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Music Leadership Certification Curriculum
The Music Leadership Certification Curriculum
Music Leadership

The curriculum through which candidates develop professional skill and knowledge in Music Skills and Resources, Unitarian Universalist (UU) Heritage and Values, and Leadership and Interpersonal Skills is delivered by the program through a series of six core courses and additional professional development opportunities. The courses will be offered at the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network (UUMN) annual summer conference in a rotation of two courses offered each year. In addition, preceding the conference there will be a Professional Development Day (PDD) offered.

The courses and the Professional Development Days are mandatory. Candidates are strongly encouraged to share their feedback via the MLCP Course Evaluation form.

Core Courses

  • 2017: Ethics and Care: The Ethics of Self-Care
    Led by the Reverend Rebekah A. Montgomery and Bea Ann Phillips. This course will explore both how as religious professionals we live our shared Unitarian Universalist Principles by developing habits that lead us forward to be our best selves as ethical leaders; and the practical ethical aspects and professional considerations of being a church musician. In order to provide comprehensive consideration, pre-course assignments and reading are required for ample exploration of the topic at hand.
    Syllabus: Ethics and Care (PDF)
  • 2017: Leading a Choral Rehearsal: Tools & Techniques for Success
    Led by Allison King and Dallas Bergen, this class will focus on elements of leading a choral rehearsal including warm-ups, teaching and introducing new music to singers, working with a variety of singers, score preparation, troubleshooting and polishing music, timing and pacing your rehearsal for success, and creating a positive atmosphere in
    Syllabus: Leading a Rehearsal (PDF)
  • 2016: Directing and Managing a Music Program
    Instructor - John Hubert, Director of Music at the First Universalist Church of Denver
    In this course, we will survey the practical aspects of developing and managing a dynamic music ministry.  We will explore resources from the UUMN and elsewhere, but our greatest resource will be each other. In addition to discussing the ‘nuts and bolts’ that make up our music programs, each participant will explore and discuss the culture that exists within his/her faith community. Programs tend to succeed when we understand who it is we are serving as music leaders. Instructor: John 
    Syllabus: DAMAMP (PDF)
  • 2016: Music and Worship
    Instructor - Mark Vogel, Music Director at First UU Church of Houston

    This course will develop the music professional’s ability to create transformational worship as part of a collaborative team. By the end of the class,the participant will have an increased understanding of the role and function of music in worship and how to access appropriate resources within a Unitarian Universalist setting.
    Syllabus: M & W (PDF)
  • 2015: Leadership of Congregational Singing
    David M. Glasgow, Credentialed Music Leader
    Amber Fetner, Credentialed Music Leader

    This course will develop strong, effective, and inspiring leadership of hymns/songs for congregational singing. Through the use of both practical and written assignments, candidates will use a wide range of musical styles and techniques to help them broaden and deepen the worship experience of the congregations they serve.
    Syllabus: Leadership of Congregational Singing (PDF)
  • 2015: Toward Multicultural Competence
    Beth Norton, Credentialed Music Leader
    Reverend Erica Baron

    Unitarian Universalism aspires to be a theologically diverse, multicultural, anti-racist and anti-oppressive religious movement. Music leaders must develop their own multicultural competence if they are to help guide the congregations they serve to be multicultural and to engage in anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices. Developing one's multicultural competence is an ongoing, life-long process. This course is designed to provide a framework for understanding and engaging in this process. Using the Development Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS), participants will acquire a lens for understanding and exploring the development of intercultural competence. Readings and shared musical experiences will guide our reflection and discussion of multicultural competence and such issues as white privilege and cultural misappropriation.
    Syllabus: Toward Multicultural Competence (PDF)

Professional Development Day

What does it mean to be a music leader in UU congregations? What skills and knowledge are needed beyond excellent musicianship and best practices in professional conduct? The annual Professional Development Day (PDD) is meant to help hone the skills that round out those necessary for an enriching and successful music ministry, and will address some aspect of the following UU professional development topics:

  • UU Theology and History
  • Congregational Structure
  • Interpersonal Leadership

PDD is currently offered the day before the UUMN conference begins. The course is divided into three sessions: two plenary sessions for Music Leadership Certification Program candidates and interested conference registrants, and a seminar for candidates only.

PDD 2017 was held in Arlington VA on July 25. The presenter was the Reverend Natalie M. Fenimore. Reverend Fenimore serves on the ministerial team at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock on Long Island in New York State as Minister of Lifespan Religious Education. Before beginning her ministry in New York in 2013, Natalie served congregations in Maryland and Virginia as Director of Religious Education, Minister for Religious Education and parish minister. 

Rev. Fenimore has a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary and a M.A. from Hood College. She is a Credentialed Religious Educator, Master’s Level. She is currently studying for a Doctor of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary.
Rev. Fenimore is a past-president of the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA). She currently serves on the Board of Starr King School for the Ministry. She is a member of the LREDA Diversity and Inclusion Team and a LREDA Good Officer. 

Rev. Fenimore has witnessed time and again the importance of the shared leadership of professional music staff, professional religious educators, membership and administration professionals, ministers and lay leaders in our congregations and Unitarian Universalist communities of all sizes and locations. She believes that continuing professional development benefits us personally, our professional associations, our congregations and Unitarian Universalism’s future.

Unitarian Universalist History, Theology and Race

While Unitarian Universalism aspires to be a welcoming, theologically diverse, multicultural anti-racist and anti-oppressive faith community; it developed in the United States as a liberal religious movement within the larger culture’s bias and racism.
Music leaders are called to serve congregations where issues of race, racism, and privilege are still “live” and painful conversations. Music leaders need to engage in reflection and discussion on these issues - and be familiar with how Unitarian Universalist history and theology stand in relation to issues of race. Resources from the PDD can be found on the UUMN conference website.

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