. Each day, participants have the chance to break up into smaller ensembles – the ‘Mountains’ and the ‘Lakes’ – under the exceptional leadership of a skilled team of handbell directors and composers. There is also a slate of additional optional classes for participants to choose from to help them improve in specific ringing skills. Daily mass rehearsals help all ringers prepare for the final rehearsal in which everybody participates making incredible music, all on the majestic and inspiring shores of Lake Tahoe!"

Read more details.


Together We Serve

Hosted by: Massanetta Springs Bible and Music Conference
Dates: July 21-27, 2019
Location: Harrisonburg, VA

For church musicians and worship leaders, choir members, pastors, children, and youth

About the conference:

This annual conference features worship and music, ensembles for all ages, and a series of classes, reading sessions, forums, and workshops. 

"Threads from Daniel C. Damon’s hymn, 'Together We Serve,' will be woven together to make our conference theme in 2019 . . . . We will explore what it means to follow God’s light into the dark corners of our world. Through song, worship, teaching, fellowship, and much more we will reimagine what it might mean to strengthen Christ’s ministry through service as a community of faith in times and places of difficulty."

Read more details.


Choristers Guild Institute

Hosted by: Choristers Guild
Dates: July 22-29, 2019
Location: Fort Worth, TX

A certification program for children's choir (K-8) directors in a church or school setting (full-time, part-time, or volunteer)

About the institute:

"The [3-stage] certification process is designed to strengthen directors’ musical and pedagogical skills and to equip them to effectively integrate children in worship . . . . A degree in music is not required, but musical literacy is fundamental to success as a participant in the Choristers Guild Institute."

Topics include:

  • Creative and Purposeful Integration of Children in Worship

  • Music Teaching Skills

  • Choral Methods

  • Effective Organization of a Children's Music Ministry

  • Personal Musicianship

Read more details.


Tuning @ Tahoe

Hosted by: Zephyr Point
Dates: July 28-August 2, 2019
Location: Lake Tahoe, NV

For church musicians and choir directors

About the conference:

"Tuning @ Tahoe is a conference for traditional church choral professionals from all denominations and church sizes. Through seminars, classes and workshops we focus on conducting skills, vocal pedagogy, worship design, rehearsal techniques and 10 reading sessions featuring more than 20 publishers.”

Read more details.


Staying home this summer?

Jump-start your choir year with helpful music education resources designed specifically for you. Sign up for a self-paced online mini course and learn from the comfort of your living room! Start whenever you’re ready and work at your own pace.

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Directing a Church Children’s Choir 101

Created specifically for children's choir directors, this self-paced 4-week online training course will help you develop practical skills and useful step-by-step processes to plan, direct, and teach children's choir on a weekly basis, and grow your choir ministry.

Topics include: fostering spiritual growth, planning the choir year, choosing music, working with children’s voices, creative teaching strategies, developing musicianship and introducing music-reading, and more.

Learn more and enroll >>

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Music Education & Leadership Skills
for the Adult Choir Director

Designed for adult choir directors in church settings, this self-paced 2-hour mini course includes a brief overview of relevant educational theories about how adults learn, and a variety of practical tools and resources you can use in your ministry and teaching.

Topics include: vocal technique and choral methods, developing music-reading skills, choosing music, and rehearsal planning.

Learn more and enroll >>

Music Education & Leadership Skills
for the Youth Choir Director

Develop the essential skills and teaching strategies you need to direct with confidence in this 2-hour mini course.

Topics include: working with changing voices, choosing music, planning rehearsals, and creating meaningful experiences.

Learn more and enroll >>

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Music Education & Leadership Skills
for the Handbell Choir Director

Designed for handbell choir directors in church settings, this course will equip you with the practical tools and resources you need to lead and teach with confidence.

Topics include: getting set up, care and maintenance, instrumental technique, developing sight-reading and music-reading skills, working with non-music-readers, choosing music, planning rehearsals, and working with children's handbells.

Learn more and enroll >>


Where are you headed this summer? What skills do you hope to learn or develop?