Reading List

This list is useful for students of the Archbishop of Dublin’s Certificate in Church Music (ACCM) course and of interest to all church musicians.

At the Organ of Notre-Dame, conversations with Stéphane Friédérich.

English translation by Martin Sechell, Oliver Latry.
Published by  Dr. J Butz, Bonn ISBN 978-3-928412-32-2
An interesting insight into the work of the musicians at Notre-Dame, including reaction to the devastating fire. This book is written around the various parts of the Eucharist, making it particularly suitable for church musicians.

Training Your Choir (previously Giving Voice) 

David Hill. Published by Kevin Mayhew ISBN 978-0-86209-688-5
This practical book includes warm-ups and vocal exercises, the physiology of singing, conducting technique, group dynamics and rehearsal preparation. It is 80 pages long and very readable.

Kick-Start Your Choir

Mike Brewer, Publ. Faber Music, 1997 ISBN 0-571-52071-5
The author of this small 32-page booklet is a long-experienced choral conductor and presenter of conducting workshops. It contains very useful and practical advice and suggestions on topics such as Starting a Choir, Getting Young People to Sing, Preparation and Rehearsal, Basis Vocal Technique and Troubleshooting. Well worth having.

The Singing Thing Too

John Bell, Wild Goose Publications ISBN 978-1-905010-32-5
John Bell’s first book in this series, The Singing Thing, explores the reasons why people sing, or indeed don’t sing. In this second volume his concerns are learning and teaching. How do people pick up new music? How do you encourage a congregation to learn a new song? How can you breathe new life into good old hymns which have gone stale?

The subtitle of the book is ‘Enabling congregations to sing’ and in his engaging and readable style, John Bell tells how. He discusses the differences between choirs and congregations (the choir thinks it can sing and the congregation knows it can’t); teaching new hymns (never tell people the number); ways to overcome resistance to new music; the importance of being really prepared.

He explains how to match words to a suitable instrument, not always the organ, and has some interesting suggestions for variations on old favourites. Bell’s advice is at once entertaining and full of common sense.

See also The Singing Thing, ISBN 978-1-901557-28-2

How to be a Successful Choir Director

John Bertalot. Published by Kevin Mayhew ISBN 978-1-84003-865-1 Another useful book on choir directing. This book is practical, down to earth and easy to read.

Making Music on the Organ

Peter Hurford.
The author is a household name in organist circles. This book covers the organ and its repertoire in a readable and practical style and is particularly good on Bach, for which Hurford is world famous.

The History of the English Organ

Stephen Bicknell Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-521-65409-2 In- depth and up to date, authoritative survey.

The Cambridge Companion to the Organ

ed. Nicholas Thistlethwaite and Geoffrey Webber. Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-521-57584-2. This useful reference book deals with aspects of the organ. Instruments; repertoire; history; performance and design in the main countries/schools are discussed. Each chapter is written by an acknowledged expert in the field.

Irish Cathedral Music

W.H. Grindle Compelling historical and musical survey. A good book to dip into. ISBN 0-85389- 331-4

Everything Else an Organist Should Know

Robert Leach and Barry Williams
Organist Publications Ltd. ISBN 0-95507-49-0-8 This book is intended to be a complete reference book for church musicians. It deals with all the areas, apart from the actual music, which are encompassed by the organist’s work. It is a witty book with plenty of anecdotal material to amuse the reader.

Music in the Mission of the Church 

Andrew Maries, John L. Bell, Michael Joncas, Decani Books ISBN 1-900-31401-0
This is a series of papers presented at the Sing our God Together conference, Birmingham held in 1996. It deals with the use of music to enhance worship and being only 65 pages long it is not expensive.

Common Worship Today 

An Illustrated Guide ed. Mark Earey and Gilly Myers (Harper Collins, 2001) ISBN 0-00-599381-4
This book may be out of print but is readily available through Amazon. The Church Music Committee has a few copies for sale.

The Worship Architect

Constance M. Cherry (Baker Academic, 2010) ISBN 978-0-8010-3874-7  This book deals with the structures that support worship and how they fit together.  Recommended by Richard Clutterbuck at Living Worship 2017

The Music Architect

Blueprints for Engaging Worshipers in Song Constance M Cherry (Baker Academic, 2016) ISBN 978-0-8010-99687 A sequel to the Worship Architect (see above), this book deals specifically with music in worship.

Groundwork of Christian Worship

Susan J. White (Epworth Press, 1997) ISBN 978-0-716205104 Another book dealing with the structures of liturgy. 

O Sing unto the Lord: A History of English Church Music

Andrew Gant,  (London: Profile Books, 2015) ISBN 978 1 78125 247 5  This book takes the reader through the history of Anglican church music, mentioning the lives and stories of the musicians who lived through major change.  Musical examples and illustrations included.

Keeping Your Nerve!

Kate Jones – Faber Music ISBN 0-571-51922-9
This is the book to read to prepare for exams or a performance. This book is short, practical and very good value. It contains valuable tips from professional musicians. Available from music shops.

More Reading...

Our Links page lists organizations related to Church Music Dublin and other organizations with similar objectives. Websites providing a variety of resources of use to church musicians are listed on our Music Resources page. The Choral Services page provides details of services within the Dublin area where you can hear choral music.