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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

I once took a course entitled The Hymnal as a Tool of Christian Education.  The hymn book is still one of my primary tools for ministry, but I am also grateful for online resources like hymnary.org, which is a vast database of hymns and songs.  It is searchable by title, first line, subject, scripture text, tune, and more.  Texts and tunes that are in the public domain can often be copied from the site.  It also refers searchers to published choral and liturgical works that are related.

I also frequently use the online edition of Glory to God, our newest PCUSA hymnal.  It has been well worth the cost.  It is searchable, and it includes liturgical resources that go with the Revised Common Lectionary.  PDF files of hymns in the public domain can be downloaded and printed, plus there are a few newer hymns and songs where permission to reprint has been granted purchasers of Glory to God.  The copyright information on each hymn is easy to find, along with what to do to get permission if permission is required for reprints.

I came across a welcome commentary on why reports of the demise of hymn books have been greatly exaggerated.  In Ten Reasons Why Hymnals Have a Future John Witvliet

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IMG_0287No matter what our age, music can nurture our faith in a wonderful way.  Here is a collection of music and prayers drawn from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal. It’s aimed at young children and those who love them. I heartily commend it, and here’s why:

The selections are arranged in an order that takes one through the day, from greeting God in the morning to bedtime prayer.  They can be used in many settings, including worship.  The Doxology medley stands out.

Different cultures are represented, along with a variety of musical styles, rhythms, and instruments.  Have you ever heard “For the Beauty of the Earth” played on banjo?  You will here!

Children and adults sing and make music together.  I loved hearing voices of all ages.  The singers sound natural, and the sound quality is excellent.

Spoken rhymes and instrumental selections add to the collection’s appeal and usefulness.  You can get out your shaky eggs and other rhythm instruments and play along, and you can give glory to God through dance.

I look forward to using Glory to God: Hymns and Songs for Children and Families as I make music with children of all ages.  Ideas for pastors, educators, musicians, and families are posted online at the PCUSA Store.  I plan to use it in our congregation’s Music for Little Friends program.

You can order CDs at the PCUSA Store, and you can also download the collection from iTunes, where the artist is listed as Nassau Presbyterian Church.

Many thanks to the Nassau Church and to all the musicians, to the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, and to the hymnal committee. Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal is a great gift to the church, and resources like Hymns and Songs for Children and Families make it an even greater blessing.

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little-friends-logo

Art by Laura Todd

When my daughter was a toddler, we enjoyed Kindermusik classes together.  We still remember some of the songs we learned then.

I always thought it would be wonderful to have a program of music and movement for young children and their adult caregivers that was faith-based, included songs of faith, and corresponded with the seasons of the church year.

With that dream in mind, we are experimenting with a music program at Morton that we call Music for Little Friends.  Besides helping children from infancy to age five to sense how deeply they are loved, we are helping them to develop an ear for music and a feel for rhythm.  This begins a lifetime of appreciation for music and lays a foundation for more musical learning later.  Moreover, music is great for their cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development, and it’s fun!

The CDs and songbooks that we use were developed by Kate Daneluk, a Catholic music educator, and her husband, John, who is also an accomplished musician.  They wanted a music program for their own children that integrated prayer and songs of faith with some of the methods used by secular programs like Kindermusik or Music Together.  You can learn more about their work and hear samples of the music at makingmusicprayingtwice.comMaking Music, Praying Twice has resources for parishes that want to do a large, full-scale program licensed to use the name Making Music, Praying Twice (MMP2), for families, and for small groups like ours at Morton.  I took the three-day training class that MMP2 offers for prospective teachers.

Our music comes from many sources: songs of faith, well-known children’s songs, music from other cultures, classical themes, and some new songs by the creators of MMP2.  We enjoy a wide variety of tunes and tonalities, meters and rhythms.  As you can see from the illustration above, we sing, dance, and enjoy playing musical instruments. Each class session lasts about forty-five minutes. One of the things I enjoy most is encouraging children and families to make up new words to some of the songs.  The next thing you know, they are making up their own songs!

Our next series of classes will probably run from Easter to Pentecost, and our prayer song will be “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.”

Contact me if you’d like to know more!

Music12-05-13-3

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Jesus, I Belong to You

Here is a link to a collection of prayerful music by a British group called Dean, Lee & Mills.  Number 8, “I Belong to You,” is my prayer for the day.

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Sarah Hart is another person who loves and serves God through music.  She has written and recorded many songs, and some of them have been recorded by other artists, such as Amy Grant.  You can sample her music at spiritandsong.com, and learn more about her at her website: www.sarahhart.com.  Print editions of many her songs, and arrangements for choirs, with parts for various instruments, are available at OCP.org.

Those who have been making music with me in Morton Church’s Music for Little Friends program may recognize her as one of the singers on some of the CDs that we use for our class.

Here is a youtube video in which Sarah sings “Come, True Light” for Pope Francis at a large gathering at the Vatican.  At the end of the video, she meets the pope and gives him copies of her CDs.

 

 

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'Echoes' photo (c) 2009, Gabor Dvornik - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Meditative music helps me slow down and get quiet.  Click this link to hear a song called “Echo” by English singer and songwriter, Karen Money. You will hear allusions to the anointing of Jesus.  You can hear more of her work via streaming  here at her My Space page, and you can find it on iTunes and at Amazon.

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Julia and Chester singing

Photograph by Lindsey Williams

Hymns Without Words is an online source of free, high quality, easily downloadable mp3 recordings for congregational singing.   All the hymns are arranged and performed by Richard Irwin, who is  Director of Music for the Parish of Holy Cross Chiseldon, UK.  There are a number of different instrumental combinations.  Almost all the hymns are in the public domain and lyrics are included on the hymn’s page.   If you have the proper copyright licenses, you can access others that are under copyright for use in worship services only by emailing Mr. Irwin.

Here is “Holy, Holy, Holy” performed on the organ, and “Morning Is Broken” performed on the piano.

He also has produced two CDs, “Hymns Without Words,” volumes 1 and 2,  that include some copyrighted tunes, such as “Bind Us Together.”  You can access them on amazon.com by clicking here.  You will see that he has also produced a collection of carols.

I highly recommend this site!

Here is a roundup of my posts about the many free and low-cost music resources available:

Hymnpod.com: downloadable piano accompaniments.

Smallchurchmusic.com: downloadable mp3 files.

Worship Service Resources: a CD collection.  Downloadable mp3 files also available.

See also this review of three CD collections: Hymns for Church, the Hymn Project, and the CD Hymnal.

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