What is the vocation to become a church musician?
  • Laudetur Iesus Christus!
    What is the vocation to become a church musician? It is obviously not the same as the question on vocation to Matrimony and Ordination. It seems like a very special vocation.
    We have different kinds of vocations eg becoming a clerk or school teacher. But I would say that the vocation to become a church musician does not feel the same as the vocation to become a clerk...but I am no expert.
    What is this vocation?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,738
    At present it is very dangerous territory
    Thanked by 3acadia dad29 Salieri
  • From vocare, 'to call', a vocation is the inner voice by which one knows that one is destined for a particular role in life. Many people have such vocations and many don't (at least not that they listen for). Most commonly we use the word in reference to holy orders or the religious life, less often to some ministry or other in the church's life. Vocation can, though, mean an urgent calling to any sort of life - that of being a medical doctor, a classics professor, a machinist, a mother and father, or a composer or educator. As to what constitutes a vocation to music ministry within the Church, one first would assess if one has the requisite musical gifts and a strong urge to use them glorifying God in the ritual life of the Church. Musical gifts are not enough. Does one love people, love working with them towards the glory of God and the beauty of his worship? Does one have patience as one leads one's charges along the road of adoration and worship? Does the liturgy truly excite one, or inspire awe in one - does one love it deeply? Does one love our patrimony of music, choral and instrumental, which graces our worship? More could be said, but that should suffice to give a picture. Are you at a perfect worshipful unity when directing music for the mass, with God, with your choir, with your life as sacred musician.
  • We don't have the same support as other vocations, but we do it for the same reasons: we have no other choice.
    Serving God and his Church calls some of us and we do it for that reason alone.
    It doesn't matter whether you sing chant or play jazz - it matters that you show up and serve.
    Sing and play joyfully.
    Bring people into the power and beauty of God's love as best you can.
    Teach peace.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • AMEN to MJO! Vocations should never be based on "feelings," especially in religious / spiritual matters.
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 164
    I look back. I taught myself to read music by using an old throw away missalette and a gifted 18 in keyboard. I laughed when I found the old missalette- All the Ends of the Earth had note names a second higher than correct over each note. ;)

    Then in 8th grade I asked my parents for the green Gather Comp. It was a lot of money and they hesitated! I used that book until my most recent position. I played from it for 17 years!

    In college I went the very vanilla English major route with no direction ahead of me but a sister found me playing piano in the Music department practice room. I was a commuter with lots of time between classes. I thought i would get in trouble, but she invited me into her office and told me about their music program. She vehemently denies the following, but I tell everyone I walked into her office a =n English major and out a Liturgical Music Major because she was a convincing sister!

    Anyway, it is what I have done for 15 years. I often wonder if I stumbled into it because I had no direction, but the idea of music and my faith sounded like a perfect marriage. When I look back and see the role church music had in my music education, I see it as a sign and calling.

    Ironically, I was a snot about music at church when I was a kid. I remember being so "offended" that they got to solo and we could not sing the psalm verses. lol. I think the attitude of choir only songs sticks with me, though my understanding of liturgy has expanded greatly, thankfully. ;)
  • stulte
    Posts: 259
    Love of poverty

    Hence, why I choose to keep working in a technical/engineering role in Corporate America™ instead of church music despite having my BMus and being able to play organ, sing, conduct, and compose. The money just isn't there to support a family in most parishes (to say nothing of the required stability). So, I can do nearly as much as a volunteer in my parish than as an employee while enjoying a much higher standard of living.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,494
    Before I retired, my work weeks could easily run 70 hours or more. Now, I only do music but when I was teaching school, it just became too much to handle. Or, too much to Handel, if you are into puns.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 325
    Get Bach to work, you slacker!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,494
    I am Offenbach to work most of the time. But a little Byrd told me to not kill myself.
  • .
  • Charles,

    You must get a Handl on your sense of humor, for some who frequent here Josquin to learn about music!
  • What a shameless Liszt of insults to punery!
    To be perfectly Franck -
    They make me Graun louder than a wolf Howells beneath a full moon.
    You really ought to stop this Messiaen around.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,583
    I have to say that every time I read the title of this thread I read it as "vacation for a church musician", and I think "Not very often".
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 125
    If someone is trying di Lasso you into the career, it helps des Prez about it before you're Tye-d up. My church gig isn't Machaut, it isn't about me. I think we can Allegri that a church musician who Tallis up the accolades can't Ravel in the spirit of the liturgy.