Church Music Studies

Student playing the organTraining tomorrow’s professional church musician is one of the core elements of the Institute’s mission. Church Music Studies is an optional certificate program designed for organ, choral, and or vocal majors enrolled in the Master of Music program in the Institute of Sacred Music and School of Music. By electing courses from a broad set of categories, enrolling in a proseminar in church music, and participating in selected worship opportunities, the student will gain an understanding of the history, theology, and practice of the variety of Christian liturgical traditions. Music students will work side-by-side with Divinity students as they together develop the skills and vocabulary necessary for vital and effective ministry.

Students interested in pursuing the Certificate in Church Music Studies should consult with the program adviser as soon as possible after matriculation. Second-year voice or choral conducting students or M.M. students who wish to elect the fifth semester must state their intention of doing so by December 8.

Fifth Semester for Church Music Certificate Course

Normally, organ majors pursuing the Master of Music degree can complete the church music curriculum within the two year degree program. Choral conducting and Voice majors in the M.M. program typically require a fifth semester of full-time study. These students enroll as non-degree students for the fifth semester at the Yale Divinity School and receive a full-tuition scholarship. However, they are not eligible for Federal Direct or Graduate Plus loans. They are eligible for alternative loans (i.e. Access). Non-degree students are not eligible for deferral of loans. International students may need to apply for an extension of their student visas.

Church Music Studies Curriculum

An organ, choral, or vocal major follows the normal programs for the Master of Music degree as required by the School of Music. The electives in the program are guided by the requirements for Church Music Studies. Students will develop their individual program of study in collaboration with the Church Music adviser. 

Church Music Internships

The Institute partners with a number of major churches and cathedrals around the country to offer internships in church music for music graduates of the ISM who have completed the Church Music Studies curriculum. Students may apply for these internships in their second year and spend one to two terms immediately following graduation from Yale learning firsthand the skills needed of professional church musicians. Working with their mentor on-site, they focus their attention on service playing, conducting, administration, planning, and staff relations. Interns report back to the Institute their weekly progress. Interested students should see the ISM director for details.