This article, recommendation to church musicians, is the second part of Advice to church musician. In the first part of this article “Advice to Church Musician”, we defined who a church musician is. We also put the essence of the ministry into the light. However, I will still say it again here what differentiate Church musician to other musicians. The fact is that you are indeed a church musician if every music that you do is for the honour and glory of the Lord in his temple. Without this, you are just a music man, your level of professionalism apart.
The recommendation to church musicians in our article is meant for the encouragement and edification of the church musicians in different roles. It is also for every concern musicians outside the church that cares. Let’s dive into the business and share what we have in mind. Below are the pieces of advice we thought it will be of benefit to you in the role of the church musician.
1. Accept and care for your people
One of your duty as a leader is to care for people in your custody. Care not for only members of the choir, but also the clergy, program and maintenance staff, and congregation. Be supportive of your clergy; both to him/her and to others. Make positive relationships with them your highest priority. Understand that the ministry of the music and word are equal companions in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.
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Also, it helps most when you remember that those folks you are dealing with, in choir and congregation, are for the most part, not professional musicians, and are giving their time and talent (such as it is) out of the goodness of their hearts. So the more we can all, professional and amateur alike, accept each other as we are, the more we shall achieve together, and the more fun we’ll have together. I think it’s important to show your choirs your sense of humor. You can reserve precious time in choir practice for passing on choice examples of humor (intentional or otherwise) received as emails or text messages.
2. Appreciate People you work with
This is one of the recommendation or advice to all church musicians that I value most. Appreciation is part of human life and we are all seeking it. Stressing the positive and praising people for the giving of their time and talent to their church and to God is the reward that keeps volunteers coming back. The old fashioned art of writing “Thank You” notes (preferably handwritten, but also acceptable typed) adds that personal touch, and is an invaluable tool in building a group of happy, satisfied, and dedicated volunteers.
People like and need to feel that when they expend extra time and energy on a project (whether it is learning a flute descant to a choir anthem, or coming to choir rehearsal regularly throughout an entire season, or being coached to try their first solo stint being cantor for a responsorial Psalm), it is truly noticed and appreciated.
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A warm and sincere note of thanks from their director can mean more to them than any amount of money. It can make the experience so rewarding to them that they will want to try even harder and volunteer even more time the next time they are asked to do something similar or something even more challenging. Send notes of appreciation to your choir members occasionally. The personalized “Thank You” note is one of your most powerful and efficacious tools among your array of techniques to succeed as a church musician.
3. Let learning be a priority
Learning is an aspect of life that aid in broaden our horizons and strengthen self-development. It’s profitable to learn about learning if you crave to make your success curve in life to become steeper. When learning is indeed a priority in your life and embedded in your routine, you will gather inspiration and knowledge to enhance the quality of your work.
Learn as many repertoires as you can. Try and do this while you’re young because it gets harder and harder to find preparation time when grown. Learn how to improvise and study arranging techniques, you will use that knowledge many times. Practice a little each day; make it a lifelong habit. Study voice and vocal technique been an organist is not a limitation to that.
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Moreover, give a welcoming hand to all forms of church music, even as you work and flawless your own. Worship with other congregation whenever possible to learn what and how they do better than your congregation. Be a member of at least one other professional organization, such as the Hymn Society or Music Society in your state and country, or the Chorister’s Guild. Participate in parish/diocese events, but don’t let them run your life.
In all, let’s do our utmost best with total dedication, physically and spiritually. God is our strength. You can come back to any of these contributions at any time: review one in a day, one in a week, or whenever you sit down to do your planning. We need reminders such as this to keep going in the right direction. May your work as a leader of church music become more rewarding and help your congregation understand God’s grace even more clearly. I hope we hold unto one or two things in these articles: Advice To Church Musicians (Part I and Part II).
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