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11th June 2014
Strengthen for Service
The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) has launched a new course for clergy, Readers and other lay worship leaders to give them more confidence in managing music in their parish churches.

Strengthen for Service, which will take place in mid-September in Salisbury, Wiltshire, is a three day course for those in training or in the early stages of their ministry. Rosemary Field, the RSCM’s Head of Education explains more about the course, and why, in her view, it is necessary.

A recently licensed Reader is sitting in the study faced with a pile of hymn books, feeling somewhat bewildered. The Vicar who usually looks after the choosing of hymns is away, so guess who has to do it? This is not an uncommon situation for those who are new to the job. Many people who lead worship and choose the music for it have not had the opportunity to study issues of music and liturgy in depth during their theological training. That isn’t a criticism; the timetable is packed with Biblical Studies, Pastoral Studies, Hebrew, Apologetics, Ethics and more - so there isn’t room for much Music and Liturgy. At the RSCM we feel that we can help by offering a ‘beginner’s guide’ for newly ordained clergy and Readers. The first of these crash courses is designed particularly for Anglicans, and will help those who might later be faced with the task of supporting and possibly running a music team.

During the course we will explore a wide range of relevant topics such as recruiting musicians, and the different forms of music – from plainsong at one end of the musical spectrum to worship songs at the other. We will also be preparing a Timeline of Musical History, to help avoid any “clunkiness” in the planning process. There will be some practical sessions, but this course is not primarily about learning how to sing - the emphasis here is on helping participants to make good musical choices, along with the business of managing and facilitating a church’s music. That point made, we can give help with singing if anyone needs it! Other management issues such as safeguarding and copyright will also be covered and there will be clinics to address specific issues and questions brought by participants.

We have a fantastic musical heritage stretching back over two millennia, and using it effectively for church services is a vital element in inspiring, uplifting and moving all those involved. This course will help those “taking the lid off” the many developments in musical styles and traditions down the centuries.

Support for the new course has come from the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury, who is a Vice President of the RSCM. “St Augustine of Hippo said that when we sing we pray twice. Music and worship go together,” he said. “Music is often the key to the culture and style of worship which is the core of all Church life. The RSCM has tremendous expertise in helping clergy and worship leaders gain confidence and knowledge in this area. Worship done well strengthens us all and is the most compelling ministry and mission.”

Strengthen for Service will take place from 16th – 18th September at Sarum College, which just happens to be the home of the RSCM’s administrative centre. With the college just a stone’s throw from the cathedral and within the walls of the cathedral close, this is a beautiful setting in which to start learning about the practicalities of leading a musical tradition. There will be opportunities to take part in worship in the college chapel and in the cathedral.

For more information about the course and booking information go to the RSCM website, where you can see a short video about the course. Alternatively email or telephone.
Website www.rscm.com/courses
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Telephone Tel: 01722 424843
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