Music Director, Plate Spinner, and Colleague
I recall one Christmas Eve when the organist/choirmaster/bell choir director/pianist had just run up the stairs for the second time to direct the fifth part of the evening’s prelude music. The smiling pastor turned to the congregation and said “After this, our music director will do a half-gainer off the balcony to the organ so he can play the opening hymn.”
The “Church Music and Administration” e-tutorial is a core requirement for music ministers in the Master of Sacred Music and Doctor of Sacred Music degree programs. The class addresses a number of practical and spiritual issues in the work life of a church musician.
In addition to providing music in the church, a music minister is a spiritual example and valued counselor for the youth and adults participating in music programs. The tutorial is an opportunity to evaluate working relationships with the pastor, volunteers and church staff. The course addresses the importance of professional commitment, planning, budgets, service, professional development, networking, program-building, and problem-solving.
The course texts, “The Church Musician” by Paul Westermeyer, and “Music Ministry, A Guidebook” edited by Donald Clark Measels, are good resources for pastors and members of the church staff who provide support for the music program. In a majority of cases, church musicians are part-time employees without administrative staff. That being said, whether musicians are part-time or full-time, professionals or volunteers, the inner workings and ultimate requirements of a church music program are the same.
By looking at the complexity of this unique type of career, the “Church Music and Administration” course provides an opportunity for students to assess and improve their effectiveness as music ministers.
Graduate Music Advisor
Professor of Sacred Music and Fellow
The Graduate Theological Foundation