The ongoing coronavirus pandemic presents severe and unprecedented challenges for our organists and church musicians. Never in our nation’s history have places of worship been faced with indefinite closure and on such a scale. While we are all left to figure out how to navigate this difficult time, the AGO Committee on Career Development and Support would like to offer this page as a resource to members. As the situation evolves, more resources will be added. We welcome any additional resources from members – simply fill out the comment form at the bottom of the page. We send our very best wishes for continued health and peace at this time.
On November 5, 2021, at their meeting in Seattle, Washington, the AGO National Council approved the following policy for AGO-sponsored events:
All AGO events (chapter, regional and national) must follow the COVID policies/rules in place in the state and county where the event takes place, and any additional mandates of any facilities being used.
AGO leaders, may, at their discretion, enforce stricter policies than those of the state/county in which the AGO event takes place.
- Legally Live-Streaming Worship Services (an article by Selah president David Schaap in the July issue of TAO)
- Take advantage of the iRCO hosted by the Royal College of Organists in the U.K. (reduced rate RCO membership is available to for AGO members)
- Read our FAQ about COVID-19 and issues affecting organists: COVID-19 and Organists: Q&A (Answers to employment-related questions are provided in consultation with an employment attorney.)
- Learn how to cope with a devastating job loss: Recovering from Termination
- Reach out for a caring ear by calling the AGO Career Hotline
- Consider learning a new skill or taking advantage of our virtual resources: AGO Online Educational Resources
- Understand how you are being paid and what type of an employee you are: Article on Employment as Organist/Church Musician
Resources for Artists and Teachers
- Unemployment benefits in the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act: Fact Sheet from National Employment Law Project
- Applying for unemployment benefits: On the advice of legal counsel with expertise in employment law, the AGO encourages employees to apply for unemployment or pandemic unemployment assistance benefits even if there is doubt about eligibility. A link to state unemployment office websites is available on the website of the U.S. Department of Labor, https://oui.doleta.gov. The state agency gives a reason for the denial, which could be appealed.
- CARES Act: Unemployment Insurance Questions Answered
- U.S. Dept. of Labor’s unemployment and pandemic unemployment assistance page
- The most comprehensive compendium of resources for artists and freelance musicians: COVID-19 and Freelance Artists
- COVID-19 Resources for Artists and Arts Organizations
- Unemployment Benefits Eligibility Website
- Early Music America’s EMA Relief Fund: Supporting Early Musicians in Need
- Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund
- Artist Relief Tree
- List of Arts Resources During the COVID-19 Outbreak from Creative Capital
- New Music Solidarity Fund (administered by New Music USA)
- How some nonprofit employers of musicians are handling cancellations
- Flipgrid for classroom teachers
- Guide to Using Zoom for Live-Streamed Lessons: MAC version PC Version
- ACDA Resources on Singing during the Pandemic
- American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) COVID-19 Response Committee Report, June 15, 2020
Resources for Musicians in Religious Institutions
- Updated Recommendations for Singers/Speakers During the COVID-19 Pandemic (shared by Association of Anglican Musicians)
- AGO St. Louis Facebook page offers videos that explain options for virtual rehearsing and worship services
- A very helpful how-to video for churches who want to start live-streaming worship (from St. Bede Catholic Church in Virginia)
- Resources for Churches Adapting to Social Isolation (from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship – includes ideas for church musicians)
- Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources for Congregations and Members from Presbyterian Church (USA)
- Church Music and Covid-19: A Response from the Presbyterian Association of Musicians
- Beginning Conversations for re-entry to public worship – from Presbyterian Church (USA) as of May 4, 2020
- Copyright and webcast licensing resources:
- For information on streaming music in worship legally, please see this excellent article by cathedral musician and Selah Publishing Co., Inc. president David Schaap, that appears in the July issue of TAO.
- CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing, Inc.)
- from Music Publishers Association of the United States: Streaming Live Music COVID-19: What You Need to Know
- To find royalty-free music, consider using:
- Choral Public Domain Library
- International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) – See two Practical Organist articles about IMSLP in TAO: April, 2015 and January, 2020.
- Church Music Institute Sacred Music Library (AGO members can join CMI for a reduced rate – log in as AGO member at the top of this page, and go to “Update Personal Information” for details on how to join) For tips on use, see this article from the October, 2019 issue of TAO.
For Students in Higher Education
Helpful Articles and Blogs
- Washington Post Article on Cities that Establish Relief Funds for Artists
- Cancelled Gigs Due to Coronavirus?
- What to Do When Your Choral Concert Gets Cancelled?
- Zoom Basics for Applied Music Lessons: The Basics
- Guide for Using Zoom in Music Mode from Peabody Institute
- A Guide to Messaging During a Time of Crisis
- Your Money: A Hub for Help During the Coronavirus Crisis (NY Times article published March 23, 2020)
- Protecting Your Credit During a Pandemic
AGO Committee on Career Development and Support
Doris Dabrowski, Esq.
Cathryn Wilksinson, PhD, AAGO
Andrew Johnson, AGOYO Representative
Vicki J. Schaeffer, National Councillor for Membership
Eric Birk, Staff
This page was last updated on February 10, 2022