Region I AGO Convention
Worcester, Massachusetts June 27-30, 1999
The following is free for the use of members of the American Guild of Organists, and must not be used for profit.
Position: Director of Music & Organist
Summary: The Director of Music/Organist has a wide range of responsibilities and performs a variety of tasks. Responsible for all aspects of music and instruments related to the church and church programs. Through music, represent the church and its principles in the community at large. The workload varies through the year, involving a yearly cycle of weekly Sunday services with additional services at Christmas, and other special occasions.
- College degree, guild certification, or equivalent experience.
- Interest in and concern for music as related to the spiritual experience of church programs
- Keyboard skills, choral conducting skills, "choir-side manner" people skills, and music teaching skills
- Organizational, administrative, and communication skills
- Ability to work & negotiate with staff members and choir & church members
A. Administrative Planning
- Meet with the clergy to plan worship
- Collaborate in the planning of worship (hymns, responses, anthems, etc.)
- Develop and administer an annual budget for music programs as authorized by the church
- Develop and maintain an adequate choir rehearsal space including
- proper chairs
- comfortable temperature
- music storage and indexing/cataloguing systems
- individual hymn books for each choir person
- sheet music for every composition used, and distribution/collection techniques (choir-friendly)
- Communicate with choir members via bulletins, email, postcards, schedules, and newsletters
- Develop congregational participation in church music through emphasis on hymns (including new ones; hymn sings, music information[program notes]), other congregationally oriented music, and service music
- Coordinate activities with other staff & groups in the church
- Arrange and coordinate social activities of the choir
- Cooperate and assist in the preparation of printed bulletins/programs for regular services
- Coordinate publisher purchase, rental, or permission for the use of copyrighted materials
- Supervise the care, tuning, and maintenance of church musical instruments (organ, pianos, etc.), including management(i.e., recommendations for usage) of organ/instrument endowment funds, and otherwise providing for the longevity and safe-keeping of the instruments for generations to come
- Consult and/or approve all music-related events or usage of church facilities & instruments, including usage of the spaces for concerts, and lessons/practice sessions
- When possible, attend appropriate church staff meetings, and various applicable committee meetings.
- Maintain the music budget and adjust spending as required by the financial health of the church.
- Provide faithful interpretation of the text & spirit & context
- Prepare service music, anthems, opening voluntaries (preludes), offertories, and closing voluntaries (postludes)
- Adapt choir accompaniments to the appropriate instrument
- Review, select and purchase new music appropriate for worship and other services
- Accompany rehearsals of any choirs, ensembles, soloists, and instrumentalists
- Organize and maintain a personal library of organ/piano literature
- When schedule permits, provide music for weddings, funerals, and other special events (for an additional fee), when unavailable, recommend substitutes of high quality
C. Choir Director
- Coordinate all musical offerings at regular and special services of worship
- Rehearse the choir weekly(typically) and before each service
- Set out music and other necessary equipment before services and rehearsals, and put them away afterward
- Review, select, and oversee the purchase of new music appropriate to the ability and make-up of the choir(s)
- Prepare and study selected music to interpret the theological and artistic implications to the choir(s)
- Organize and maintain a choral library
- Prepare the rehearsal area
- Conduct the rehearsal, including choral techniques and the teaching of new music
- Rehearse all responses, spoken and sung, so that the choir is familiar with the content of the service
- Consult with individual choir members before and after rehearsals (including appointments and telephone calls); hold "town meetings" occasionally to further encourage feedback
- Recruit, train, and supervise choirs, soloists, and instrumentalists; maintain soloist/section leader contracts
- Engage, employ, and direct instrumental musicians where appropriate
- Audition and engage vocal soloists & instrumentalists as needed
- Utilize volunteers from the congregation as much as possible, while maintaining quality performances
- Arrange and coordinate social activities of the choir(s)
- Minister to the needs of choir members (within professional limits)
- Assist, consult, and support the ministers' and staffs' musical needs
- Attention to aspects of "care and feeding" of volunteers - i.e., being friendly, supportive, and appreciative of volunteer efforts
- Enhance the worship service by arranging for occasional guest musicians and encouraging (quality) youth musicians to perform.
D. Other Responsibilities
- Assist in arranging for a substitute musician when not able to be present or for vacation time
- Attend conferences and conventions of professional organizations that include educational sessions and concerts
- Particiapte in and volunteer church facilities (where feasible) for local and national professional music-related organizations
- Teach or attend church music workshops and classes
- Attend performances and read current literature related to the profession
- Purchase and listen to tapes and recordings
- Plan and schedule music for special music programs where appropriate
- Participate in ecumenical services and festivals with area clergy and musicians
- Cooperate and assist in the extra preparation necessary for printed programs for special events (including layout and texts/translations)
- Write articles for church publications
- Prepare publicity for newspapers, radio, and television, as needed
- Employed by the Prudential committee upon recommendation of the music (search) committee, Senior Minister, and Personnel committee
- Works under the direction of the Minister, Music Committee, and Prudential Committee
- Works with staff and attends staff meetings where feasible
- Part-time September through May, with time in the summer for planning and other tasks.
- Hours are split between on-site and planning/practice/coordination off-site.
G. Additional Comments
Code of Ethics
First Unitarian endorses the Code of Ethics and Professional Standards of the American Guild of Organists.
Respect and Trust
An atmosphere of mutual respect and trust is important for clergy and musicians. Both parties need to recognize that there is a strong collegial interest as they work together in ministry to the congregation and each other. At the same time, the recognition by the other staff and the congregation that a church position is usually not the primary source of employment is also important. The musician's level of commitment or involvement may vary from time to time. This is a source of frustration for both parties -- with care and understanding, this situation may be minimized or used creatively.
Parts excerpted from UCC employment information http://www.macucc.org/compensation/muscgdln.htm