Church Music

Making the Most of Your Weekly Choir Rehearsal: 7 Helpful Strategies to Save You Time

Making the Most of Your Weekly Choir Rehearsal: 7 Helpful Strategies to Save You Time

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Time. 

It’s one of the biggest challenges we face as church musicians and music educators. Here’s what some of you shared on my reader survey in response to the question, “What is your biggest work-related challenge?":

TIME!!! I am always scrambling to get things done.

I find it challenging to fit in all I want (or need) to do. (My inspiration is often greater than my time allotment!)

Limited time (30 min./week).

Lack of enough rehearsal time and space.

I teach Preschool through 8th grade music. It is challenging to find time to put together great lessons for that huge age span.

Trying to make my staff/session understand that SO much of what I do is "invisible hours”; that I spend hours upon hours studying scores, researching liturgy, finding new ways to help all my choirs, etc. So many of them think that the bulk of my time is in front of a choir or congregation, when in actuality there is so much that goes into preparing for those few hours in front of people.

5 Reasons Why Your Rehearsals Feel Monotonous (and How to Fix It!)

5 Reasons Why Your Rehearsals Feel Monotonous (and How to Fix It!)

You know the feeling:

Lackluster.
Laborious.
Boring.
Same old, same old.

It’s easy to slip into a rut in rehearsals from time to time, but I think we can all agree: these are not things we want to feel or experience.

We don’t want to feel like we’re just going through the motions each week; we want to feel excited and energized to sing and learn and make music together.

A Quick Latin Pronunciation Guide for Church Choirs

A Quick Latin Pronunciation Guide for Church Choirs

Does your choir know how to sing in Latin?

There’s something sacred about singing an anthem in Latin, I think; it connects us back to our ancient roots, the development of church music centuries before us, and those that gathered to worship in those times and places.

The best part about singing in Latin? It’s made up of pure vowels. It’s great for singing!

There are two basic pronunciation guides for Latin: Italianate and Germanic.

What Type of Choir Director Are You?

What Type of Choir Director Are You?

Take a moment to think about the choir directors you’ve had during your lifetime. What was your first choir director like? If you sang in a choir during high school, what was that director like? Think about the directors you’ve had as an adult, whether in a university, church, or community setting. What were those directors like?

Each one had a different style, right? A different approach to leading, conducting, organizing, and communicating with the choir. What makes one director a stronger leader than another? Which communication style is most effective?

Each one had a different style, right? A different approach to leading, conducting, organizing, and communicating with the choir. What makes one director a stronger leader than another? Which communication style is most effective?

How to Pursue a Career in Music Ministry

How to Pursue a Career in Music Ministry

Music ministry can be fulfilling, demanding, meaningful, challenging, and deeply rewarding work - sometimes, all at the same time! It’s an opportunity to use your musical skills and experience in service to others; inspire and encourage others in their musical development; help people and nurture them in their faith; and participate in something greater than yourself.

It’s an opportunity to teach, create, inspire, dream, give, grow, and serve.

29 Multicultural Anthems for Church Choirs

29 Multicultural Anthems for Church Choirs

Multiculturalism isn't something we often talk about in church settings, right? Let's be honest:

Most congregations tend to sing the hymns they know from their hymnal.

And most choirs tend to sing music they are comfortable with, in a language they speak, and in a musical style that is familiar and accessible to them.

We're drawn to what we know and what's familiar to us, and that's completely natural.

The problem? We may miss opportunities to learn about people from other cultures, races, and ethnicities.

How to Use the Metrical Index in Your Hymnal

How to Use the Metrical Index in Your Hymnal

Have you ever flipped through your hymnal and come across all those indexes in the back? 

The one we probably use most often is the Index of First Lines and Common Titles - a quick way to find the page number for a particular hymn you want to sing or play. Another index that sometimes proves helpful is the Index of Hymn Tunes, where you can look up a hymn by its tune name (for instance, NEW BRITAIN for “Amazing Grace” or HYMN TO JOY for “Joyful, Joyful”).

Creative and Practical Hymn Harmonization Resources for Church Musicians

Creative and Practical Hymn Harmonization Resources for Church Musicians

Hymn harmonizations are a great way to add musical interest to your hymn-playing and congregational singing. Use them to highlight particular verses, create a certain mood or expression, or heighten an important point in the worship service.

The trouble is, where do you find these hymn harmonizations?

Your denomination may have a few hymnal supplements available, offering some re-harmonizations, but these can be expensive and sometimes, not all that exciting.

5 Effective Leadership Approaches for Church Music Directors

5 Effective Leadership Approaches for Church Music Directors

You have all the credentials. You have a newly-minted music degree in one hand and a polished résumé in the other, but you wonder if you really have what it takes to be a great leader.

What does it take, exactly?

Some of us may have heard the words, "You're a born leader" in our lifetimes. Others of us may not. We may have been the kids that organized the game on the playground, assigning roles and explaining all the rules; or we may have been the kids who were perfectly content just being followers. We may have sought out opportunities to lead and make decisions, or been most comfortable in the middle of the crowd, safely out of the spotlight, and happy to not have all the responsibility.

13 Ways to Continue Developing Your Keyboard Skills This Year

13 Ways to Continue Developing Your Keyboard Skills This Year

I wasn’t really familiar with the term keyboard skills until I was in grad school, flipping through the course catalog one semester. The course description piqued my interest:

"Practical experience in score reading, figured bass realization, transposition, melody harmonization, and pop symbols.”

Needless to say, I signed up.