Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Archive for September, 2011

Preparing for the Future as Church Organists

It was my privilege to serve as the organ clinician at a recent Church Music Institute workshop in Portland, Oregon for church musicians and clergy.  We had the opportunity to share ideas with colleagues, celebrate worship together and revel in a day of joyous music making and music sharing.  It was a day for church leaders to be mindful of the past, to strengthen our commitment to the present, and to prepare for the future.

What does it mean for a church organist to prepare for the future?  A thought-provoking question for all organists involved in church music to be sure.  Will the future of church music leadership look like it does today?  Will my church remain the same?  What about the new hymnals being compiled?   Will I be asked to play music of a different style than I now play?  Will the congregation continue to enjoy the traditional hymns of the church or will they prefer something more contemporary?  Will the organ continue to be an important instrument in our worship?

There are more questions than answers to be sure, but communication I believe is the key for preparing for the future as church musicians.  Communication not only with the members and staff of your current church, but communication with other organists and church leaders from around the area.  Sharing ideas with colleagues in a positive enriching way at workshops such as the CMI conference in Portland prepares one for the future.  Reading, listening, and studying to enrich your skills and enhance your knowledge not only of today’s worship styles but past worship trends also point the way to the future.

Look to the future as an exciting adventure instead of a daunting task–one to be anticipated by every church organist.

Strengthening our Commitment to the Present as Organists

The Church Music Institute of Dallas, Texas sponsored a day-long workshop for musicians and pastors in the Pacific Northwest in mid-August.  CMI is dedicated to the practice, advancement and stewardship of the best of liturgical and sacred music for worshiping Christian congregations while being mindful of the past, strengthening commitments to the present, and preparing for the future as worship leaders.

What does it mean for church organists in particular to strengthen our commitment to the present?  Many of us from our education and training have one foot in the world of classical organ music (the past) and often the other (by necessity) in the realm of contemporary worship music.   How do we as church organists find a meaningful way to stay committed to the present, to find a balance for our worshiping congregations between the past and the future?  How do we negotiate this often confusing contrast between music of the past and music of the future for our congregations worshiping this week?

Is the “something for everyone” approach in planning music for worship right for your church?  Or is the “block approach” where a particular service includes more “traditional” music and another “contemporary” music appropriate?  Those are the questions an organist in collaboration with the pastor and other worship leaders must answer.  Only through constant meaningful communication can the commitment to the present be realized by church organists.

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