Composing Music for the Congregation

One-day intensive with distance learning option
Teachers – Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, Susan Palo Cherwien, Jay Beech, & Donna Peña

Writing music for congregational singing is a very specialized type of composing. Combining text/lyrics and music in a way that is both singable and beautiful can be a challenge. How do you create a melody and accompaniment that both matches and uplifts the text? Is it even possible to do something original anymore?

Whether you write hymns utilizing organ accompaniment or create worship songs for your praise band, this one-day intensive class will help you become a better composer.


Includes lunch
Cost – $150
Fulfills one certification elective requirement for Skills Development
Continuing education contact hours – 7


October 9th, 9:00-5:30  Register
Lord of Life Lutheran Church (map)
7401 County Rd 101
Maple Grove, MN 55311

Richard Bruxvoort Colligan Biblical Texts for Community Song
Richard Bruxvoort Colligan Richard’s session will focus on Biblical texts in songwriting. How do you transpose a text into song? Spotlighting his work with the Psalms, Richard will explore how a composer works with texts to make community songs.
Susan Palo Cherwien And God Spoke: The Power of Language In Worship
Susan Palo Cherwien A journey into how language affects us, as individuals and as community, and the importance of careful choice and craft in selecting words to put in the mouths of the singing and speaking congregation.
Jay Beech Songwriting as Craft
Jay Beech Jay’s presentation will establish some guiding principles for writing congregational music. He will also explore the “mechanics” of composing for group singing including creating memorable melodies, pairing text and music, and how to approach syncopation. This session is about song writing as craft.
Donna Peña Feeling It through Your Bones
Donna Peña Donna will explore the personal aspects of composition, including the process of connecting emotionally to the work. She will help students learn how to draw upon memory and experience to create truly authentic music.

Reading Session of YOUR Compositions!

We will end our day by providing an opportunity for you to share your own original songs and hymns. Pieces will be pre-selected from those submitted by September 25th. Our presenters will respond to each song with both affirmation and some helpful suggestions.

(*NOTE – No organ available at Lord of Life. Sorry.)