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.

The curriculum is designed so that an organ major can complete it concurrently with the M.M. degree program in two years of full-time enrollment. A choral or vocal major will need to enroll for a fifth term as a nondegree student following graduation with the Master of Music in order to complete the requirements.For information about enrolling for the fifth term, consult the printed ISM bulletin for the special section under Expenses and Financial Aid. Students will not continue studio lessons during this fifth term.

Four-credit courses Students will elect one course from each of the following four categories (4 credits each). Some examples of prior years’ courses are given to show how an individualized program might look.

Biblical Studies
  • One course from the O.T./N.T. Interpretation sequence
Liturgical Studies
  • Foundations of Christian Worship
  • Prayer Book

History of Sacred Music or Religion and the Arts

Sample offerings:

  • J.S. Bach’s First Year in Leipzig
  • Mozart’s Sacred Music
  • Music and Theology
  • From House Churches to Medieval Cathedrals: Christian Art and Architecture from the Third Century to the End of Gothic

Art of Ministry

Sample offerings:

  • Hymnody as Resources for Preaching and Worship
  • The Parish Musician


Two-credit courses Students will also elect three skills-based courses (2 credits each); for example:

  • Elements of Choral Conducting (for organ majors)
  • Voice for Non-Majors
  • Organ Improvisation
  • Choral Ensembles
  • Organ for Non-Majors
  • Leading Congregational Song (a course team-taught by an organist and one skilled in global hymnody)
  • Church Music Skills (administration, working with instruments, handbells, praise band, etc.)

Proseminar A one-credit course will be offered each year for Divinity and Music students alike, in which issues including the theology and practice of liturgy, music, and the arts, as well as program development and staff leadership, will be addressed. Participation in selected worship opportunities will be a key component in these discussions.

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