Product of the Month: Piano Prelude Series, Vol. 1

By Mark Knickelbein on Dec 4, 2018 9:00:00 AM

This month, we’re introducing a new series of hymn preludes written for pianists. Not only are these pieces great for use during worship services, but they can also be played at home or used with students. Here’s what to look for in the first volume.

Continue Reading

The Divine Service in Lutheran Service Book

By Peter Reske on Nov 27, 2018 11:45:00 AM

Lutherans believe that worship is an act of receiving God’s gifts. That’s why the worship service we use is called the Divine Service. It’s a time during which God comes to us through His Word and Sacraments. Lutheran Service Book includes five different versions, or settings, of the Divine Service. There is only one Divine Service, but there are different settings. Some of the music and language differ between the settings, but the core of them all is the same—God delivering to us His forgiveness and salvation.

Continue Reading

Evening Hymns for the Close of the Church Year

By Marie Landskroener on Nov 20, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
(“Abide with Me,” LSB 878, Stanza 1)

So was my family’s anthem nearly every evening when I was little. We made it our own with little added embellishments, as kids (and sometimes dads) are wont to do, and then scurried off to bed (always obediently and willingly, I might add—just don’t tell my mom I said that). Little did we know the preparation that was taking place, the ultimate preparation in life: we were preparing to die.

Topics: Hymns Prayer
Continue Reading

Five Simple Ways for Church Organists to Improve Their Playing

By Jacob Weber on Nov 13, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Between learning music for each week, leading rehearsals, teaching, and keeping up with regular life responsibilities, it can be hard for working church musicians to focus on their musical growth. But growing as a musician is one of the most important and fun parts of your work. So how do you make it happen?

Here are some simple ways to keep your musical growth a priority as you keep up your regular responsibilities at church.

Continue Reading

Product of the Month: Carol of the Lamb

By Peter Reske on Nov 6, 2018 9:00:00 AM

The Old Testament is full of promises of a Savior, so what better way to celebrate Christmas than by looking at how those promises are fulfilled in the New Testament? “Carol of the Lamb,” a new choral piece for Christmas, is a perfect way to bring this idea to your congregation, as it features breathtaking music and references to Psalm 23.

Continue Reading

Reformation Hymns for Hope and Comfort on All Saints’ Day

By Erica Tape on Oct 30, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Sola Scriptura, sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus. Scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone.

This Reformation teaching is especially poignant on All Saints’ Day, a day when many of us remember those who have gone before us in the faith. The solas teach us about the pure Gospel, and the Gospel gives us hope in the resurrection. As you rejoice in the Reformation, may you find comfort in the Gospel and share that comfort with others who may be mourning on All Saints’ Day.

Continue Reading

Prayer Hymns: One Immense Voice Raising Supplication to God

By Marie Landskroener on Oct 23, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Have you ever attempted an extempore prayer? I know I have been in many situations in which someone calls upon me to offer a prayer, and I confess I don’t have many memorized beyond the basics (the Lord’s Prayer, Luther’s Morning and Evening Prayers, etc.). The ability to compose a prayer on the spot is important to learn, but oftentimes, previously composed prayers are more thorough and eloquent.

Continue Reading

How Worship Rites Changed during the Reformation

By Peter Reske on Oct 16, 2018 3:15:00 PM

The Reformers sought not to overthrow existing church traditions but rather to bring them back to their pure states. As a result, the orders of worship Lutheran churches use today are strikingly similar to the ones Roman Catholic churches use. Here’s an overview of how worship changed during the Reformation, and why and how the Reformers did it. This post is adapted from Lutheranism 101: Worship by Thomas M. Winger.

Continue Reading

5 Notable Reformation Hymns That Aren’t “A Mighty Fortress”

By Peter Reske on Oct 9, 2018 9:00:00 AM

It’s almost Reformation Day, and that means we get to enjoy hearing some of Lutheranism’s most famous hymns. (“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” I’m looking at you!) If you’re looking for some additional Reformation-related hymns to use around this time, consider using the ones mentioned below. We selected most of these by using the hymn search tool in Lutheran Service Builder with the keyword “Reformation.”

We also have created social media graphics with quotes from the selected hymns, and they are all shown below. At the end of the post, you can download the graphics for free and use them on your church’s social media accounts.

Continue Reading

Product of the Month: Luther’s Morning Prayer and Luther’s Evening Prayer

By Mark Knickelbein on Oct 3, 2018 9:15:00 AM

Scripture teaches us to bring our needs daily to our Heavenly Father in Christ’s name. To help families and children understand this important truth, Martin Luther wrote two short prayers for individuals and families to use in the morning and evening before going to sleep. Now the simplicity and devotion of Luther’s Morning Prayer and its companion, Luther’s Evening Prayer, have been put to music by John A. Behnke.

Continue Reading

The Importance of Acoustics in Church Music

By Mark Knickelbein on Sep 25, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Worship encourages even the most hesitant participant to take part in the hymns, songs, and liturgy. This post considers the role that good acoustics play when encouraging full participation in worship. 

Topics: Church Music
Continue Reading

Reflection on “O Love, How Deep”

By Marie Landskroener on Sep 19, 2018 8:00:00 AM

The Christian faith presents certain truths about Jesus Christ—His birth, death, and resurrection, to name a few—and teaches that these events were real. Many people consider our faith as simply believing in Jesus; however, Scripture tells us that even the demons believe in Jesus (James 2:19). Our faith rests on something deeper: Jesus became man, died, and rose for us. Perhaps no hymn speaks to this simple yet glorious truth better than “O Love, How Deep.”

Continue Reading

4 Ways to Incorporate Music into Sunday School

By Jacob Weber on Sep 11, 2018 3:45:00 PM

With such a short amount of time for instruction, Sunday School teachers can find it difficult to fit music into class time. Especially challenging is having the music support and add value to the existing curriculum. Here are some ideas you can share with teachers at your church for smoothly incorporating music into Sunday School in a meaningful way.

Continue Reading

Product of the Month: LSB Text-Only Pocket and Ebook Editions

By Mark Knickelbein on Sep 4, 2018 9:30:00 AM

There’s no question that Lutheran churches often love tradition, and yet many churchgoers benefit from the options technology brings. Along that vein, CPH Music is excited to release two new editions of Lutheran Service Book. One is a pocket-size hymnal, which is reminiscent of generations past. The other is a text-only ebook, for those who are more future-minded.

Continue Reading

5 Networking Tips for Church Music Directors

By Anna Johnson on Aug 28, 2018 9:00:00 AM

God created us to be in community, and that applies to every aspect of our lives, including our jobs. If you’re a church music director, you need musicians to make music with, coworkers to run ministries with, and other music directors to learn and get help from. All these things require relationships—in other words, a network. Here are some ways to build a network that can help you continue to grow and move forward.

Continue Reading

Why Ancient Music Matters in the Church Even Today

By Marie Landskroener on Aug 21, 2018 9:00:00 AM

A music history professor once painted this picture for me: “Imagine you are a commoner in the Middle Ages, slaving away in the fields every day. Now imagine you walk into church. When it is cold outside, the church is warm. When it is hot outside, the church is cool. Now imagine you come into church and hear this.” And she played for us a Gregorian chant.

Topics: Church Music
Continue Reading

Music in Worship: Thoughts from Composer Mark Bender

By Anna Johnson on Aug 14, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Having served on the committee that created Lutheran Service Book and being a church music director, Mark Bender has a complex understanding of how music functions in the Divine Service. Mark also has published more than a dozen compositions with CPH Music. Hear from Mark himself about how he chooses music for worship and what tools he recommends to his fellow music directors.

Continue Reading

Product of the Month: Worship Planning Book

By Peter Reske on Aug 7, 2018 10:30:00 AM

Worship Planning Book assists pastors and musicians in preparing services for Sundays and for holidays, such as Good Friday, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve. To make worship planning smoother and easier, the Scripture readings, music suggestions, an outline, and more are included for each service. The 2019 edition, which spans from the First Sunday in Advent (December 2, 2018) through Day of Thanksgiving (November 28, 2019), is now available. Here’s how your pastor, secretary, and music director all can make use of this book together.

Continue Reading

5 Essential Tasks for Music Directors before Summer Ends

By Mark Knickelbein on Jul 31, 2018 2:00:00 PM

The end of summer is drawing near, which means that regular music rehearsals will begin again for most church musicians. Here are five essential things for music directors to do in order to make a smooth transition into fall.

Continue Reading

Advent and Christmas Music to Start Thinking About

By Mark Knickelbein on Jul 24, 2018 10:00:00 AM

With things being quieter in churches and schools during the summer, this is a perfect time to start planning ahead for Advent and Christmas. All our new pieces for that season are compiled into our 2018 Advent and Christmas catalog. But if you don’t know where to start, here are some options to get your ideas going.

Topics: Advent Christmas
Continue Reading

4 Ways for Church Music Directors to Recharge during Summer

By Marie Landskroener on Jul 17, 2018 9:30:00 AM

It is hard to believe that summer is already nearing its end. For me personally, it has been a time to rest and enjoy traveling and relaxing. Although I realize it is not always that way for everybody, I imagine that many people, especially church workers, have a bit more of a relaxed schedule during the summer. In particular, the summer is a time during which church musicians can catch their breath.

Continue Reading

The Role of Music in Teaching the Faith

By Anna Johnson on Jul 10, 2018 9:30:00 AM

We know that music is important in teaching people about Jesus, but what does that actually look like? What practical steps can music directors take to teach not only music but also the Christian faith? Below is an excerpt adapted from Kenneth T. Kosche’s article in The Pedagogy of Faith, a book for Lutheran educators about teaching methods they can use in the Christian classroom. Our excerpt is from the chapter about music.

Continue Reading

Product of the Month: Marvel at the Mercy

By Peter Reske on Jul 3, 2018 10:00:00 AM

“The center of Starke’s hymnody has always been the person and work of Jesus Christ, as revealed in Holy Scripture.”

Rev. Jon Vieker wrote that in the foreword to Stephen P. Starke’s new volume of hymns, Marvel at the Mercy. And we couldn’t agree with him more. Read on to learn about Pastor Starke’s new volume, his other published works, and how his texts poignantly capture the glory of our salvation through Christ.

Topics: Starke Hymns
Continue Reading

3 Summer Projects for Church Music Directors

By Anna Johnson on Jun 27, 2018 9:00:00 AM

If you’re a music director, your summers probably are balanced with catching up from the previous year and working ahead for the next one. Use some of that “working ahead” time this summer to step back from your regular weekly tasks and maintain the infrastructure of your music ministry. Some of the projects we suggest are to get your music organized, learn what music your congregation prefers, and recruit new musicians.

Continue Reading

Does the Memorization of Hymns Matter?

By Marie Landskroener on Jun 19, 2018 9:00:00 AM

We often use music as a tool to memorize things, whether they’re presidents, books of the Bible, states, parts of grammar, the Small Catechism, or any number of other items. The rhythm of songs and the catchiness of melodies make music a convenient vehicle to relay and hold onto facts, stories, lists, and so on. Music in this way serves a great purpose.

But have you ever stopped to wonder why we memorize things? Sure, instantly recalling a fact or name is good and useful and usually speeds up the work that needs to be done. But is there a greater purpose to memorization? Does music’s ability to make memorization quick and easy contain a higher good than simply recollection of fact?

Continue Reading

Summer Reading about Music and Worship: CPH Reads

By Anna Johnson on Jun 12, 2018 2:30:00 PM

It’s summer! Even musicians can benefit from taking a break, sitting down with a book, and escaping into a story or learning something new. Concordia Publishing House’s summer reading program, CPH Reads, is in full swing. This is a program for adults and children that allows you to select a reading plan, track your progress by earning points, and celebrate your success by being entered to win a grand prize. Here are some books about music and worship that are included in the program. At the end of the post, you can sign up for CPH Reads!

Continue Reading

Product of the Month: Organ Chorales of Samuel Scheidt

By Mark Knickelbein on Jun 5, 2018 10:00:00 AM

The forty-nine preludes in Organ Chorales of Samuel Scheidt come from the original 1650 publication Das Görlitzer Tabulaturbuch. After careful and reserved editing, these classic chorales now are matched perfectly to the keys and versions of tunes found in modern Lutheran hymnals, but they still let Scheidt be Scheidt. Learn more about the new collection here and preview the settings!

Topics: Organ Scheidt
Continue Reading

Meet CPH Composer Jacob B. Weber

By Anna Johnson on May 29, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Composer Jacob B. Weber began his musical journey as a piano student in first grade. He later studied church music and organ at Bethany Lutheran College and completed the master of church music degree at Concordia University Wisconsin. He was the kantor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church and School in Dearborn, Michigan, where he planned worship, played organ, led ensembles, and taught music at the K–8 school. Now, Jacob is the associate editor of music/worship at Concordia Publishing House. Jacob has published more than thirty works with CPH Music, including four new pieces this year. Get to know him by reading our interview with him below.

Continue Reading

The Importance of Teaching Hymns to Children

By Marie Landskroener on May 22, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Christianity is not a simple thing. As church musicians, we understand this and strive to use our music to help teach doctrine in all of its complexities and subtleties to congregants both young and old. In fact, what better way to prepare and teach our young people than by teaching them robust, doctrine-filled hymns?

Topics: Hymns Children
Continue Reading

7 Handbell Techniques for Unique Sounds

By Anna Johnson on May 15, 2018 9:00:00 AM

While handbells are a relatively easy instrument to learn, they still offer complexity and much variety in sound. Even those who have played in handbell choirs for a long time will enjoy learning new skills and honing current ones. Here are seven techniques from Successful Ringing Step by Step by John A. Behnke that will help ringers have fun and get a variety of sounds out of the bells.

Continue Reading

Music for the Season after Pentecost

By Mark Knickelbein on May 8, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Pentecost is a long and wonderful season when we focus on how God grows His Church through His Word. This is a time when our music selections can reflect biblical themes—such as peace, baptism, hope and comfort, or missions—rather than specific holidays. Here are some music selections your church can use during the season after Pentecost.

Continue Reading

CPH’s New Music Releases for 2018

By Peter Reske on May 1, 2018 9:00:00 AM

It’s that time of year again—time for our new music to be released! We’re excited to share with you CPH’s new music for 2018. This year’s collection features 33 choral pieces, 19 titles for organ or piano, and 10 handbell works. A few highlights are detailed below. At the end of the post, you can download the digital music catalog to browse all of the new pieces.

Continue Reading

Reflection on “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”

By Marie Landskroener on Apr 24, 2018 9:00:00 AM

As I reflect on the glorious triumph of the Easter season, I remember the final hymn my congregation sang on Easter Sunday: “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing” (LSB 633). One of my all-time favorite hymns, it has a text that rightly captures both the joy of the day and the ultimate joy of the glorious Easter feast of heaven.

Easter is a time of rejoicing, and one of the best ways to rejoice is to throw a feast. In fact, for the past several Easter Sundays, I have had the opportunity to celebrate with food and fellowship. This feasting is a continuation of the joy of the Sunday-morning proclamation that “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!” It is also a foretaste of the celebration of heaven, that great feast of victory.

Continue Reading

Interview with Jeffrey Honoré

By Peter Reske on Apr 17, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Composer Jeffrey Honoré is releasing a new handbell piece with CPH in 2018: “Meditation on ‘Crown Him with Many Crowns.’” We sat down with Jeffrey to learn more about the piece, his background, and how he got into the composing world.

Continue Reading

Adding New Music into Worship while Honoring Tradition

By Anna Johnson on Apr 11, 2018 12:00:00 PM

All art was once new. Over much time, works now considered classic earned that status and were adopted into people’s traditions. How do we embrace new music in our churches today, whether to adopt those works into our congregations’ traditions or simply to enjoy them on their own? Robin Leaver discusses this question in an excerpt below from “The Theological Character of Music in Worship.”

Continue Reading

Product of the Month: Why Do You Peer into the Skies?

By Mark Knickelbein on Apr 3, 2018 9:00:00 AM

“Why Do You Peer into the Skies?” features brilliant work by two skilled artists—writer Lisa M. Clark and composer Jacob B. Weber. The text and tune tie very closely to Scriptural accounts of Jesus’ ascension, working together to share the message of God’s salvation and what His Son’s ascension means for us even today.

Topics: Choral Weber Clark
Continue Reading

How Church Musicians Can Find Rest during Holy Week

By Marie Landskroener on Mar 27, 2018 9:00:00 AM

One church musician cancels her piano lessons during Holy Week. Another decides not to travel to visit family during spring break because Holy Week is coming up too soon. The looks and brief conversations between church musicians during this time admit an exhaustion that accompanies this premier week of the Church Year.

Continue Reading

Music for Holy Week

By Mark Knickelbein on Mar 20, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Holy Week is almost upon us! May God use that week to help you reflect on His great love for you, shown in the sacrifice of His Son to earn your salvation. Listen to the pieces below as part of your daily devotions during Holy Week, and encourage your members to use them in the same way. You can also use these pieces if you are still making last-minute additions to your worship music.

Continue Reading

Training Kids to Be Church Musicians

By Marie Landskroener on Mar 13, 2018 9:00:00 AM

As church musicians, we understand the necessity of training young people not only in music generally but in church music specifically. With all the talk of a lack of young church musicians, how do we begin to recruit the children in our own churches?

Continue Reading

Product of the Month: I Am Making All Things New

By Mark Knickelbein on Mar 6, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Revelation 21:4–5, which talks about God wiping away every tear from our eyes, is not a usual text for Easter Vigil services. But David von Kampen is all about using the unexpected in his compositions. He’s a master at creating musical experiences that reinforce scriptural truths, and that’s exactly what he did with his new piece “I Am Making All Things New.”

Continue Reading

Reflection on “A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth”

By Marie Landskroener on Feb 27, 2018 8:00:00 AM

As the recently arrived Lent spurs Christians to reflect on their mortality and sinfulness, to give up vices, and to contemplate the suffering of Christ, we begin looking forward with great eagerness to Easter. While Lent may be a beautiful and necessary part of the Church Year, the solemnity of this time can sometimes turn discouraging. This year, I have turned to Paul Gerhardt’s text of “A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth” (LSB 438) to seek comfort, assurance, and confidence in the hope of the resurrection.

Continue Reading

Rev. Dr. Thomas Winger on the Role of the Hymnal in Worship

By Peter Reske on Feb 20, 2018 9:00:00 AM

As a musician, pastor, and liturgy committee member for Lutheran Service Book, Rev. Dr. Thomas Winger has a unique and informed perspective on how music functions in the liturgy. We recently interviewed him to learn about his new book, Lutheranism 101: Worship, and to hear his perspective on incorporating the hymnal into worship and daily prayer.

Continue Reading

Lenten Reading Plan 2018

By Anna Johnson on Feb 13, 2018 3:15:00 PM

The Church’s hymns are filled with rich and beautiful texts that provide congregations the opportunity to put words of Scripture to song. This Lenten season, we invite you to join us in our 2018 Lenten reading plan. Each day, we’ll focus on a new hymn stanza and the associated Scripture reading that inspired it.

Continue Reading

Product of the Month: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

By Mark Knickelbein on Feb 6, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Luther taught that the purpose of church music is not to entertain but to share the Gospel. CPH composer Lauran Delancy takes that to heart in all of her arrangements. Her new piece, “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” uses rich symbolism, as well as excellent musical craft, to evoke the painfulness of Jesus’ crucifixion and the hope of His resurrection.

Topics: Handbell Delancy
Continue Reading

Reflection on “Alleluia, Song of Gladness”

By Marie Landskroener on Jan 30, 2018 9:00:00 AM

As I reflect on the end of the Epiphany season and the beginning of Lent, I like to turn to the hymn that transitions us from one to the other on Transfiguration Sunday: “Alleluia, Song of Gladness” (LSB 417). The early Latin text adequately conveys tension between life here on earth and the eternal joy we look forward to in heaven.

Continue Reading

Sharing the Gospel through Well-Made Music

By Marie Landskroener on Jan 23, 2018 9:00:00 AM

This post comes from Luther on Music: Paradigms of Praise.

Understanding the function of music in the church is essential for a church musician. Luther understood music’s primary role as proclaiming the Gospel, not teaching or entertaining—a view that has important implications in our selection and performance of music in the church.

Continue Reading

Featured Music for Lent

By Anna Johnson on Jan 16, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Lent begins in less than one month! If you’re looking for some special music to incorporate into your repertoire this season, here are some of our recently added Lenten selections to check out.

Continue Reading

Product of the Month: Enter His Gates with Praise

By Mark Knickelbein on Jan 9, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Our product of the month for January is Enter His Gates with Praise: Eight Organ Preludes for the Church Year. Read about the preludes and the composer, and download a free excerpt to use at your church!

Topics: Organ Machemer
Continue Reading

Music as a Teaching Tool

By Rachel Gonzalez on Jan 2, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Have you ever wondered why it’s so easy to remember the lyrics to that one song you heard on the radio but it’s so hard to remember Luther’s explanation of the Fifth Commandment? That’s because when you put things to music, they’re much easier to memorize.

Continue Reading

Twelve Hymns for the Twelve Days of Christmas

By Anna Johnson on Dec 26, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Merry Christmas! What a joy to know that the Church’s Christmas song continues through the next eleven days. Enjoy these twelve hymns as you rejoice in the Savior’s birth!

Continue Reading

Keeping Special Musicians Engaged after Christmas

By Marie Landskroener on Dec 19, 2017 9:00:00 AM

It is often at Christmas that church music directors pull out all the stops—and all the special musicians. Special musicians, whether they are singers or instrumentalists, are usually willing to share their talents at this festive time of year. But how can church music directors engage these other musicians all year round?

Continue Reading

Singing the O Antiphons during Advent

By Anna Johnson on Dec 12, 2017 9:00:00 AM

During the Advent season, churches may set aside time to reflect on the O Antiphons of Advent through worship and song. What are these O Antiphons and how can church musicians incorporate them into the church’s song this Advent season?

Continue Reading

Product of the Month: Repeat the Sounding Joy

By Peter Reske on Dec 5, 2017 9:00:00 AM

In the wonder and joy of the Christmas season, music can be especially helpful in setting the tone for worship. In her new collection Repeat the Sounding Joy: Five Christmas Tunes for Trumpet and Organ, CPH composer Sondra Tucker uses different organ colors and the clear call of trumpets to remind listeners of the joy of Christ’s birth. Learn from Sondra herself about the collection, how your church can make use of it, and some special moments to listen for in the pieces.

Continue Reading

Involving Youth in Church Music

By Rachel Gonzalez on Nov 28, 2017 9:00:00 AM

A topic of discussion for many years has been how to get youth more involved in church. One way to approach this is by looking at music. Get the youth involved in music; then point them to music in the church. Here are a few ways to think about involving young people in church, specifically through music.

Continue Reading

Six Thanksgiving Hymn Favorites

By Marie Landskroener on Nov 21, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Ah, Thanksgiving. My favorite time of year. And of course it is a time not only to feast with family and friends, but also to give thanks to God for His bountiful goodness toward us. What better way to do this than by having a church service containing many beautiful hymns of thanks?

Continue Reading

Product of the Month: O Holy Night

By Peter Reske on Nov 14, 2017 9:00:00 AM

With its satisfying harmonies yet simple tune, “O Holy Night” is a familiar hymn that has become a staple in Christmas worship. This year, CPH Music released a new setting of this popular hymn in partnership with composer John Behnke. Learn more about this unique and captivating arrangement, and explore some of Behnke’s other works as a handbell, choral, and organ composer.

Continue Reading

Finding Rest in the Gospel through Music

By Marie Landskroener on Nov 7, 2017 9:00:00 AM

“Soon, soon to faithful warriors cometh rest.”

One of my favorite lines from the hymn “For All the Saints,” these words are a source of incredible comfort in a weary world. While we wait for the eternal rest the hymn mentions, music provides a temporary relief from struggle and labor.

Topics: Advent Christmas
Continue Reading

Words to Look for in Luther’s Hymns

By Anna Johnson on Oct 31, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Just as it was in Luther’s day, music is still a powerful tool the Church can use to convey the importance of Christ’s saving name. Luther’s words have greatly shaped our theology and hymnody over the centuries, and they will likely continue to do so for the next half millennium. In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we’re taking a closer look at some of the most commonly used words in Luther’s hymns according to the English translations in The Hymns of Martin Luther.

Continue Reading

The Rise of Hymnody During the Reformation

By Rachel Gonzalez on Oct 24, 2017 9:00:00 AM

This excerpt is taken from Christian Art: Its Place and Use in Lutheran Worship by Paul E. Kretzmann.

Continue Reading

Introducing New Music to Your Congregation

By Mark Knickelbein on Oct 17, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Introducing new music to your congregation is an important task that can require much patience and persistence. A little planning and coordination ahead of time can help eliminate some of the frustration that comes with it. Here are a few suggestions on how to roll out a new piece of music to your congregation.

Continue Reading

The Six Catechetical Hymns of Martin Luther

By Peter Reske on Oct 11, 2017 10:00:00 AM

This post is taken from The Hymns of Martin Luther, with historical summaries authored by Henry V. Gerike and edited by Peter C. Reske.

Music can be a powerful teaching tool, and Luther knew that well. By teaching his parishioners hymns about the Ten Commandments or the persons of the Trinity, he could reinforce Christianity’s essential teachings in a memorable and moving way. Learn about his six catechetical hymns below, and at the end of the post, you can download a set of devotions based on the hymns.

Continue Reading

Product of the Month: Four Advent Hymns for Twelve Bells

By Peter Reske on Oct 3, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Our featured product for October is Sandra Eithun’s new handbell collection, Four Advent Hymns for Twelve Bells. Learn more about Sandra’s composition process and listen to a preview of each of the hymns!

Continue Reading

Three Tips for Selecting Advent and Christmas Music

By Benjamin Kolodziej on Sep 26, 2017 3:05:31 PM

With Christmas less than three months away, many musicians have already started making selections and planning rehearsals. Our guest author and composer for this week, Benjamin Kolodziej, shares some of his favorite tips for preparing Advent and Christmas music.

Topics: Advent Christmas
Continue Reading

Church Music with Limited Resources

By Marie Landskroener on Sep 19, 2017 9:00:00 AM

I recently played at a church that had a very limited organ. I had always thought the regular organist did a fine job but could have been more creative. Then I discovered that the instrument did not offer much to encourage creativity. Each manual had about five basic stops, and I struggled to lead the congregation in a way that encouraged singing.

Continue Reading

Editor’s Picks: Last Part of the Church Year

By Mark Knickelbein on Sep 12, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Looking for ideas for music to incorporate into worship this fall? Here are five choices that align with the readings for the last part of the Church Year. Read more about each piece and listen to a preview below.

Continue Reading

Equipping Families to Use the Hymnal at Home

By Peter Reske on Sep 6, 2017 12:00:00 PM

With the school year beginning, many families are still trying to adjust to new schedules and establish new routines. This change of pace offers a great time to encourage them to incorporate daily devotions into their time together.

Here are some ideas for how church musicians, pastors, and teachers can help families use the hymnal at home. You also download a free family devotions guide with hymns and readings for each week during the school year.

Continue Reading

Keeping Children’s Choir Christ-Centered

By Marie Landskroener on Aug 29, 2017 9:00:00 AM

This post is taken from Children Sing His Praise edited by Donald Rotermund.

Of all acts of corporate worship probably none is more inspiring than the singing of a well-trained, well-disciplined choir of children. To hear the pure voices of children produce freely floating tones in perfect unison or in harmony is one of the most uplifting of musical experiences. An even more spiritually profound impression is made if the song is an integral part of the theme of the day and if the singers actively participate in worship by listening, singing, and praying as full partners in the worshipping community.

Continue Reading

Lesser-Known Tidbits about Favorite Reformation Hymns

By Peter Reske on Aug 22, 2017 4:30:00 PM

What’s the legend behind the tune for “Thy Strong Word”? What influenced the writing of “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast”? Learn these tidbits and more about some of the most well-known Reformation hymns.

Continue Reading

DIY Hymnology: Research Tips for Studying Hymns

By Peter Reske on Aug 15, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Researching hymns can feel like going on a wild goose chase that leads to a dead end or, if you’re lucky, a tiny tidbit of information. But there are some things you can do to make that research less frustrating and more fruitful.

When I was editing Lutheran Service Book, I learned the best strategy was to go back to the primary sources for hymns. That’s what I encourage you to do as well. Here are some tips for finding useful sources without spending a fortune—or any money at all.

Continue Reading

Advent and Christmas Music Options for Your Church

By Mark Knickelbein on Aug 8, 2017 10:00:00 AM

We know many of you are getting started recruiting musicians and selecting music for this year. To help you with that, we’ve put together a list of pieces you may want to consider for Advent and Christmas. Feel free to check out our Advent and Christmas playlist on YouTube as well!

Continue Reading

Recap: LCMS Institute on Liturgy, Preaching and Church Music

By Peter Reske on Aug 1, 2017 2:30:00 PM

At the LCMS Institute on Liturgy, Preaching and Church Music last week, a visiting pastor told us something that reminded us why music is so important in the Church.

Continue Reading

Principles of Liturgical Music

By Rachel Gonzalez on Jul 25, 2017 1:00:00 PM

There are a lot of ideas about what makes music appropriate for church. This post is an excerpt from Ceremony and Celebration and provides a few principles as defined by Paul H. D. Lang. 

Continue Reading

Organ: The King of Instruments

By Marie Landskroener on Jul 18, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Talk to nearly anyone today who has any sort of opinion about church music and they’ll tell you that the organist is a dying breed. But instead of getting fatalistic, let’s encourage others in whatever sort of musical pursuit they enjoy—and then encourage them to learn the organ.

Topics: Organ
Continue Reading

Music, Emotions, and Faith

By Rachel Gonzalez on Jul 11, 2017 9:00:00 AM

What makes a movie scary or sad? The music behind the actions helps us understand what we should be feeling. Music can emotionally direct you to feel in many different ways. This is great for in the car or at the movies, but what about church? Why do we sing in church? 

Continue Reading

Composing the Festival Settings of Luther’s Divine Service

By Mark Knickelbein on Jul 5, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Last week, we interviewed composers Jonathan Kohrs and Jacob Weber and asked about their work on the new Festival Settings of Luther's Divine Service. Professor Kohrs teaches music courses at Concordia University Chicago, and Weber serves as Kantor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church and School in Dearborn, MI.

Continue Reading

Beautiful Music in a Practical World

By Marie Landskroener on Jun 27, 2017 4:00:00 PM

We are called to love our neighbors, often by giving money to help with bodily needs, but how can we prevent present physical concerns from overtaking the need for the Gospel? The arts, especially music, help to point us to the Gospel—particularly through beauty.

Continue Reading

Sneak Peek at the 2018 Worship Planning Book

By Peter Reske on Jun 20, 2017 9:00:00 AM

The 2018 Worship Planning Book will be released at the beginning of July 2017, and we want to give you a taste by providing you with a free excerpt

Continue Reading

Conferences and Events CPH Music Will Be at in 2017

By Mark Knickelbein on Jun 13, 2017 1:00:00 PM

CPH Music is getting ready for our conferences this year. Check out the list of events we’ll be at in 2017 and see if we’ll be at one near you!

Continue Reading

Recruiting and Retaining Church Musicians

By Erica Tape on Jun 6, 2017 4:30:00 PM

If you’re a music director, chances are you’ve faced challenges with getting new people into music ministry and keeping them in it. I’m a violist and I’ve played at many churches over the years, both as a member and as a guest. Here are some tips—advised from a church musician herself—for talking with musicians, recruiting them into music ministry, and retaining them.

Continue Reading

Building Rapport with Musicians at Your Church

By Peter Reske on May 30, 2017 9:00:00 AM

This post is adapted from A Novice’s Guide to Directing the Church Choir by Kenneth T. Kosche. Though written specifically for choirs, the suggestions can apply to any church ensemble.

Rapport is one of those relational terms that most easily defines itself by its presence or absence. How well you get along with your choir and they with you is a measure of your rapport. There are no surefire solutions that will work for everyone to establish rapport, though there are some points of advice to offer.

Continue Reading

The Future of Handbells in Church Music

By Mark Knickelbein on May 23, 2017 9:00:00 AM


As some churches move toward high-tech services with more modern music, some may consider handbells old fashioned, out of date, or just not interesting. But handbell ensembles have specific benefits that can’t be matched by other types of ensembles. Because of their unique, irreplaceable roles, they are as important in the church as they have ever been.

Continue Reading

Introducing Hymn Prelude Library, Volume 11

By Peter Reske on May 16, 2017 2:00:00 PM

If you’re an organist, you know that the search for Sunday-morning music can be endless. You need to cover several spots in each service where hymns aren’t being sung. You need to find music that can be learned quickly but is still interesting. And sometimes, you just have a hard time finding music that matches with a given Sunday’s hymns.

Recognizing the need for a handy and varied selection of hymn preludes, CPH Music started developing Hymn Prelude Library in 2011. Now, we’re about to release Volume Eleven in the series! Get a preview of the new volume below.

Continue Reading

Writing the Lyrics for the Echoes of the Hammer Musical

By Lisa M. Clark on May 9, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Our guest author for today is Lisa M. Clark, Senior Editor for Curriculum Resources at CPH. Although you may know her best as a hymn writer and the author of the Messengers novels, one of her latest projects has been working on CPH Education’s new musical, Echoes of the Hammer. In today’s post, Lisa shares more about her creative process as the lyricist for the musical.

Continue Reading

Digital Music Catalog with New Releases for 2017

By Peter Reske on May 2, 2017 10:00:00 AM

We’re very excited to announce the release of our new music for 2017! The collection includes 30 choral titles, 20 organ and keyboard pieces, and 10 handbell releases. This year, we’ve incorporated everything into a digital catalog complete with videos, recordings, hymn texts, and links to learn more. Here are a few tips for browsing the catalog so you can find the best music for your church.

Continue Reading

Interview with Timothy Shaw

By Anna Johnson on Apr 25, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Every artist knows that the details matter, and composer Timothy Shaw’s detail-oriented nature is probably one of the things that has made his music career so successful! Taking pleasure from things many other people may not notice, like a perfectly engraved musical score or a key change in one of his compositions, Timothy has composed more than a dozen pieces for CPH. Read our interview with Timothy and visit his author page on CPH.org to learn more about all of his compositions with us.

Continue Reading

Our Customers’ Five Favorite Pieces for the Easter Season

By Mark Knickelbein on Apr 18, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Looking for some new pieces to add variety to your church’s music during the Easter season? Here’s an overview of our customers’ five favorite Easter pieces. Listen to each piece below, then head to the CPH website to browse the complete section of music for the Easter season.

Continue Reading

Free Holy Week Social Graphics and Devotions

By Anna Johnson on Apr 11, 2017 9:00:00 AM

 Just a few short days ago, we proclaimed our loud Hosannas, remembering the day our Lord made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. As we continue through Holy Week, we’re offering you free resources to help you and your church’s members reflect on the significance of these holidays. We’ve compiled a free online Lutheran Calendar and free devotional readings, social media graphics, and hymn videos that you can share or use individually.

Continue Reading

Our Favorite Holy Week Hymns

By Peter Reske on Apr 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM

We know we’re not supposed to play favorites, but when we’re surrounded by so much excellent music all day, it’s hard not to! We interviewed the members of the CPH Music team to learn what their favorite Holy Week hymns are. Read about them here, then head to our Facebook page to tell us about your favorites.

Continue Reading

Interview with Jeffrey Blersch

By Mark Knickelbein on Mar 28, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Not many CPH composers got their first organist jobs at eight years old, but Jeffrey Blersch was one of them. A little bit taller and older now, Jeff has published more than one hundred compositions and arrangements exclusively with CPH Music.

Last week, he gave a live online performance of three new compositions and talked to us about his music background. Read highlights from our conversation below, and head to our YouTube channel to watch a recording of the event.

Continue Reading

One LSB Hymn a Week

By Anna Johnson on Mar 21, 2017 9:00:00 AM

We’re very excited to announce a new partnership with Mark Peters from One LSB Hymn a Week, a video series that gives organists ideas for musical selections each week.

Continue Reading

Establishing a Communications Hub for Rehearsals (Part Two)

By Anna Johnson on Mar 14, 2017 11:00:00 AM

In last week’s post, we talked about what a communications hub is and why it is important. This week, we’ll look at some concrete examples of the components in a rehearsal communications hub. At the end, you can download a free rehearsal communications kit to use in your music ministry.

Continue Reading

Establishing a Communications Hub for Rehearsals (Part One)

By Anna Johnson on Mar 7, 2017 9:00:00 AM

We know that this time of year can be very stressful for many directors and musicians as you prepare for additional Lenten, Holy Week, and Easter services. What's the best way to communicate about all these rehearsals and schedules? How can a centralized communications plan help to relieve stress during the busy time of the Church Year?

In this week's post, we'll look at what a communications hub is and why it is so important. Next week, we'll talk more about offline and online options for establishing this hub at your church!

Continue Reading

5 Last-Minute Lenten Selections

By Anna Johnson on Feb 28, 2017 9:00:00 AM

With Lenten, Holy Week, and Easter services to prepare for, this can be a very busy time of the year for church musicians! If you're still looking for a few more pieces to incorporate into your Lenten repertoire, we've curated a quick list for you. 

Continue Reading

2017 Lenten Reading Plan

By Joe Willmann on Feb 21, 2017 6:00:00 AM

When I was in high school, I learned about the practice of giving something up for the Lenten season. Lately, I’ve picked up the practice of giving up time—by reading something in forty days that will take some dedication and sacrifice. This Lent, join me in learning forty hymns from Lutheran Service Book.

To help you with this process, we’ve developed a downloadable reading guide with hymn suggestions for each day in Lent.

Continue Reading

The History of LCMS Hymnals

By Peter Reske on Feb 14, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Who decides when it’s time to create a new hymnal? When did the Missouri Synod switch from a German hymnal to an English one? How have our liturgy and hymns changed over time?

In a recent webinar, we went through a brief overview of the history of LCMS hymnals. Read an excerpt below and watch the full webinar on our YouTube channel.

Continue Reading

Interview with John Behnke

By Mark Knickelbein on Feb 7, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Every music piece has a story behind it, and composer John Behnke has a ton of stories.

With plenty of humor and clear passion for what he does, Dr. Behnke told us about the ups and downs in his time as a composer. As a seasoned church musician, teacher, and composer, he shared some of his expert knowledge on writing music that can easily be used by a wide range of churches.

Read highlights from our conversation below, and watch the full interview on our YouTube channel.

Continue Reading

Interview with Kevin Hildebrand and Matthew Machemer

By Peter Reske on Jan 31, 2017 9:00:00 AM

“We’ve got the best jobs in the Missouri Synod.”

Kevin Hildebrand and his co-worker Matthew Machemer are kantors at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

But beyond that, they are talented organists, passionate composers, joyful teachers, and careful shapers of how future pastors view music ministry in the parish. Kevin and Matt recently sat down with us to talk about how they got started in music and to tell us the stories behind their new pieces for Lent.

Continue Reading

Introducing Prelude to Postlude | CPH Music Blog

By Anna Johnson on Jan 24, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Thanks for visiting Prelude to Postlude, the blog for music at Concordia Publishing House! 

Continue Reading