It is hard to believe that summer is already nearing its end. For me personally, it has been a time to rest and enjoy traveling and relaxing. Although I realize it is not always that way for everybody, I imagine that many people, especially church workers, have a bit more of a relaxed schedule during the summer. In particular, the summer is a time during which church musicians can catch their breath.
As we enter the last few weeks of summer, I think many church musicians can say they are finishing up (or perhaps just starting) their planning for the next year. Planning is a common way to spend the summer and is a usual piece of advice to church musicians on how to use this time wisely. What are some other ways, though, that we as church musicians can take advantage of these last few weeks of calm before the storm?
The Church Year is a busy time and requires a lot of energy. It is important to use the summer to rest! This calmer time of the Church Year typically means less special music, less preparation for choir, fewer instrumentalists to organize, and fewer overall services for which to prepare. Enjoy the less hectic time and make sure to take advantage of this time for both physical and mental rest.
I am a huge proponent of excellence in the church. As church musicians, we can strive for excellence in many ways. One way is to make sure we are knowledgeable about our craft. The summer is an excellent time to read those interesting books on music that we don’t have time to read during the rest of the year. Strive to find a variety of books on topics such as hymnody, church music practices, music history, biographies of composers, music treatises both ancient and modern, and so on. These will give you a better understanding of the purpose and nature of music in general and how that translates to the Church.
If you are like me, you might have a bit of a mess left over from a year spent extricating music from filing cabinets and not returning it neatly after its job is done. Use this last bit of summer to clean your office or classroom, put all music back in its place, sort through your collection to clean out any unnecessary files, create or update a digital database of your music, and make a list of music you might like to purchase in the near future.
Finally, because summer is typically a more relaxed time for church musicians, enjoy your summertime church services. You may still be playing the organ or leading the church in song, but because it is usually a less busy time, you might be able to more fully enjoy the services. Savor the time not spent rushing around making sure all extra musicians are in their places and ready to go. Relish not having that extra early Sunday morning choir rehearsal. Simply enjoy a less stressful time of hearing God’s Word and receiving His gift of the Lord’s Supper. This is not to say we do not enjoy services throughout the rest of the year, but simply appreciate this time of rest and a less hectic schedule.
Although the summer may be drawing quickly to a close (perhaps more quickly than we’d like), there still is time to accomplish some things before the fall. While trying to squeeze in all of the last-minute planning, however, I think it’s important to remember that these last few weeks of summer are a great time to rest and enjoy a more relaxed schedule. Take advantage of that so you are rested for the impending, exciting Church Year!
Get a jump on your music planning for the new Church Year.
Download free sample pages from Worship Planning Book: Year C 2019.