What’s The Typical Job Description For A Minister Of Music?

What’s The Typical Job Description For A Minister Of Music?

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Musicians, singers, and related workers are employed in a variety of settings. Of those who earn a wage or salary, almost two-thirds were employed by religious organizations…” and “Most new wage and salary jobs for musicians will arise in religious organizations.” If you’ve decided to enter music ministry, then you’ve chosen the best segment of the music industry in which to work, and not only financially. As a minister of music, you’ll have the tremendous satisfaction of fostering both the love of music and the love of God in your work. But there’s more than just playing music in the typical job description for a minister of music.

Long gone are the days when the Minister of Music was the choir director, working on his or her own to draw beautiful music from the voices of the congregation. Today’s job description for minister of music is as likely to include supervising a full team of music directors and leaders as it is to have you standing before the choir yourself. More and more, the job description of a minister of music puts a high premium on understanding the use of the newest technology in planning and presenting music as part of worship services. As a member of the music ministry, you may direct choirs, sit on the planning ministry to help steer worship goals and objectives, produce and direct lavish performances on a world class scale. Your job duties may include any or all of the following:

-Direct church choirs of varying sizes and commitments from kindergarteners to professional singers
-Provide and schedule music for all church services
-Select or help select the hymns for church services
-Prepare choirs and bands for competition
-Offer special music classes to parishioners
-Arrange and direct special music retreats for choir, band and chorus members
-Oversee other musical staff such as directors of choirs, organists and other musicians, worship leaders and accompanists

In some smaller churches, you may be the only music minister, and be responsible for developing and directing all church music. In a larger church, there may be many music ministers all working together under one director of music services.

If you’re considering a career in the music ministry, you’ll find that foremost under the job qualifications in a job description for minister of music are a deep commitment to the faith and a call to the ministry. Most churches require that you uphold the standards and beliefs of the religion as well as have excellent musical and teaching skills.

If you are drawn to a career in music ministry, your path may begin as a part time choir director or paid accompanist. As you demonstrate your abilities in leadership and music, you will find more and more doors opening to you. A career in the music ministry is deeply and richly rewarding. If it’s the path to which you’ve been called, you’ll find that there are many opportunities for you to share your love of music with others who feel the same way that you do.

Rita Henry is a contributing editor for Jobs In Music, the leading job and resource site for the Music Industry. Interested in receiving only the hottest Music job listings weekly for free? To learn more visit Jobs In Music.

Church Music ? The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Church Music ? The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Over the past couple of decades the “praise band” has become more and more popular in churches. In the past, the only way the average church member participated in the music was singing the hymns with everyone else or singing in the choir. Either way they were singing with a larger group, so if they weren’t very good at singing, it didn’t matter. With the advent of the praise band, that changed and the result has sometimes been pretty bad. So, what do you do when someone who isn’t very good wants to be a part of the band?

Even though a praise band is a group, there is usually only one person playing each instrument and maybe a couple a singers, but even the singers usually are singing different harmonies. So, everyone in the band is exposed. There is no cover from other musicians. If the base player hits the wrong notes, then it’s very obvious. If the drummer can’t keep a steady beat, not only is that usually apparent to the congregation, but it usually makes the rest of the band mess up as well. So, unlike the choirs of the past, with a band, it’s not so easy to not care if someone can’t sing or play well.

The Big Problem:
Church people are “nice”. That’s not necessarily true for everyone, but as a whole, church people tend to not want to hurt people’s feelings. My question is whether that’s really being “nice”. Personally, I don’t think allowing someone to humiliate themselves in public is very nice. I have a theory that most of the people who try out for American Idol who stink try out because people at their church told them they were good and should try out. Perhaps in some cases congregation members who have not music training may not realize how bad a performance is because they don’t have the trained, critical ear of a musician, but I think in most cases, the people are just trying to be “nice”. Maybe what they are really doing is trying to avoid their own discomfort, but you can be honest about a person’s lack of musical ability without being mean.

The Other Big Problem:
Musicians are arrogant, stubborn, and opinionated. Just kidding…or am I? A while back we had an issue with some of the musicians in my church. I was talking to a friend about it and he said they have an expression in their church, “They’re an artist.” It’s not an insult, but more of an understanding. True artists tend to be passionate and very personal about their art. So, they can come off seeming arrogant, stubborn, or very opinionated. Whatever you want to call it, the passion can cause for some difficult issues. The truth is that most church music programs (and drama programs) have issues because of this, more so than other ministries of the church.

Two Perspectives:
So, let’s say that as a band leader, you have overcome the need to be “nice” and have realized you can actually tell someone when they aren’t very good. When do you do that? Sure, if you have a congregation of 1000, you probably have several good musicians for every instrument. You could probably even hold auditions. However, if you have a congregation of 100, your options are limited. You may not have people experienced with certain instruments or musical accessories. From my experience, your decision of who can be in the band (based on skill) depends on your perspective of what the band is for:

1. One perspective is that the band is leading worship and with the congregation in mind, the goal is to have as much quality to the music as possible.
2. Another perspective is that the band plays the role of an outreach or a way for members to be involved in the church. The goal is to include people.

These are two opposing perspectives. With the first perspective, if someone isn’t very good, they will not be allowed to play in the band. The band may even do without some instruments or singers in order to make sure that all those involved are skilled and the music is good. It’s an exclusive group. With the second perspective, being an inclusive group is the goal, so people who have little musical skill or experience are allowed to join the group. The music quality may suffer (and probably will), but people get to be involved and feel more a part of the church.

What’s The Right Approach?
So, which of the two approaches to the church music is best? I don’t know. I think its decision you have to make for your church. Church’s with smaller congregations may not have much choice if they want to have a band. They may just have to take what they can get. So, your congregation situation may determine which approach you take. Whichever approach you decide on, there are two things you should not do.

1. Don’t let your decision to have your band be more inclusive be because you just don’t have the spine to tell someone they aren’t very good. Make the decision before you start the band and be honest with each other.
2. Don’t let arrogance creep into the group. There’s no room for the “I’m not playing if they are in the group” attitudes. You can be a skilled musician and be humble.

There is also one thing you should do. Always remember that this is a service for the Lord and keep a servant’s heart. Servant doesn’t mean pushover or spineless, but it is a humble attitude and a desire to provide the best you can do.

Francis Beaudry is currently the conductor of two orchestras. He is a writer and arranger and has published musical works for choir and orchestra. In addition he is the president of TheMaxZone.net, an online musical accessories superstore offering instrument accessories, musical accessories, and more.