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5 Essential Tasks for Music Directors before Summer Ends

The end of summer is drawing near, which means that regular music rehearsals will begin again for most church musicians. Here are five essential things for music directors to do in order to make a smooth transition into fall.

1. Circle Back on Recruitment Conversations

Hopefully during the summer you’ve had a chance to reach out to potential musicians and talk to them about serving at church. These conversations may have just been to plant the seed, or for you to learn about their strengths and interests.

Before the summer ends, follow up with these musicians and ask if they’re still interested in participating. Determine what capacity they will participate in (choir member, instrumentalist, etc.) and how often they will serve.

2. Set the Schedule

When setting the schedule, make sure to consider any big events the church has going on—any outside events, any days the building will be unavailable for use, or any significant Church Year holidays for which special music will be needed.

This process also will help you determine how to structure the repertoire for the year. Once you know when all the services will be, you’ll know which days for which to choose music and what musicians’ capacities will be at a given time.

Setting the schedule is also an essential factor in helping musicians determine whether they can participate. Once this is set, work the rehearsal schedule around it. Don’t forget to note any rehearsals that fall out of the normal routine ones, such as rehearsals for Christmas or Easter or other special events.

Make sure to share the schedule early enough before rehearsals begin to allow musicians to look through their calendars, and make the schedule visible to all members of the congregation so people who don’t currently participate know how to get in.

3. Set Goals for Musicians’ Development

As you likely already know, having music ministry be a learning environment keeps musicians interested and increases the enjoyment for the participants and the listeners. So rather than simply maintaining musicians’ abilities where they are, look for ways to challenge them and help them grow.

Start by determining where musicians are, then set a goal for where you would like them to be at the end of the year. Remember that effective goals are SMART:


Think about specific skills you would like the musicians to learn and how you can help them get there step by step.

4. Pick Music for Each Church Year Season

If you’re not sure where to start, use Worship Planning Book to get ideas. This book lists the Hymn of the Day for each Sunday and major holiday, as well as additional hymns based on the Scripture readings. Special music is listed for adult and children’s choirs, handbells, organ, and instruments. Another place to get ideas is our catalog of new releases for 2018.

You can also survey members of your congregation about their favorite music, make a list of those pieces, and work them into the repertoire. Consider working in old favorites and new gems to keep things interesting and fun.

5. Make a Playlist of Recordings

Once you have the repertoire set, create a playlist of the music so that musicians can listen and use it to practice at home. You can curate playlists on YouTube by including videos from the CPH Music YouTube channel, especially the playlist of all our 2018 new releases. You can share the links to your playlists by emailing them to musicians, posting them on the church website, or sharing them on social media.

Browse all new music to get ideas for this year’s repertoire!

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Written by

Mark Knickelbein

Mark Knickelbein is editor of music/worship at Concordia Publishing House and an active composer and church musician. His compositional focus is on choral, piano, and organ church music. He has a Bachelor of Science in education from Martin Luther College, New Ulm, MN, and a Master of Arts in music from Concordia University Chicago. He previously served Trinity Lutheran in Kaukauna, WI, as principal, teacher, organist, and choir director.

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