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Seminary offers evening course in church music for clergy and church music professionals

Jan 26, 2006
As part of its spring line-up of evening courses, Louisville Seminary will offer its graduate-level course in church music to students and individuals who may not be studying for the pastorate. “Church Music for Pastors,” a three-credit course which will be held on Mondays from 6 – 8:50 p.m., is designed to help prepare individuals for a ministry that utilizes music and worship planning. The first day of class is February 13.

Dr. Thomas E. Goetz, adjunct professor and choir director at Louisville Seminary since 1996, is presenting the course to cultivate students' interest in and knowledge of church music in general, with particular emphasis on congregational song.

Goetz believes the course, generally offered for Louisville Seminary students in the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree, will also benefit individuals who are currently serving as pastors or church musicians, who find themselves regularly involved in the ongoing musical life of their congregations.

“Nearly everyone will agree that music is a vital part of Christian worship. In this course we study church music in its cultural contexts, both past and present, through a survey of hymns, various aspects of congregational song, and practical issues important to effective ministry today,” said Goetz.

The course enables students to understand the roles of church music past and present; introduces students to important sources for reading about church music and worship, and resources which are helpful in planning worship; and helps them develop abilities to write about important aspects of church music

The practical side of the course helps prepare students for planning worship services using various resources, including hymnals, song books, and other worship materials. This will be particularly helpful for pastors serving congregations without paid musicians on staff.

Goetz says he hopes to help students develop a basic knowledge of how to guide a church with regard to evaluation and selection of hymnals and song books, musical instruments, music staff members (volunteer or professional), sound systems, and appropriate acoustical environment for congregational participation.

Rebecca Heid, a 2005 MDiv graduate currently serving as Minister to Senior Adults at Louisville’s Christ Church United Methodist, took Goetz’ course. Although she has a background in music, Heid said she learned more about the different genre of church music and ways to incorporate a variety of them in worship.

“It is so easy for congregations -- and pastors! -- to settle into a routine when it comes to music and worship styles. A course such as this one offers exposure to the great wealth of possibility for using different styles of music to invigorate worship.

“For some of my classmates who had very little knowledge of music, it helped them to see music as more than a one-size-fits-all habitual part of the service. They learned that picking appropriate hymns can have a great impact on the tone of worship and the focus of the entire worship experience at a given service,” said Heid.

“For many congregational settings, this course will equip pastors, or future pastors, to collaborate effectively with church musicians,” added Goetz.

Goetz has devoted his entire career to church music. He has served churches and institutions of higher learning as a professor of music, organist, and director of music ministries. Highly ecumenical in experience, Goetz has served in Baptist, United Methodist, and Presbyterian churches since 1971, and he has taught church music courses in Kentucky, Illinois, and Florida since 1981. In addition to his teaching commitments, he is currently the organist at Broadway Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.

Goetz earned the Doctor of Music degree at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where he also served as organist at Alice Millar Chapel. He is active as a clinician in church music and has made presentations for the American Choral Directors Association, the American Guild of Organists, the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, and various universities and colleges.

The deadline for registration is February 10, 2006. Contact the Registrar's Office to enroll for credit or audit. Information is also available online at www.lpts.edu. To inquire about the course content, contact Dr. Thomas Goetz at 502.894.2299 or tgoetz@lpts.edu.
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