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Diocesan Certificate in Church Music

by Michael Ford last modified 29 Oct, 2018 02:29 PM

The DCCM is an accessible course of study available from here as a distance learning course.

The Certificate is an ecumenical ‘entry-level’ online course providing a flexible pathway of study for anyone interested in how we use music in worship.

Click here for an invitation. 

Follow us on Twitter @SalDCCM.

Books at Sarum College

See below for information about the Certificate and what it has to offer. All the course modules may be downloaded free of charge.

The content of the modules does not represent an 'official' view. At the end of each module you are invited to undertake an assignment. In your writing you are welcome to express your own views, and if you wish, to take issue with what you have read.

If you wish to further your studies after you have worked through the recommended number of six modules to complete the Certificate, you are welcome to access any of the remaining ten modules. You will also have access to a growing list of resources.

I hope that you find what you are looking for. If you have any questions about the course, please email:

Andrew Robson
Course Director

Financial support for this Certificate Course is generously granted by The Tindall Trust.

  • Background

    The Certificate began life in 2003 as a study course for groups meeting in the Diocese of Salisbury, and is now available online. The course content simultaneously crosses denominational boundaries and focuses on Anglican worship and the Church of England Lectionary. It is available to anyone who wants an approachable distance learning course dealing with how music and musicians ‘synthesise’ with liturgy.

    The Certificate provides an informal pathway of study for anyone interested in how we use music in our worship. You may be someone who directs or simply takes part in the use of music in your church. Musicians, clergy, worship planners, lay leaders or members of congregations may all benefit from the course.

    It is hoped that study at home will provide an attractive incentive at a manageable training level. For those with little time to spare and who may not want to take on the commitment or expense that a higher level of study involves, this course provides a wide range of study opportunities that can be explored with others of similar background and interests. Once a term, there will be the opportunity for participants living in easy reach of the Diocese of Salisbury to meet together. Dates, venues and speakers will be sent to you.

    The modules use material written by:

    Robert Fielding – Course Director. Robert is one of the Salisbury Diocesan Church Music Advisers and Director of Music at Romsey Abbey. As a composer, teacher, organist and choral director, Robert has many years of experience in a wide range of parish music styles and in providing musical resources for worship.

    Gilly Harwood - Leadership Consultant, School Improvement Partner and former Head teacher at Downton Primary School.

    Timothy Hone - A former organ scholar of Peterhouse, Cambridge, he has held appointments as Sub-Organist at Leeds Parish Church and a similar position at Coventry Cathedral. He became Organist and Master of the Music at Newcastle Cathedral in 1987. He is now Head of Liturgy and Music at Salisbury Cathedral.

    The Venerable Alan Jeans - Archdeacon of Sarum, and Diocesan Director of Ordinands (Salisbury).

    Joe King - Church Musician and experienced music group leader at St. Mark’s Church, Salisbury.

    David Ogden - professional conductor and composer. He conducts Exultate Singers, City of Bristol Choir, the Royal School of Church Music’s Millennium Youth Choir, South Bristol Voices and in his post of Head of the Bristol Choral Centre, he conducts the Bristol Schools Chamber Choirs.

    Geoffrey Weaver - an internationally known church musician, having worked for the Church Mission Society in Hong Kong and in Selly Oak, Birmingham, from where he undertook teaching assignments in the Philippines and Nigeria, and published two volumes of World Praise. He was Director of Music at Bradford Cathedral, and from 1994-2002 was Director of Studies and of Outreach at the RSCM. In 1998 he directed the music at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, in 1999 was in charge of the music for the CMS bicentenary, and in 2000 directed a choir of 200 schoolchildren at the National Millennium Service at St Paul's Cathedral. He has a passion for teaching, and has taught in theological colleges and ministerial training schemes, as well as diocesan training programmes. Overseas teaching and conducting assignments have recently taken him to Canada, USA, Australia, Cyprus and Switzerland.

  • Gaining Your Certificate

    Our recommended route is as follows:

    • You will be required to study the core module ‘The Role of Music in Worship’.
    • You will then be required to choose one module for study from either ‘Eucharistic Shape and Music’ or ‘Morning and Evening Prayer’.
    • You will then select four other modules that you wish to study from the fourteen remaining modules. These will be directly connected to your own skills and areas of interest.

    This recommended pathway will mean that you have studied six modules.

    You will be asked to produce a piece of written work for each module. There are no time limits or expected number of words for these, only an expectation that this work will connect the subject of the module to your own worship situation and help you to work through the issues you will have read about.

    Written work is emailed to a tutor who will read and email it back to you with comments. Your work is not marked or given a grade. There is no time limit or course length: you work at your own speed.

    When you have completed all six modules, you will receive a Certificate. You will also be recommended further study opportunities offered by the RSCM in their 'Church Music Skills' programme.

    After finishing the Certificate, you may wish to study further modules. There are 16 in total and others may be added in due course.

  • Guide To Modules

    1. The Role of Music in Worship
    A core module which asks the fundamental questions:

    • Why do we use music in worship?
    • When should music be used in worship?
    • What kind of music is there to use in worship?

    2. The Liturgical Year and Repertoire 1: Holy Week - Easter
    This first module of three points you to books that explore the origins and history behind liturgical forms associated with the season and explore the music that is available. The music covered in this module features mainly lesser-known contemporary works and forms. Every church will have a collection of traditional and well-known music for use during this season. The material mentioned here augments this, providing a range of possibilities to enable and inspire worshippers.

    3. The Singing Voice in Worship
    Questions asked in this module are:

    • Why do we sing?
    • Why do we sing in worship?
    • Who should sing?
    • What is the relationship between words and music?
    • What should we or could we sing?
    • Does quality matter?

    4. Instruments in Worship 1
    This first module of two considers how musical instruments may be used in worship with reference to:

    • Skills required in playing instruments; appropriate training
    • Skills required by those responsible for organising groups
    • Arranging for instruments
    • Transposing instruments
    • Use of bells – small and large
    • Keyboard instruments
    • Combining instruments with voices
    • Amplification and microphones
    • Technology and available equipment
    • Using recorded music
    • Publications for instrumental groups
    • Pastoral issues and parish policies
    • Opportunities for instrumental music in worship

    5. Eucharistic Shape and Music
    This module clarifies the shape of Eucharistic liturgy and examines the place of music within it, to see how music can help or hinder what liturgists of all denominations have been trying to do in their recent reforms. In all church traditions, liturgical reformers have based their work on the early historical identity of the Eucharist. In 1945, the Anglican scholar, Dom Gregory Dix published The Shape of the Liturgy, a ground-breaking piece of work that drew attention to the pattern or shape of events during the Last Supper, which has led to an emphasis on shape and structure in all subsequent work. This module deals with the latest ‘shapes’ and how music fits with these.

    6. Using Psalms in Worship
    An important module covering a wide range of material, examining the historical background of psalmody, the liturgical use and the huge musical repertoire associated with the Book of Psalms. Students are encouraged to explore the many ways of singing psalms and to think about opportunities in their own worship situations for using different styles of psalmody during services.

    7. Worship Planning and Management
    This module covers the following topics:

    • What are we aiming to achieve?
    • Who needs to be involved?
    • The range and diversity of worship
    • The shape of the worship
    • Using the sacred space of the church building – and beyond!

    8. The Liturgical Year and Repertoire 2: Advent - Christmas 
    The second of three modules dealing with seasonal matters. September is a good time to study this module, as you prepare for Advent. In a time when we are supposed to be watching and waiting, it’s difficult to be still and listen when there are Christmas sights and sounds everywhere. Our times of worship need to bring us back to a place of preparation and our choice of music can help us focus on events ahead. In this module you will look at ways of doing this and what music there is available.

    9. Using Technology in Worship
    There is no doubt that the use of technology enhances worship to the benefit of all taking part. Different situations require different solutions. If you are thinking of using sound equipment and projection, or are already using them, this module will help with good practice and will certainly help you to overcome any fears you may have!

    This module considers the use of:

    • Power-point presentations of visual images and texts for singing
    • Projectors and screens
    • Mixing desks to control input from instruments and voices
    • Microphone and speaker systems
    • MIDI instruments and MIDI players

    10. Morning and Evening Prayer
    From earliest times, Christians gathered at regular hours each day and night to respond to God’s word with praise on behalf of all creation and to intercede for the salvation of the world. By the fourth century, if not earlier, morning and evening had emerged as the pre-eminent hours for the offering of this sacrifice of praise. They have remained so ever since, especially on Sundays when the Church commemorates both the first day of creation and the day of Christ’s resurrection. This module deals with origins, historical developments and repertoire for today.

    11. Instruments in Worship 2
    This module looks at the skills required for arranging music for instrumental groups, voices and organ, and for presentation of your own compositions using desk-top publishing software.

    • Practicalities of instruments, voices, and presentation of score and parts
    • Harmonisation
    • Descants and ‘last verse’ arrangements
    • Texture and colour
    • Arranging music for the organ

    12. Hymns and Spiritual Songs
    This module provides an opening into the fascinating subject of hymnody with useful links and recommended background reading, including the Early Church, the Reformation, the Oxford Movement, hymn writers, hymnals and contemporary hymnody. Brush up on your knowledge of early hymnody, through to the Wesleys, the Oxford Movement and contemporary published hymnals.

    13. The Liturgical Year and Repertoire 3: Easter - Pentecost
    This module looks at music for the period from Ascension Day which occurs after the sixth Sunday of Easter, through Pentecost, Trinity Sunday and into the period of Ordinary Time or Sundays after Trinity. There are twenty-two Sundays after Trinity taking us up to the Sunday in October called the Fourth Sunday before Advent.

    14. Children and Parish Worship
    Written by an experienced Head Teacher and Christian musician, this module addresses the challenges of bringing church and school together. It explores relationships between church and school communities and how each may interact and develop in partnership through styles, repertoire and all-age structures.

    15. Alternative Forms of Worship
    This module is written in the spirit of providing resources for alternative worship or ‘emerging church’ services, using the Internet. A large community of churches have grown by using the internet for contact and there is much sharing of resources and ideas via websites. The module looks at definitions and explores the web for sources of information, ideas and explanations.

    16. Contemporary Hymnody
    A survey of the development of contemporary hymnody from the 1960s through to the establishment of Christian conventions/conferences and the music that grows from these. Find out what is currently available; browse online and order sheet music and recordings. The emphasis upon young people within evangelicalism was fundamental to its rise in the post war period. As the culture of young people began to change, so the style, and eventually the nature of evangelical religion itself would have to change. The chief agent in this evolution was to be the spiritual song. This module charts the development of contemporary hymnody and the movement it grew from.

    Modules will be updated and new modules will be provided. Users are asked to respect the copyright ownership of our module writers.

    All the modules are ‘pdf files’. Download the free Adobe Reader programme required to download the modules if you do not already have this set up.

  • Registration

    So that we know who is studying the Certificate course, please email us with details of your:

    • Name
    • Address
    • Email
    • Phone
    • Church
    • Musical background

     Click here to generate an email automatically.

  • DCCM Modules to Download
  • Reading List

    Most of the books on this list are available in the reference library at Sarum College, Salisbury. The list is intended as a resource for those who wish to study further and also as a source for information when writing essays. Students should dip into this list when necessary or when inspired. Book titles are associated with each Module.

    Updated ListingClick here for the main list

    The links to websites given may provide sources where books may be purchased on the internet. Please try and find a copy in a library first as sometimes you may only need to read a chapter or the book may be costly or even unobtainable. If you have any problems sourcing books, please let Robert Fielding know.

    Module 1: The Role of Music in Worship

    Module 2: The Liturgical Year and Repertoire 1 - Holy Week - Easter 

    Module 3: The Singing Voice in Worship

    Module 4: Instruments in Worship 1

    Module 5: Eucharistic Shape and Music

    Module 6: Using Psalms in Worship

    Module 7: Worship Planning and Management - working together

    Module 8: The Liturgical Year and Repertoire 2: Advent - Christmas 

    Module 9: Using Technology in Worship

    Module 10: Morning and Evening Prayer

    A hard copy of material for use at Morning & Evening Prayer exists in Sarum College Library, Salisbury if you are able to visit.

    Module 11: Instruments in Worship 2

    Module 12: Hymns and Worship Songs

    Module 13: The Liturgical year and repertoire 3: Easter - Pentecost

    Module 14: Children and Parish Worship - connecting school with church

    Module 15: Alternative Forms of Worship

    Module 16: Contemporary Hymnody

    Other Useful Titles

    • Thirty Ways to Use Music in Worship, John Leach, Grove Worship Series W209, 2011, ISBN 978 1 85174 810 S
    • New Patterns for Worship, Church House Publishing, ISBN 0715120603
    • Alternative Worship in the Church of England, Paul Roberts, Grove Books, ISBN 1851744150
    • Sing it again, the place of short songs in worship, Anne Harrison, Grove Books, ISBN 1851745378
    • Hymns and Spiritual Songs - the use of traditional and modern in worship, John Leach, Grove Books, ISBN 1851742883
    • How Hymns Shape Our Lives, Rosalind Brown, Grove Books, ISBN 185174472X
    • Understanding Songs in Renewal, Victoria Cooke, Grove Books, ISBN 1851744622
    • Foundations of Christian Music, Edward Foley, Grove Books, ISBN 1851742182
    • Common Worship - Times and Seasons, Church House Publishing, ISBN 071512112X
    • Using Common Worship (Times & Seasons) All Saints to Candlemas, David Kennedy, Church House Publishing, ISBN 0715121138

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