church musician

15 Summer Conferences for Church Musicians

15 Summer Conferences for Church Musicians

This morning, it's 18 degrees here in Rochester, NY, and it's been snowing for 36 hours straight (oh hey, Winter Storm Stella), but summer is coming! And with summer, come lots of opportunities for learning, growing, and networking with other church musicians.

Summer conferences are a great way to 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 releases - choral music, handbell music, children's choir resources, instrumental collections, etc.

If you've been following along for a while, I'm sure you've heard me talk about Music and Worship Arts Week at Lake Junaluska (NC). I've been attending this conference on and off since I was in high school and it never disappoints. I always walk away feeling refreshed, inspired, and ready to get back to work. (P.S. I just completed my registration for this year's conference - will you be there?)

Whether you're a church musician, director, accompanist, choir member, student, worship leader, pastor, or liturgist, there is a summer conference out there for you.

Here are a few to consider (sorted by date):

Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for Choir Directors & Church Musicians

Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for Choir Directors & Church Musicians

Okay, choir members - this one's for you.

Every year, your choir bands together to organize a group gift for your choir director and accompanist. You pass a secret envelope during rehearsals to collect money and then someone is tasked with finding the *perfect* gifts to be given at the annual Christmas party.

This year, it's your turn to find the gifts.

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.

Eight Podcasts for Church Musicians

Eight Podcasts for Church Musicians

Do you listen to podcasts? A podcast is a collection of digital audio files usually presented as a series of episodes and made available for streaming and/or downloading via the Internet.

Podcasts are a great way to learn, be inspired, and stay connected. Listen while driving, doing busy work (filing, sorting, numbering music, etc.), or taking a walk. I enjoy listening to podcasts in the afternoon while doing busy work or designing prints for the shop.

Podcasts have become more and more popular in recent years, with new podcasts coming out all the time on a variety of topics. Today, I'm sharing some of my favorites for choir directors and church musicians. Enjoy! 

Total Choir Resources

Led by choral directors Victoria Hopkins and Christine Mulgrew, Total Choir Resources offers tools, tips, and resources for choir leaders. Though geared to community or school choir directors, many of the materials are relevant for church choir directors, as well.

My Favorite Online Resources for Church Musicians

My Favorite Online Resources for Church Musicians

Every church musician has their go-to resources for worship planning, anthem selection, ministry leadership, and rehearsal planning. Some might say their planner; others, their hymnal. Some of you might find the lectionary an invaluable resource for planning and a one-a-day devotional for staying inspired. But what about when you're away from your desk?

Over the past few years, I've found a few resources that I go back to again and again and the best part? They're all online.

From worship planning to anthem selection, hymn choices to choir devotions, here are some of my all-time favorite online church music resources:

Hymnary.org

Do y'all know about Hymnary.org? This is one of my favorite resources.

Hymnary.org features a huge database of hymns from all different hymnals. Look up texts, additional verses, hymn tune information, and much more. Search by text, tune, writers, Scripture reference, or topic, and look up tables of contents for hundreds (thousands?) of hymnals and hymnal supplements. This site also features links to choral anthems, instrumental arrangements, and digital scores.

For the Church Musician: A Music Program Budget Worksheet

For the Church Musician: A Music Program Budget Worksheet

New year, new budget, right?

Most churches run on a January-December fiscal year, which means it's time to pull out your budget worksheets and start fresh.

Then you remember your budget worksheets are boring, black and white Excel files, with lots of black grid lines, Arial font, and pages that run on forever, which sort of puts a damper on the whole happy "fresh start" thing.

If this sounds familiar, then you're in for a real treat today!

Here is a beautiful, color-coded, auto-fill budget worksheet for your music program, with pretty pie charts and bar graphs to boot!