One License and LicenSing Online Merge

As of January 1, 2017, these two principal providers of hymn and song licensing for mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic communities merged, retaining the One License name. What does this mean for Prelude Music Planner subscribers who reprint or project music covered by these licenses? Those who held only One License may have already noticed that more content is covered than before, especially from copyright holders like OCP Publications, whose works were previously only covered by LicenSing Online. Those who held both licenses will find it less complicated to report usage in one place rather than two.

As of March 17, 2017, LicenSing Online will be removed from the Prelude Music Planner Library Search area (under Copyright Licenses) and from the My Account area. The My Account area will populate the One License license number field with your One License account number or, if you held only LicenSing Online, the account number assigned by One License when the services merged. Remember that it is your administrator’s responsibility to keep your licenses in force and your license information up to date.

This is a good time for a reminder also about the need for One License account holders to report to One License every time you reprint or project a hymn/song element covered by One License. Prelude Music Planner does not “automatically” report for you. We are currently working with One License to improve the ease of reporting hymns and songs from Augsburg Fortress published worship books. It’s also important to remember that One License covers the reproduction only of materials intended for congregational singing (melody and singable harmony), and not the reproduction of choral/vocal music, keyboard/instrumental music, or hymn accompaniments that are not intended for singing.

Questions about copyrights? Sign up for our free, archived webinar “Churches and Copyright: How to Be a Weekend Publisher without Going to Prison”!

20 Time-Saving Tips for Church Musicians

Get organized. There is an old saying: “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Being organized will, indeed, save time and limit frustration.

Reduce! Clutter can be overwhelming, and its very presence can eat up a lot of time. Clean out your music library. Once you have chosen new music, throw away catalogs from publishers and distributors.

Reuse! Church members have their favorites—program these pieces again and again . . . and again. Once you’ve found a composer/arranger you like, look for more titles by that writer.

Recycle! Donate unwanted music to another (perhaps smaller) church.

Be prepared. Try to sustain a plan for 12 months out (general ideas only), 6 months out, 3 months out, and 1 month out (very clearly defined).

Keep records. Maintain an accurate list of all the music you use throughout the year (preludes and postludes, anthems, interludes, etc.). This will make it easier to plan next year’s selections.

Update your files. Keep current items most visible in your filing system, and keep both your actual desk and your computer desktop clean and clutter-free.

Know what you like. Prepare a tabbed notebook (or a PDF to load onto your tablet) of repertoire you like to play for weddings, funerals, and communion. (Be sure to observe applicable copyright laws!)

Use technology effectively. Don’t be a slave to technology; make it work for you. If necessary, take a computer or software training course.

Become a better web surfer. Bookmark sites you visit frequently, keep multiple tabs open when browsing, and perfect your ability to search (place titles in quotes, use the minus sign to eliminate certain words, etc.).

Plan online. Take advantage of online planning tools like Prelude Music Planner. Make use of publishers’ websites containing liturgical planning calendars, demo recordings, and repertoire suggestions.

Respect other people’s time. Begin and end rehearsals on time—always!

Have a rehearsal plan. Know your “plan of attack” before you walk into rehearsal. List the anthems you’ll rehearse, so choir members can get their music in order. Before moving to the next piece, make notes on your score so you’ll remember what to work on next time.

Think like a parent. Choose your battles. Remember that perfection is not a reasonable goal—growth and development are, though. Anticipate problems before they arise and come up with possible strategies for solving them.

Be wise. Build on past successes and learn from past mistakes.

Learn to say no. Busy people always make time for more projects, but being able to say, “I’m unable to take that on right now” is a great skill to have. Another good response is, “That’s an excellent idea. I don’t have time to do it by myself, but maybe you’d like to help!”

Delegate. Don’t take advantage of other people’s time, but remember volunteers love to help—allow them to share some of your load. If someone is good at data entry, ask her to be your librarian. If someone enjoys social events, ask him to be your party-planner. Instead of photocopying the last page of your prelude, enlist a middle-school student to be your page-turner for the day.

Don’t go it alone. Collaborate with pastors, staff, and church members who may have wonderful ideas you can use—a favorite anthem, a thematic idea for a program, or the name of a substitute musician. If a church member has a favorite piece of music, and they purchase copies for the church, use it!

Get away. Attend at least one conference a year. Church music conferences are held nationally and locally, so you may not have to travel far. You might think you’re too busy to attend a conference, but doing so promotes rejuvenation, networking, brainstorming, and refreshment. Consider National Conference for Sacred Music as well as the Augsburg Fortress Summer Music Clinics.

Redeem time. Benjamin Franklin, who was full of sage advice, once wrote, “Lost time is never found again.” When members of your praise team are running late for rehearsal, use that time to practice, to pray, or to take a nap!

What time-saving tips have you learned from your experience in music ministry? Share your comments below!

Tim Shaw

Timothy Shaw studied theology and music as an undergraduate and graduate student, and he has enjoyed a multi-faceted career as composer, college professor, music engraver, and church musician. He has presented workshops, academic papers, hymn festivals, and reading sessions at numerous conferences, churches, and universities throughout the United States. His publishers include Augsburg Fortress, Beckenhorst, Choristers Guild, Concordia, Hope, Kjos, MorningStar, and Shawnee.

Register today for the National Conference for Sacred Music!

Leading the Church’s Song

January 6–8, 2016

First United Methodist Church | Corpus Christi, Texas

Featuring David Cherwien, Eric Nelson, Susan Briehl, Heather Williams Potter, Jackson Henry, and Ed Rollins

National Conference for Sacred Music is a unique conference designed to provide the practicing church musician with fresh new ideas to help create a vital, growing music ministry. The emphasis of this conference is to provide a wide variety of new approaches to revitalize and reinvigorate the church’s passion for music in worship. Sessions will include the following:

  • New worship planning ideas for your congregation and choirs
  • Choral technique classes with an emphasis on deepening the spiritual experience for the choir member
  • Reading sessions featuring new publications from Augsburg Fortress, Hinshaw, and MorningStar Music
  • Sponsored by three different denominational groups: the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, and the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts
  • Workshops for working with children
  • Handbells
  • Morning worship creatively crafted by Susan Briehl

Register now at

Eric Vollen

Eric Vollen is the Marketing Manager for Worship, Music and Congregational Life at Augsburg Fortress, and leads a youth choir at Grace University Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. He lives in St. Paul’s Highland Park.

How do I get my 20% Prelude discount when ordering music through

As you’re probably well aware, Prelude subscribers receive 20% off print music published by Augsburg Fortress (does not apply to hymnals and other core worship resources). But how does this work when ordering music online at

Your Prelude Subscription Number works like a promotion code. What is my Prelude Subscription Number, you ask? In Prelude Music Planner, go to the Account area, click Account Information, and locate your Subscription Number. (Your Subscription Number begins with the letters SBW, followed by a 7-digit number; e.g., SBW0123456.)

When placing your order online through, your Subscription Number works like a promotion code, so just before you check out, enter your Subscription Number in the promo code area, and your 20% discount will apply to qualifying items.

Eric Vollen

Eric Vollen is the Marketing Manager for Worship, Music and Congregational Life at Augsburg Fortress, and leads a youth choir at Grace University Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. He lives in St. Paul’s Highland Park.

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

“A[nother] biblical quotation about children is the “a little child shall lead them” in Isaiah’s vision of the peaceful kingdom (Isaiah11:6). When considering the practical aspects of children in worship, it is wise to ask how children can lead.

Beyond singing an anthem, children can lead verses of a psalm, sing a stanza of a hymn, or sing the leader parts to parts of the liturgy such as the Kyrie. In fact, children can sometimes be the most effective teacher of new music. When children teach a new hymn, for example, the assembly will often join them, encouraged by their ability.”

From Worship Formation & Liturgical Resources: Frequently Asked Questions – How do we involve children in worship? Copyright © 2013 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

A church choir can and should be seen primarily as a leader in worship. Children’s and youth choirs should share in that responsibility when they sing for services. Too many times, they sing their anthem for the day and they’re done for the remainder of the service…often getting into mischief, I might add.

There are many opportunities during the liturgy of a service when children can take on the role as leader: have them sing the call to worship (gathering) or the psalmody or gospel acclamation of the day.

Also, children can add to the musical effects of the day’s hymnody by singing a descant with the adult choir, by randomly ringing handbells, or by being assigned to play appropriate percussion instruments on the final stanza of hymns.

Prelude can help you to find music that is appropriate for all of these times.

Mark Sperle-Weiler

Mark Sperle-Weiler works at Augsburg Fortress as Senior Project Manager--Music in the Worship and Music Department, with many years of experience as an instrumentalist and choral leader.

Music Sourcebook for Lent and the Three Days

In 2006, with the publication of Evangelical Lutheran Worship, a trajectory of worship renewal that had begun generations earlier and had already become quite clear with Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) continues. Among the primary markers of this path are a renewed emphasis on the sacraments in general and baptism in particular; encouragement of shared leadership in worship, including prominent roles for laypeople; the recognition that music in worship—and especially song—needs to belong at heart to the worshiping assembly; and a recovery of the Three Days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter as the very center of the church’s year. These last two points, particularly, find expression in this collection of music for Lent and the Three Days.

The core of this collection resulted from a gathering of composers in the summer of 2008. They were charged with writing music specifically for the liturgies as set out in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, using, in most cases, the texts that are there. The pieces were to have assembly involvement. The musical styles were left up to the composers (and range from chant to blues), but they needed to be accessible. The results are on display within these covers. Even though the pieces were written for the Evangelical Lutheran Worship services, they promise to prove useful also in the worship of other churches and faith traditions, especially those that are also celebrating or rediscovering the riches of the liturgies at the heart of the year. Supplementing the newly written pieces are some previously composed ones that seemed well suited to use in these services.

This book is a companion piece to a helpful planning resource for these same times, the Worship Guidebook for Lent and the Three Days (Augsburg Fortress 2009). There may be found the texts of the services surrounded by commentary on how these services can be brought to life in a wide variety of worshiping communities. Included in the notes are many suggestions for musical leadership of these services, with frequent references to the contents of this Music Sourcebook.

An essential resource for music planning, content from Music Sourcebook for Lent and the Three Days (Augsburg Fortress, 2010) is available for instant download in the Prelude library.

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Blessings to you and your music ministry during this time and throughout the year.

Mark Jensen

Mark Jensen is Worship and Music Support Specialist at Augsburg Fortress and is a member of Grace University Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, MN. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and lives in St. Paul.