Church Music
Home | Philosophy | Calendar of Events | Supplemental Reading and Resources | Bradley - From Postlude to Prelude | Webber - Worship is a Verb | Web sites | Conductor's Preparation of an Anthem - by Hal H. Hopson | Music Subject Guide

MUS3513 - Spring 2005
Monday and Wednesday

email professor

MUS 3135 – Church Music

Syllabus for Spring 2005


Instructor: Dr. Pam Dennis


Course website:

                   – for turning in assignments


Course description: The purpose of this course is to explore the character of music ministry and its place in the life of the church, with particular attention to the theory and theology of music in the church, the identity of the church musician, the ministry of the musician, and the practice of church music. 


Course Objectives:

1.                  Develop and justify a personal philosophy for a church music ministry.

2.                  Explore the identity and role of the musician in ministry with the church including the necessity of “non-musical” responsibilities.

3.                  Enable students to develop and articulate personal understandings of their ministries as musicians.

4.                  Identify and investigate the theological and liturgical functions of music in Christian worship, attending especially to the use of choral and instrumental music in worship.

5.                  Develop capacities for making liturgical and theological judgments about the use and choice of music in Christian worship.

6.                  Explore and develop the administrative structures required for music ministry in the local church.

7.                  Appreciate the diversity of worship throughout different cultures, traditions, ages, and congregations.


Techniques for Learning

A. Readings, mainly in the principal textbooks:


Webber, Robert E. Worship is a Verb: Eight Principles for Transforming Worship, 2nd ed. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2000.

Bradley, C. Randall.  From Postlude to Prelude: Music Ministry’s Other Six Days.  St. Louis, MO:  MorningStar Music, 2004.

Frink, George M.D., The Music Director’s Necessary Book.  Carol Press, 2000.


Additional reading assignments will be placed on reserve in my office or added to the course website.


B. Two class meetings per week: 8:30-9:45, Monday and Wednesday, composed of lectures by professor and guests and practical projects


C. Observation of worship activity, including services, music scores, and choral and worship facilities


D. Participation in worship laboratory experience


E. Notebook containing class notes, notes from readings, analyses, reports on worship activities, take-home assignments, etc.


F. Short paper describing your philosophy of music in worship


G. Major project – designing a church website




Academic honesty:  Each student is expected to do his or her own work to the best of the student’s ability. Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of dishonesty will not be tolerated.  Plagiarism is defined as passing off another’s work as your own.  It is a form of cheating and lying.  The plagiarist learns nothing.  Any act of plagiarism will result in failure of the course.  Plagiarism will be reported to the Academic Dean and could result in academic suspension.


Attendance:  Regular attendance in class is expected as well as active participation in discussion. Since this course prepares the student to become a Minister of Music, similar attendance should be observed.  Excused absences include illness and sanctioned school activities (such as choir tour). I will reserve the right to lower a student’s grade because of absences and/or lack of preparation.  Class participation, measured both through attendance and quality of in-class contributions, will be an important part of the final evaluation.  Therefore, adequate preparation for class is essential.  Assigned material must be read before coming to class in order to be prepared adequately.


Format of Class:  This course is a “seminar” course.  That means that you, the student, will be responsible for presenting material and for leading class discussions about the material to be covered in the course.  The instructor will act as moderator, organizer, guide, and inquisitor.  The effectiveness of your role in leading these discussions will be the basis for your class participation grade. 


Grading Policy:  The grade will be based on the keeping of a notebook for class notes, notes from readings, analyses, reports on worship activities, and take-home assignments; development of model worship services for the various Sundays in the church year, including the selection of appropriate hymns and appropriate elements for the worship services; a paper describing your philosophy of music in worship; and the creation of a church web page. 


Midterm Exam – 20%

Final Exam – 20%

Weekly Quizzes – 13% (over readings)

Short Philosophy Paper – 10%

Major Project – 20%

Parallel Reading Reports – 10%

Class Participation – 7%

A=100-92, B=91-83, C=82-72, D-71-62, F=61 and below

Project descriptions:


Short paper on your philosophy of church music ministry.  Length: 500-2500 words.  This paper should tell why we need to have music ministry in our churches, what the role of music ministry should be in the life and work of the church, what the music ministry should include (in terms of programs or areas of ministry), and what the role of the music minister or music director should be.  The paper will present your own opinion and viewpoint, yet it should be supported by adequate logical argument, and you are encouraged to use outside sources (with proper citation, of course).


Major project: Create a web site for a local church’s music ministry (either an actual church with which the student is affiliated or a hypothetical church).  Unless the web site deals with a real church and actually can be accessed on the internet, a computer disk or CD containing the relevant file should be submitted to the professor.  Due – Monday, April 18.  The web site must include:

            “front page” or introduction

            statement of philosophy (perhaps a capsule summary of the student’s Short Paper)

            adult choir page

            Optional: a staff page, a handbell and/or instrumental page, a coming events page, a links page, anything else the student thinks is appropriate. The web site must employ at least one example of each of the following technical features:

            Link to target in the same page

            Link to external page

            Email link

            Scanned image

            Borrowed image


            Sound clip


Notebook should include the following:

            Class Syllabus

            Class Notes

            Reading assignments/questions

Impressions of field trips


            Philosophy paper

            Website presentation

            Concepts and Applications I Have Learned

            Other, as assigned


Place all of the above in a sturdy notebook with dividers that can become part of your permanent music library.  Keep it up to date, and don’t wait to the last minute to complete the assignments.


Cell phones should be turned off during class.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." 
 Psalm 121:1-2

Dr. Dennis's home page -

Church Music