What I’ve Learned from Church Music

HymnListNewMusicBox, the online publication of New Music USA, handed the guest-blogger reins over to me for the month of September 2014. Of all the things we pondered wherein I might contribute, church music was an underserved area I could help fill in, NMBx thought, for this blog of composers writing, basically, for other composers. So I slid Twelve Things I Learned from Church Music through their transom, three per week.

This page at NMBx gathers them all together.

I might more accurately have called them Twelve Things I’m Still Trying to Learn from Church Music and Wonder If I Ever Will So That I Can Be a Better Composer Whether I’m Writing for Church or Not, but while I hope that I may always learn more, it’s not a point of pride to say that I have learned these, or at least about these, or at least imperfectly.

In starting a new piece I always wonder if I have, in fact, learned anything at all. I’ll revisit these twelve to see what foolishness I’ve committed myself to in writing.

I’ve already posted the four parts individually:

Part 1: Start where you are; Write what you know; Write for people you know
Part 2: Make them sound good; Follow the rules; Break the rules
Part 3: Write faster; Hear it, change it; Churches do tons of new music
Part 4: Stick to the text; It’s all about the music; It’s not about the music

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