Master of Music: Sacred Music

Program Overview

The sacred music program offers education of the highest quality and broadest scope to sacred music majors who aspire to be leaders of the future.

The program is interdenominational and seeks to explore the excellence of various traditions of sacred music. Faculty members have wide experience and expertise in such traditions as Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Reformed, Roman Catholic, the Synagogue and Temple tradition, and others.

Curriculum Overview

The graduate curriculum aims, on the one hand, to explore how familiar tradition can be blended with unfamiliar contemporary creativity in choral, congregational, and instrumental music for worship and, on the other hand, to provide a balanced study of theoretical matters and practical concerns. Technique, repertoire, and performance practice are therefore considered with theology, Biblical and post-Biblical religious history, and the development and practice of liturgy and worship.

Graduate courses include oratorio solo literature, conducting coaching, worship planning for the 21st century, liturgies, Bach cantatas, history of sacred music and more.

A reciprocal partnership with Princeton Theological Seminary allows Westminster Choir College graduate students to take take certain courses offered by the seminary.  The seminary's Speer Library is another invaluable resource for Westminster students.

Degrees Offered

  • M.M. in Sacred Music

Contact

Dr. Amanda Quist, D.M.A.
Associate Professor and Chair of Conducting, Organ and Sacred Music
Williamson Hall 43
609-921-7100, ext. 8244
aquist@rider.edu

Program Website:  Sacred Music
Associated Department:  Westminster Choir College

Related Programs

Faculty

Vinroy Brown  •  Adjunct Instructor, Sacred Music, 2017.  B.M., Westminster Choir College.
Steve Pilkington • Associate Professor, Sacred Music, and Director of Chapel, 1992. B.A., St. Olaf College; M.M., University of Illinois; Ph.D., Drew University.
Kathleen Ebling Shaw • Adjunct Instructor, Sacred Music, 1991. B.M., Westminster Choir College.
Tom T. Shelton, Jr. • Associate Professor, Sacred Music, 2012.  B.M., M.M., University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
 

Master of Music: Sacred Music Program Requirements

Learn more about General Graduate Requirements.

Major Area
History
SM 712
SM 713
Hist of Sacred Music I
and Hist of Sacred Music II
6
Theology and Practice
SM 511Sacred Music Lab (2 terms)0
SM 631Worship Planning/21st Cent.3
SM 722Theology, Liturgy & Worship3
CR 517Master Singers (3 terms)3
CR 621
CR 622
Choral Conducting I
and Choral Conducting II
6
Each student must have an area of Applied Study:7-10
Option A: Applied Emphasis 1
Voice Primary (3 terms)
Piano Primary
Organ Primary
Composition Primary
Conducting Coaching 2
Option B: Choral Studies
Vocal Techniques for Choirs
Conducting Coaching 2
Conducting Primary (2 terms)
Core
MH 731Intro to Musicology3
CR 509Symphonic Choir (2 terms)2
Theory or Music History elective (1 course)3
Core elective (1 course) 23
Total Credits39-42

The following educational plan is provided as a sample only.  Rider students who do not declare a major during their freshman year; who change their major; or those who transfer to Rider may follow a different plan to ensure a timely graduation.  Each student, with guidance from his or her academic advisor, will develop a personalized educational plan.

 Applied Emphasis

(39-42 Credits)

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterCredits
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
CR 517 Master Singers 1
CR 621 Choral Conducting I 3
MH 731 Intro to Musicology 3
SM 511 Sacred Music Lab 0
SM 712 Hist of Sacred Music I 3
 
 Semester Credit Hours11
Spring Semester
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
CR 517 Master Singers 1
CR 622 Choral Conducting II 3
SM 511 Sacred Music Lab 0
SM 713 Hist of Sacred Music II 3
Primary Lesson 2-3
 Semester Credit Hours10-11
Year 2
Fall Semester
SM 631 Worship Planning/21st Cent. 3
Theory or Music History elective 3
Primary lesson 2-3
CR 517 Master Singers 1
 Semester Credit Hours9-10
Spring Semester
SM 630 Conducting Coaching 1-2
SM 722 Theology, Liturgy & Worship 3
Core elective 3
Primary lesson 2-3
 Semester Credit Hours9-11
 Total Credit Hours for Graduation39-43

Choral Studies

(38-39 Credits)

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterCredits
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
CR 517 Master Singers 1
CR 621 Choral Conducting I 3
MH 731 Intro to Musicology 3
SM 511 Sacred Music Lab 0
SM 712 Hist of Sacred Music I 3
 Semester Credit Hours11
Spring Semester
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
CR 517 Master Singers 1
CR 622 Choral Conducting II 3
CR 641B Conducting Primary 1
SM 511 Sacred Music Lab 0
SM 713 Hist of Sacred Music II 3
 Semester Credit Hours9
Year 2
Fall Semester
CR 641B Conducting Primary 1
SM 631 Worship Planning/21st Cent. 3
CR 517 Master Singers 1
Theory or Music History elective 3
CR 524 Vocal Techniques for Choirs 3
 Semester Credit Hours11
Spring Semester
SM 630 Conducting Coaching 1-2
SM 722 Theology, Liturgy & Worship 3
Core elective 3
CR 641B Conducting Primary 1
 Semester Credit Hours8-9
 Total Credit Hours for Graduation39-40

SM 509 Jubilee Singers 1 Credits

This auditioned ensemble is devoted to the performance of sacred music from the African-American tradition.

SM 511 Sacred Music Lab 0 Credits

Series of classes that addresses a variety of experiences in Sacred Music while rotating principal themes and ideas. Student preparation of monthly worship settings will put studied concepts into practice.

SM 517 Concert Handbell Choir II 1 Credits

Open to students who have had previous handbell experience. Intermediate to advanced repertoire, with opportunities for concert performance.

SM 519 Concert Handbell Choir I 1 Credits

A choir selected by audition from the most experienced and capable bell ringers among the student body at large. This ensemble utilizes advanced repertoire and techniques, aiming primarily at presenting concerts both on and off campus, including a two-week annual tour.

SM 525 Conductors' Repertoire Ensemble 1 Credits

An auditioned chamber ensemble, offered every semester, which provides conducting podium time and coaching to all interested members. It additionally serves the conducting needs of graduate Sacred Music majors.

Prerequisite(s): CR 215 or permission of instructor.

SM 531 Colloquium in Sacred Music 2 Credits

A lecture series/colloquium intended to address a wide variety of concerns in the field of Sacred Music while rotating principal themes and ideas.

SM 540 Choir Training/Young Singers 3 Credits

A practicum combined with study designed to teach students how to organize and direct a children’s choir program that emphasizes musical training as a basic requirement. The course focuses on teaching children good vocal techniques and sight-reading skills and includes practice teaching in a local school under instructor supervision. Other areas covered include musical readiness skills, voice-change problems, and repertoire.

SM 541 Conducting Church Choirs:Ped & Mgt 3 Credits

A practical course devoted to the building and maintenance of church music programs serving persons of all ages.

SM 621 Oratorio Solo Literature 3 Credits

A performance course surveying solo and ensemble portions of oratorios, masses, passions and cantatas from the early Baroque period to the present, with emphasis on approproiate performance techniques for stylistic integrity. Offered in rotation with other Sacred Music electives. 3 Credit hours.

SM 630 Conducting Coaching 1-2 Credits

Structured preparation and faculty coaching of the culminating choral recital in the graduate Sacred Music curriculum.

SM 631 Worship Planning/21st Cent. 3 Credits

Designed to facilitate the planning of worship, this practical course will be an immersion in the musical and theological materials available to those who create worship.

SM 640 Liturgies 3 Credits

A study of the origins of liturgy, its development in the main Christian traditions, and its relation to ecclesiastical history, with particular attention given to the differing styles and traditions of liturgical music. Contemporary liturgies are viewed against this historical background.

SM 641 Hymnology 3 Credits

A study of the origins and development of Christian hymnody, with reference to the theological emphases of various periods from the beginnings to the present, aiming to arouse interest in the textual and musical content of hymns and in their effective use in worship.

SM 654 German Church Music 3 Credits

A study of church choral literature by German composers from the 16th century to the present focusing on the pre-Bach and post-Bach cantata. Class performances of selected works. Complements SM 655. Offered in rotation with other Sacred Music electives.

SM 655 Bach Cantatas 3 Credits

A study of the history, performance practices, and liturgical setting of the cantatas of J.S. Bach. Class performances of selected cantatas.

SM 712 Hist of Sacred Music I 3 Credits

Study and research into the history of Western Christian music and its most important genres beginning with the Old Testament and continuing until the death of J.S. Bach in 1750.

SM 713 Hist of Sacred Music II 3 Credits

Continuation of SM 712, beginning with the Classical Viennese Mass and continuing until today. Emphasis on the development of the American church and its worship music.

SM 722 Theology, Liturgy & Worship 3 Credits

A detailed study of the Bible. Principal thematic and narrative elements are correlated to the development of the church’s historic liturgies and the theological principles behind them.