Wednesday, May 15, 2013

If you're feeling the calling to direct choirs . . .

I received a comment on my page on choir directing tips.  An aspiring director named KD said:
Hey, I am in prayer about something and hope that someone get this. I am a director, that hasn’t directed in a while, but I got an opportunity to direct about two months ago and God was on fire, but it was only one time, and now I am feeling like I should be doing it more often. Any advice on which direction, I should go in???????????
The thoughts that came to my mind are these:
  1. If you’re a member of a choir, talk to your minister of music and tell them about your interest.  If they agree that you have skills in that direction, they might want to include you as a part of a rotation of directors.
  2. Perhaps start a choir from scratch!  Talk with your pastor.  It could be that there is an interest in the church in establishing a youth or children’s choir, a men’s or women’s choir, or something else.
  3. If your church doesn’t need anything new in terms of choirs or directors, perhaps there is another church in your area that doesn’t have a choir at all.  You could offer to help them start one.  It might take some serious planning to figure out how to schedule your activities at another church and still keep your commitments to your home church, but if you can make it work it would be a great blessing to them and to you as well.
I would love to hear any other suggestions that anyone has on this question.


  1. Joan,

    I do have a question about starting a community choir. I've been given a vision which is part of my calling to start one. I've written down my plan and had a few people proof read it. However, I am unclear about the legality of singing songs concerning copyrights. I need to know where do I sign up to get the permissions I need to perform songs with my choir. Being that you are a "Choir Lady", I was hoping you can give me some information about this or direct me to a website.

    Thanks so much

    Kevin Camon

    1. Hi!

      Are you talking about recording music with the choir, or just singing it live?

      The official rule is that you're supposed to get permission to do live performances of any copyrighted song. But the unspoken rule in the gospel world is that gospel songwriters know that people are going to sing their songs in church services, etc., and they're not really demanding that Sis. Johnson get a license before she sings "I Won't Complain" at a funeral. So if your choir is just going to be singing around town, I wouldn't worry.

      But if you're going to make recordings or videos to sell, or if you're going to charge admission for performances, you should do the legal paperwork.

      For recordings, you would get a Mechanical License. That's the kind of license I get for the recordings I make for The website I use for that is Easy Song Licensing -- . You have to tell them how many copies you plan to sell and pay the royalties in advance.

      For videos, you get a Synchronization License. I don't know the details on how to get one because I've never done one myself, but you can search for the details on Synchronization Licenses.

      For public performances, you would need to get Public Performance Rights. You can search for more details about that. And as I said, if you're not charging people to hear the public performance, no one is really going to worry you. When people write gospel music they are expecting us to sing it in church.

      God Bless,