21st century musician

Must-Have Skills for the 21st Century Church Musician

Must-Have Skills for the 21st Century Church Musician

I started my first "real" church job when I was 17. It was a small Methodist church in south Georgia with one Sunday morning service, an adult choir of about 12 and a children's choir of about six. I was still learning to play the organ at the time and played most of the service from the upright piano in the front of the church. I dove head-first into worship planning, liturgy, and choir anthems and loved every minute of it.

My next job was as a Music Intern at a large Methodist church in north Georgia. I did administrative work for the children's choir program; accompanied the youth choir and women's choir, and adult choir, on occasion; played hymns and solo music in three weekly services; and substitute taught handbells, children's choir, and children's chime choir. I learned so much and gained so much practical experience during those two years.

Since then, I've served four other congregations as Organist/Accompanist, Music Director, Handbell Director, and now Director of Worship Arts.

All that to say - as church musicians, we wear lots of hats.

How to Stay Connected As a Music Professional

How to Stay Connected As a Music Professional

The years I spent in music school were some of the most challenging, rewarding, and inspiring years of my career so far.

My technique was in the best shape it's ever been, I knew all the rules of augmented sixth chords (I need to brush up on these!), and I felt very connected to the music world and my network of music peers.

In the months following graduation, I realized the crucial need to stay connected to music as I developed my professional career as a church musician, teacher, and arts administrator.

In music school, we're automatically connected; outside of school, we have to work at it. But, the rewards are great.

By staying connected, you'll continue developing your musicianship throughout your career, have access to more opportunities, grow and change with society, and be better prepared to meet the demands of the 21st century music world. 

Here are a few ways to stay connected - to music, music-making, and the music world, in general - as a music professional: 

21 Inspirational Quotes for the 21st Century Musician

21 Inspirational Quotes for the 21st Century Musician

What does it mean to be a musician in the 21st century?

SD and I talk about this often. From where we stand, the 21st century requires musicians to be flexible, creative, and versatile, possessing a wide variety of skills that can be used in a wide variety of settings. Instead of doing just one thing, we (and many of our friends) have built careers doing many different things - teaching, performing, writing/blogging, presenting, directing, and working in arts administration.Some call it freelancing, others call it "music entrepreneurship," or being a "portfolio musician."

Regardless of the label, we feel being a musician in the 21st century means you are your own business. It's more than just playing your instrument or landing a dream job. It's more than just "being the best." Being my own business means curating great opportunities, managing my time well, and adding value through several types of work. This gives me creative liberty to use my unique skills and experiences in meaningful ways.

Whether you're just getting started or you've built a successful music career, here are 21 inspirational quotes for you, the 21st century musician: