Music Leadership Certification Program Requirements
Music Leadership Certification Program Requirements

Application Materials

  1. Applicationdue annually on March 31st
  2. Resume (email to mlcertification [at] uua [dot] org)
  3. Confirmation of AUUMM Code of Professional Practices (PDF)
  4. Criminal Offense Disclosure Form (Word) (PDF) (email to mlcertification [at] uua [dot] org)
  5. Endorsement Form—Minister
  6. Endorsement Form—Board
  7. Philosophy of Music as Ministry Statement revisions (Word) (PDF) (email to mlcertification [at] uua [dot] org)
  8. Annual Fee $350.00 Due upon acceptance in to the program and by July 15 each subsequent year. Pay by credit card here or mail check to UUA Ministries and Faith Development, 24 Farnsworth St, Boston MA 02110 Attention: Music Leadership Certification Program

Note: Email is the primary communication tool for MLC program candidates. 


Six Courses (two per year)

  1. Leadership of Congregational Singing
  2. Toward Multicultural Competence
  3. Leading a Successful Choral Rehearsal
  4. Care and Ethics
  5. Integrating Music and Worship
  6. Developing and Managing a Music Program

Assignments, deadlines, and evaluation standards set by course instructors in consultation with MLCP staff.

Three Professional Development Days (one per year)

Assignments, deadlines, and evaluation standards set by course instructors in consultation with MLCP staff.

Annual Assignments

Due Early Fall

  1. Fall Triad (Word) (PDF)focused on goal-setting, instructions on form
  2. 1st-year candidates only: Self-Assessment Form (Word) (PDF)
  3. 2nd-year candidates only: Community Service Project Proposal—See Community Service Project, below

Due Early Spring

  1. Spring Triad (Word) (PDF) and Year-end Self-Assessment (Word) (PDF)focuses on evaluation and goal review, instructions on form
  2. Philosophy of Music as Ministry Statement revisions (Word) (PDF)—See Music as Ministry Philosophy Statement, below

One-time Assignments

  1. Community Service Project—See Community Service Project, below
  2. Reflections on Connecting with the Larger Faith (3)—See Connecting with the Larger Faith, below

Additional Materials For Program Completion

  1. Criminal Background Check: A background check is required for completion of all UUA professional credentialing and certification programs. Instructions to complete the background check are provided in February of the candidate’s last year. There is a fee of $180 for the background check, paid by credit card when you initiate the process; financial aid is available in the form of reimbursement of up to 50% of the amount. Reimbursement request
  2. Updated Resume
  3. Final Recommendation from Advisor 
  4. Final Recommendation from Sponsor 

Further Information

Community Service Project Requirements

Each candidate will devise and carry out one Community Service Project during the three-year period of candidacy. The purpose of the Community Service Project requirement is to develop skills to extend the outreach of the candidate’s music program into the congregation’s wider geographic community or to other communities with which the congregation has established a relationship, e.g. a partner church.

The project should benefit causes of social action and should not be a fundraiser for the congregation. Previous successful projects include benefit concerts, directly making music with other communities, and developing programs which engage multiple organizations in the effort. The candidate will consult with the minister(s) and appropriate congregational leaders to discern both community needs and the resources of the congregation.

The project should be designed to demonstrate candidate’s skills in (1) identifying community needs, (2) negotiating and establishing relationships with outside organizations, (3) planning and organizing resources, (4) carrying out advertising and publicity, (5) and selecting music appropriate to project’s beneficiaries.

The candidate will submit to the MLCC a brief concept document describing the Community Service Project no later than the Fall Triad Meeting of the candidate’s second year. Once the concept is approved, the candidate will draft a more complete project proposal for the MLCC, including a timeline with clear milestones. Upon reviewing that full proposal, the MLCC will decide on final approval for the project.

After the project’s completion, the candidate will produce a 500 word essay reflecting on the effects of the project on the participants and recipients, as well as the skills demonstrated and lessons learned from the project. Even with the candidate’s best effort, not all projects reach a successful conclusion. However, the projects will be evaluated by the learning and growth documented in the reflection paper rather than a particular result. Along with the reflection paper, the candidate may also include other relevant supporting documents such as programs, fliers, photos or media coverage.

Connecting with the Larger Faith Requirements

Formerly called Denominational Gatherings, this requirement is intended to demonstrate the candidate's engagement with Unitarian Universalism beyond the congregation. The requirement is to document participation in three events, not including UUMN conferences. These do not need to be music-focused events.

Candidates are encouraged to attend at least one large regional or national event, and at least one local event and at least one of the events must be in person. Possibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • General Assembly, regional or district assemblies, UUMN regional events, UU summer institutes, UU camps, regional lay leadership schools.
  • Local gatherings of UU congregations focused around any UU topic/issue (examples: social justice workshop, Our Whole Lives training, UU choir festival).
  • Interactive online learning (examples: RE Renaissance Module, online classes, UU Leadership Institute webinars or peer learning groups).
  • UU organization meetings or workshops that include representation from multiple UU congregations (examples: Allies for Racial Equity, DRUUMM, Finding Our Way Home, UU Service Committee or UU College of Social Justice event, Mosaic Makers, UU women’s and men’s retreat).

If you have questions about whether an event will meet this requirement, mlcertification [at] uua [dot] org (please ask)! If geography and/or finances are making this requirement difficult to fulfill, please contact us for suggestions.

Requirement: A 500-750 word reflection on each event that includes at a minimum:

  • helpful things learned for your music program and/or your leadership role,
  • your newfound awareness of what is happening in other congregations,
  • how your perspective has been broadened by participating in this event, and
  • how you have (or how you might) integrate what you've learned from participation in this event into your professional practice.

The reflections can be submitted at any time (but no later than April of the candidate’s final year) to mlcertification [at] uua [dot] org.

Philosophy of Music as Ministry Statement Revisions

Music as Ministry Philosophy Statement Revisions

As part of the application, and for each year in the MLCP, candidates are asked to submit a statement of their philosophy and vision of music ministry – not a list of responsibilities, but rather a reflection on the relationship of music to their congregation and on how they see their music ministry as an expression of our living faith tradition. Candidates are asked to consider these guiding questions:

  • Why do we do what we do?
  • What is your vision or calling? How are you called to serve?
  • What is the philosophy which informs your work?
  • What does it mean to be a music leader in a UU congregation?

In the spring of the first and second years in the program, candidates are asked to expand on their original statement by reflecting on the MLCC’s feedback, taking into account learnings during the year, and/or considering additional guiding questions.

In the spring of the final year of the program, candidates are asked to distill their reflections from all three prior versions of their philosophy statement into a briefer statement that can serve as a touchstone or compass for their day-to-day work as a music leader.

For more information contact

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