Benefits of the MLC program
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 are usually offered at the Association of Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries (AUUMM) annual summer conference in a rotation of two courses offered each year. In addition, a Professional Development Day (PDD) is offered, usually preceding the conference.

The courses and the Professional Development Days are mandatory. 

Core Courses​​

Due to the Coronavirus, the 2020 AUUMM Conference has been canceled and rescheduled to take place in Ann Arbor in 2021. All 2020 Music Leadership Certification courses are also being postponed for 2021. Dates below reflect these changes.

  • 2021: Interdependent Care and Ethics: The Morally Grounded Music Religious Professional with Rev. Sunshine Wolfe and Dr. Don Brunnquell, instructors July 2021 in Ann Arbor, MI - ​This program will address the most common and challenging ethical questions that arise for religious professionals of music.  How does the moral imagination help us to consider the ethical challenges of our contexts?  How can self-care prevent some of the most egregious boundary violations in our work?  What counts as a boundary crossing and a boundary violation? What practical tools can help us to begin to navigate the ethically meaningful life within our communities of service?  What tools do we have within us and what tools do we need to hone in order to be the healthiest we can be in our important work?”
  • 2021: Leading a Rehearsal: Tools & Techniques for Success with Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout, instructor July 2021 in Ann Arbor, MI​
    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 rehearsals.
  • 2022: Leadership of Congregational Singing
    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. (program subject to change)
  • 2022: Music Leaders as Theologians (Multicultural Competence)

This course is designed to support the role and best practices of the music leader in a multiracial, multicultural, and theologically diverse Unitarian Universalist congregation. As a doorway for deepening the congregation’s commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of every congregant, the course supports music leaders in helping the congregation to explore, name, and integrate its values in service of compassion, justice, and inclusion. We will explore such questions as: What is the music leader’s role in communicating and embodying the core messages of Unitarian Universalism? How are music leaders called to enter into the current conversations and actions in our Unitarian Universalist movement around dismantling white-supremacy culture in our institutions? (program subject to change)

  • 2023: Developing and Managing a Music Program 

In this course, we will survey the practical aspects of developing and managing a dynamic music ministry.  We will explore resources from the UU Musicians Network 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. (program subject to change)

  • 2023: Music and Worship
    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.  (program subject to change)

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 AUUMM 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.​

2021: UU Theologies in Troubled Times, presented by the Rev. Sofia Betancourt, MDiv 

This daylong gathering with workshops and hands-on learning will place historical UU theological writings about our values and beliefs in the face of the unimaginable in conversation with current theologies of liberation calling us to communal works of love and justice.

All religious professionals are invited to participate in the Professional Development Day, which is sponsored by the UUA’s Music Leadership Certification Program. The session will be held at the Kensington Hotel, the AUUMM conference hotel in Ann Arbor, MI.

The cost of the program is $75, payable by credit card at the time of registration. On-site registration will be available as space allows; the cost is $100, payable by check or cash only. 2020 PDD flyer (PDF)

For more information contact mlcertification@uua.org.

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