Archives for November 2017

Southwest: How to interview and audition: prep, questions to ask, questions to be prepared to answer, choosing audition pieces based on where you’re auditioning…

Greetings, friends! As part of the Southwest Region’s ongoing theme of professional development, I wanted to post today about an issue that many may consider an awkward topic: how to know when it’s time to leave. This is a bit of a difficult topic for some of us and it’s one that we often don’t even consider until we’re starting to wonder why we haven’t left yet. My goal is to get you thinking *now* about these things so that, if/when the day comes, you’ll be ready. A few weeks ago, I was looking through Facebook and noticed a post by an older gentleman asking for opinions on how one should know when it is time to “hang up your shoes.” There were several great responses in the comments that followed, but I was concerned at the lack … [Read more...]

West: 500th Anniversary of Reformation: its significance to music history

Good evening, and greetings from far away in the West! As many of us are aware, this year marks the 500th year since the traditional beginning of the Reformation. Although we may not all be celebrating it in our congregations, we must acknowledge the role that Martin Luther played in sacred music. Many great compositions come from the Lutheran tradition, from J.S. Bach to Paul Manz, and many more. Are you celebrating Reformation Sunday this year? Are you going to sneak in some Bach? Go all out with choir and brass, or maybe your church is just going to pass? Tell us in the comments below. I’m certain some good ideas will surface. Luther's Impact … [Read more...]

Mid-Atlantic: An Introduction to the difficulties associated with moving from Piano to Organ

Greetings from the Mid-Atlantic Region! We will talk this year about moving from playing the piano to playing the organ. Many exciting topics await exploration, so make the 28th of each month your day to check back here! It happens inevitably in the pianist’s career that he or she will, at some point in time, be asked to play the organ. The request comes most often from those who do not understand the niceties of technique, touch, and coordination associated with the various instruments in the keyboard family, and it is assumed that if one keyboard looks like another, than it will be an easy enough affair to transition from one to the other. Indeed, certain gifted artists within living memory have successfully attempted this feat. The … [Read more...]

Great Lakes: Creating a Strong Resume/CV; differences between a CV, Resume, and  Cover letter

Good afternoon from the Great Lakes region, everybody! We wanted to talk about making yourself look good on your resume, CV or cover letter. Having a well-crafted resume is a real asset to getting into your dream school or landing your dream job. So what's the difference between a resume and a CV? CV stands for "curriculum vitae," or course of life. As the name suggests, a CV thoroughly lists any and all academic or professional work you've done. Length is not an issue; if you've done a lot of stuff, list it all! Many academic institutions may ask for a CV because they want to see the full breadth of your musicality and your personal achievement to get to know you as a person. On my CV I have all of my music jobs I've held, schools I've … [Read more...]

Southeast: Homosexuality and Conservative Churches

Working In a Church You Wouldn't Attend       ​ In the last three years I’ve been employed by five different churches in four denominations: ECUSA, UMC, ELCA and PCUSA. These moves have been for one of three reasons: enrolling in graduate school, completing graduate school, or for a better opportunity/salary. I haven’t always agreed with the churches I’ve served, whether it be theological or political issues, and that’s okay. Church musicians often struggle with separating their beliefs from the beliefs of the churches they serve. My hope is that, in an increasingly polarized society, we can serve in churches that don’t necessarily preach what we want to hear. 1. You’re not alone. Most churchgoers do not agree with every belief of their … [Read more...]

North Central: American​ ​Organ​ ​Music

Greetings from the North Central AGOYO. This month we are focusing on American Organ Music! American organ music is unique in its origin and exciting in both tone and color. The following American composers' compositions provide excitement to American organ literature. Nineteenth Century Arthur​ ​Foote​ ​helped found The American Guild of Organists and served the AGO as its National Honorary President. The majority of his compositions are written in the chamber music genre, however organists are fortunate that Foote wrote this interesting work for the King of Instruments. ○ Recording (Oriental Sketch, Op. 41, No. 5) Dudley​ ​Buck​ ​taught organ in Hartford, Connecticut with a medium sized organ and later relocated to Chicago. The … [Read more...]

How to look for a job: Resources, what to look for, and how to read ‘between the lines’ in a job description

A lot of us in the job market really struggle with narrowing down what we want out of our job and how we know what job posting might be right for us. Check out this Forbes article that can help you determine what you want out of your career in the church. While it mostly focuses on career change, there's a handy little fill-in-the-blank section in the middle of the article that is designed to help you focus your career goals. What do you want most from a position? What are deal breakers for you? What are your strengths? Weaknesses? These are all questions we need to ask ourselves when approaching a job listing or even our current position! 9 questions that will help you find your dream career. … [Read more...]

West: Professional Development with Young organists: application and audition process, networking, taxes as an independent contractor

Hello from the West region! This year we will be posting about everything from professional development, planning events, organ repair and maintenance, and self care! We hope to cover a broad range of topics that will help us all grow and develop, regardless of where we are in our present careers. Church Organist Shortage (Baltimore Sun) … [Read more...]

Southwest:  How to look for a job: Resources, What to look for, How to read ‘between the lines’ in a job description

Greetings from Southwest AGOYO! This year, we will be featuring posts about how to maneuver in our job market. From dealing with congregations and clergy, to the best way to prep for an interview with a pastor, to knowing when it's time to move to a new church position, we have you covered! We are looking forward to sharing insights with all of you as we transition from college to the workforce or within the workforce itself. --Logan Herod … [Read more...]

Southeast: The Cost of a Career

Hello from the Southeast! This month, I blog about the biggest source of stress for college students, and how to alleviate it while pursuing a field you love. ​As a graduate student nearly finished with this chapter of my education  at Mississippi College, I often consider the stark numbers published in a recent issue of The American Organist regarding the number of organ performance majors in the country. It will not shock anyone to hear that the numbers have dropped each year. This results from a variety of factors, but I hope to address the most stressful aspect of life as an American college student, according to a recent study by Ohio State University: money. Of 19,000 students surveyed, 70% voiced tuition costs and day-to-day … [Read more...]