Books for the Church Musician

I have been going through my library and reading quite a bit lately about what it means to be a church musician and what skills we need to be the best at what we love to do. So, here's my list of must reads for the church musician. Please share your go-to books in the comments. I love a good book and could always use some suggestions.

  • Alive Now - This is my go-to devotional guide each month. Our church has a subscription that I pick up every couple months. I was drawn to it because it seemed to have an artists touch about it. Each theme is shared with quotes, articles, poems and art work. A complete package. You can get additional free daily devotional readings, a widget for your desktop and more information online at http://alivenow.upperroom.org/
  • From Postlude to Prelude Music Ministries Other Six Days by C. Randall Bradley - I was thrilled to find this book several years ago when I first started out as a church musician. No one really talks about all the other stuff there is to do besides the music. It opened up a whole new world for me of possibilities and helped me to better realize my responsibilities. It also helped me better navigate church meetings during conversations related to the music ministry of the church and my position as director of music. A must read for all church musicians!
  • The Musician's Soul by James Jordan - I love everything by James Jordan. I got to work with him a few years ago while at Christian Music Summer School and I wanted to run away to Westminster Choir College to work with him forever. If only my Husband would live in New Jersey. His entire body of written work is an amazing collection 0f information and ideas for the director and musician. I love how he talks about making music with respect to your fellow musicians. In choral music that's a hard message for conductors to live by but truly necessary for making quality music. For more about James Jordan, check out his website.
  • Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller - It is so hard for church musicians to do our work on Sunday morning and also treat that time as a sabbath experience. We just can't. We aren't like other people in that way. This book helped me to realize that we aren't limited to Sunday Sabbath. We can create a personal Sabbath for ourselves whenever we need it. There are ideas and rituals that you can choose to help you on your way to finding the Sabbath experience that is right for you. Also a great book for group study.
  • The Complete Worship Service: Creating a Taste of Heaven on Earth by Kevin J. Navarro - After you read this pass it on to your worship planning staff right away. I loved all the ideas in the book. It seemed to address all the concerns that I had related to worship design, marketing, building issues, welcoming new church visitors to worship. Navarro also brings up the issue of quality and how we should have a quality worship experience every Sunday morning and what we bring to God should be nothing less than our best work. I devoured this book on an hour plan ride. Great read!
  • Grace Notes: Spirituality and the Choir by M. Anne Burnette Hook - This book will help you better understand your role as music director and spiritual adviser to your choir. Every time we come to church we are seeking an experience with God wither its through worship or our weekly music practice. This will help you nurture your faith as a musician and the faith of your fellow worship musicians.
  • The Church Musician by Paul Westermeyer - This is a must read for anyone in church music leadership or interested in getting a church music position either paid or volunteer. Nicely written.


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