As I mentioned in my first post, the main goal of this blog will be to help our various circles of church musicians find what we need to help continue growing in our ministries.  I’m hoping this can be a place where the organist who has suddenly been put in charge of a contemporary ensemble, or the vocal performance major who is given a choir to conduct, or the pianist who sees that row of pedals at the bottom of the organ and shudders (disclosure: that one was me for a good many years; the story can come later… J), or the introvert who suddenly has to be diplomat in a roomful of opinionated volunteers, can find resources to help them step out with confidence and new skills to do what they need to do. I want to spend some time in this early post, though, highlighting and pointing out some of the resources that are already out there, especially in this newer multimedia world. Obviously I can’t be comprehensive about this, but here at least are some of my favorite digital formation resources:

First, if you are interested in anything this blog is interested in, and you are not yet a member, then please head over to their website ( and sign up! (I’m serious. You can click over there right now and do it, and then come back. Please do come back.) An annual membership costs less than a year of Amazon Prime for an individual and is an even better deal for groups or parishes, and as much as I hope to be able to offer in the way of community and formation here at Sing Amen!, NPM is absolutely the first place to go for anyone involved in pastoral music. The premium content on their site is growing, their Ministry Mondays podcast is full of good stuff, and the conventions and institutes are the place where thousands of liturgical musicians head every summer, both to learn more about their craft and to be renewed in their love for what they do.

Speaking of podcasts, if you are not familiar with Matt Reichert and Zach Stachowski’s podcast Open Your Hymnal (Matt also does the Ministry Mondays podcast for NPM), it is a great listen. Zach and Matt interview various composers and speak with them about the origins of some of their best-loved songs; it’s wonderful to hear these stories from the lips of the songs’ creators.

Anthony Ruff’s Pray Tell Blog has been around a while, and it’s still one of the best, with a committed and almost intimidatingly intelligent readership. There are archives of some of their “Pray Tell Live” video presentations from the 2016 NPM Conference (I’m in one of them; I felt horribly outclassed and supremely dorky), and links to different types of articles with far better-than-average comment threads.  It’s like being allowed to sit quietly in a roomful of the smartest people I know and just listen to them talk to each other. And speaking of Pray Tell…

Found on the Pray Tell Blog’s “series” link, The Doing it Rite video series contains short videos with succinct mini-lessons for such things as cantors and mic use, conducting from the organ bench, and several other topics; hopefully this resource will keep growing, as it’s got some good stuff! (Note: I think they are still working on getting this under its own tab; the link by the bullet point above should get you there too!)

Not all of us can take a week in March to travel to Los Angeles for this tremendous conference—but it is an incredible crucible for music and art and formation and prayer on a large scale. And for those of us who cannot, many of the major events are archived on the RECongress YouTube channel. Performances, talks, liturgies, there is a lot of great stuff here!

It’s not strictly about music per se, but Diana Macalintal and Nick Wagner have created a really excellent resource hub for all things RCIA, and we as musicians really ought to be conversant with the vibrant and living process that initiates new adults into the Church—and we will have a much more successful time integrating the musical moments of the process if we have a solid understanding of the whole process. Team RCIA is made up of mostly premium content, and it’s very worthwhile content, but the blog and podcast portions of the site are free for the reading and listening. And if you know of any other great sites or resources, please add them to the comments!

There are also some great blogs and sites out there with reflections on the weekly readings and such, and one of the best of these is Rory Cooney’s “Gentle Reign” blog. (Very fine composer. Incredibly smart guy. One of my favorite theologians, and I’m not saying that tongue-in-cheek. I highly recommend it.)

These are, I’m sure, only the tip of the iceberg–please leave a comment if you have other favorites people should know about!