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-- Anonymous, November 15, 2001


Minister Nelson,

Wayman Chapl AME Church, Columbia, Tn has a program in place to train young musicians. Sister Paula Holmes, a member of St John AMEC, Nashville, Tn, operates a School of Music for Church Musicians at the Learning Resouce Center of Lee Chapel AME Church, Nashville, Tn.

In Pulaski,Tn, I teach students each week who are steadily progressing. Fortunately, they have parents who see to it that they practice no less than 30 minutes each day. This past Sunday night, a deacon from a Baptist Church commented to me about a young boy who really played the piano and sung. Whenthis young fella came for his Tuesday lesson, I told him of what a man had said to me regardinghim and I wanted him to play and sing forme the selectionthat he did recently. I sat in amazement! He played as he sang, performing a number that was ntogivento him to work on. I was proud. Last Sunday night a 9 year old music student named Brittney called me and asked me to play for her 92 year old grand-mothers funeral and how much wouldI charge. I told Brittney that there would be no charge. As soon as I walked in the funeral home's chapel, Brittney came to me,hugged me and said "Ma Ma told me to play Amazing Grace." At he pointintheservice indicating family tributes. Brittney went to the piano, took her seat and played three verses of the Hymn, without error, and timing ws perfect.

The late Rev. J M Grandberry, Jr made it a part of the church's program to provide funds for music lessons. A cousin's son, a senior in high school), is the minister of music at the church his father pastors. Away from the church, he receives compensation of $ 50 per hour plus $ 25 per half hour, travel time. His upcoming Christmas gift willb e a new keyboard updating the older one.

Be Blessed! WHS

-- Anonymous, November 15, 2001

That is a good idea, Rev. Nelson, one that I am sure many AME haven't considered on a large scale. (As a side note, many of the AME churches in Chicago attract some of the "best" church musicians in the city, the majority of which come from non-AME backgrounds.) Rev. Jerry Hardy, pastor of Caison Memorial AME Church in Markham, Illinois (suburb of Chicago) offers piano/organ training for church musicians (he is a trained musician). It is funny that you would mention this topic. Just last evening my husband and I sat in on a choir rehearsal at one of our AME churches. We noticed that the church has two "excellent" musicians (pianist/organist) and a top-notch, highly musically trained director (a former broadway performer). However, my husband felt that the members of the musical staff were not operating as a team. He also kept saying that the musicians were training the choir for a performance as opposed to musical ministry. "Musicianship" can be taught, but I believe any training program that is cultivated in the AME church should focus on the fundamentals of "music ministry".

-- Anonymous, November 16, 2001

I consider this to be a function of the Local Church, that is to hire or develop trained musicians for worship. There are benefits to the church if the musical staff are of the same persuasion (AME) but basically as employees of the church, they perform a service for which they are paid.


Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, November 19, 2001

I myself is a musician in our local church. I totally agree with Rev.GP Nelson. Not alot off poeple use to attend sunday-services at our local church but since a ministry off music has been establish, the church start to grow very rapidly i.r.o members and visitors.

Let me end by saying the following; 'not everyone can speak all the languages in the wold but the everyone in the wold can speak the language off music - jbv' 'A singing church is a growing church' The Lord love you all Jerome

-- Anonymous, November 22, 2001

The AME Church is not serious about music period. In my area AME Churches don't have competant musicians because they simply refuse to pay them. I am AME, but I am the music director at a Baptist Church.

If our church expects to have good musicans, then they must pay them AND respect their abilities.

-- Anonymous, November 24, 2001

As a life-long member of the A.M.E. church, I agree that our church overall neither supports nor encourages music education. It hardly even recognizes the importance of the music ministers. I am a music minister, not just a musician. Music is my gift and my ministry; yet while other denominations would recognize this, the A.M.E. church simply regards me as a musician. I enquired of my pastor a few years ago as to why we cannot study for and earn certificates and/or ordinations as music ministers. I believe it is just like the world's employment system: a degree means we would require more money; therefore, keep us paperless and we cannot lay claim to our true credentials. Rather, we are just like any other person who happens to be able to play or sing.

-- Anonymous, March 12, 2002

I agree with Rev. Nelson. I have a 7 year old daughter who i know have the gift to sing but also tryingto develop her gift to play the piano. But I wish that the AME church had some place that she could practice and enhance her skills.

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

To be honest this is one of my big concerns about our church. We expect to grow but we don't want to plant the seed. I believe a church without a music ministry will someday die. Just look around yourself, whenever you hear about a church which a rapidly growing, music is one of the reasons! Regards

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002

I'm going through some older postings and ran across this one and thought that I would reply as I've just returned from the Christian Ed Congress and some info is still near the front of my memory bank.

First, I agree that it seems that too often the AME congregations utilize people from other than AME backgrounds; including my own congregations. Our last two ministers of music had other backgrounds. However, our current one is from within the congregation.

Secondly, I'm not sure at which level you are applying the word "training, but there is a component of music and worship within the Dept of Christian Ed. It's called the Connectional Music Committee and you can find some info in the Christian Ed website, www.ameced.com. The stated purpose is "To promote music in the AME Church, educate the leadership, and preserve the musical heritage and tradition of the AME Church."

More detailed info can be obtained through the Dept of Christian Ed, 1-800-525-7282.

-- Anonymous, July 08, 2002

L.W I am glad you revisted this post. Our Music director is 19 and she volunteered to be our musical director. We do not have a piano and she brings a cello, she had asked at other churches, but because of her youth she was not taken seriously. We felt God had sent her to us for a bigger purpose and we said yes! She answered the altar call and is a member of our church and youth group leader. I found out later she had not been to church since she was two. She is white and her family is thrilled she is in church!! Our church has received so many blessings because she is with us. We also had a twelve year old come to our church two weeks ago and her family answered the altar call, the little girl shared with me that God gives her music every week. Since she was 8 she has been writing songs about God. It is some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. She never had an outlet before. Last week she went home after church and wrote a gorgeous song for the worship service.Since muscic is such an intregal part of our denomination it is only fitting to have muscic. And lastly the greatest children choir in our denomination is "Angels without wings" at St. Paul A.M.E in cambridge Mass. Bro. Bob McCain sent me a tape of this brilliant choir. 100 children on fire for the lord. I hope Bro. Bob will share the history of this unique choir and they definitely need to be recording!!

-- Anonymous, July 08, 2002

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