How To Improve Church Music III: What’s A Pastor To Do

A pastor has to hire a competent professional he can trust, who is close to agreement with him in pastoral and theological philosophy. Then let go.Aside from that, priests can do a lot of familiarize themselves with music, even if their seminary training was deficient. I would suggest some of these:

- Attend choral concerts in your area. Listen to the best of church groups and community chorales and get a sense of what a real music director might accomplish in your parish. Invite the choir director to join you and talk about church music in a friendly way over a beer or a coffee after the performance.

- Listen to lots of music.

- Attend an occasional choir rehearsal and sing with the people. Get a sense of how your music director works with folks and get a better sense of how choir members see the church, pray in it, or what their challenges might be in doing so.

- Encourage organists–your own or someone else–to give lessons on the parish instrument.

- Host a concert every now and then, or maybe gather a group of parishioners to start a regular concert series.

- Provide a generous budget for your musicians to broaden their skills.

- Ask for an occasional voice lesson. It will help your singing voice, but you can also apply the physical principles you learn to your speaking voice. You’ll become a better homilist through a stronger set of physical skills. Regular voice lessons would be a great idea if you regularly chant the prayers of the Mass, but a “consultation” once or twice a year can be very helpful, especially if you schedule it just before the Easter Vigil and Christmas.

Any other suggestions from the gallery?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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