In summa, next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits...Our dear fathers and prophets did not desire without reason that music be always used in the churches. Hence, we have so many songs and psalms. This precious gift has been given to man alone that he might thereby remind himself that God has created man for the express purpose of praising and extolling God.
— Martin Luther

Palestrina, Praetorius, Bach, Pachelbel, Bruckner, Saint-Saens, Faure, Howells, Willan...and the list goes on and on.  You may know these names as famous composers, but did you know that they were also church musicians?  Indeed, throughout history, the Christian Church has been the very place where much of Western music has been shaped, formed, and passed down from generation to generation.  Through the Holy Scriptures and church history, the noble art of music has been an essential means of expression in the context of Christian worship.  As such, it requires well-equipped practitioners to lead, develop, and shape it for both their local contexts and the broader Church. 

Today in the 21st century, many people serving as leaders of music in their churches have never had the means or opportunity to train for the position that they find themselves in.  Many are simply volunteering at their church because nobody else will do it.  Others are working at churches part-time while supporting themselves or their families with a full-time job.  Some are even pastors who find themselves in a small church without anybody else capable of leading music and, as the worship leaders of the church, the responsibility falls on them.  While some of these people may have had training in music somewhere in their past, the majority do not have any formal training in church music or liturgy.  This program is being designed with them in mind.

The J.S. Bach Academy of Music at Bethany Lutheran Church (aka "The Bach Academy") is committed to serving the broader church.  With that in mind, we are currently developing a multi-course vocational training program called Today's Church Musician to meet the needs of those who wish to serve the Church well in the area of music.  Courses will be taught by experts in the fields of Church Music and Liturgy, who are not only scholars, but practitioners as well.  The program will be available to church musicians around the world.  Academic courses will be taught exclusively online through high-quality videos that can be accessed at your leisure.  Applied courses that require hands-on training will consist of an online academic component followed by a short in-residence practical component.  Courses will be reasonably priced and available for purchase as individual courses, or as part of a certificate program. Most courses will be designed with the assumption that the student has some previous musical experience.  However, we are also working to develop courses and solutions that will train church musicians "from the ground up," including training on an instrument.

Today's Church Musician is currently in development and is set to be made available to you in late 2019.  Please be patient with us as we consult with church musicians, pastors, and academics to ensure that we are offering the best product available.  Do you want to see something in particularly included in this program?  Email us and let us know!

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