• David Winkler

The Internet is a never-ending source of information, but I still appreciate having a well-stocked personal library.  Here are some "essential" titles I treasure relating to the classical music field and culture in general (next month, I will share a few more titles from my bookshelf):

How Should We Then Live? by Francis Schaeffer.  In this book, Schaeffer provides a sweeping view of Western history from a biblical worldview, from the time of the Romans up to the present (or at least until 1976, when the book was first published).  In his analysis, he shows the interrelation of philosophy, literature, art and music.  One thing it has helped me to understand is why "modern art" is often so strange and even absurd.

The Gift of Music - Great Composers and Their Influence, by Jane Stuart Mill and Betty Carlson. Two of Schaeffer's associates put together this book, which includes short biographies of over 40 classical composers, with commentary on each one, from a Christian worldview.

The Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers, by Patrick Kavanaugh.  Music history usually tends to overlook the religious views of the great composers, but here Kavanaugh delves into the lives of twelve music masters, with some surprising quotes revealing their faith in the Almighty.

Delius As I Knew Him, by Eric Fenby.  In the latter years of his life, Frederick Delius became blind and paralyzed.  Eric Fenby, a young musician, came to live with Delius and his wife, and helped the aging composer complete several more works before his death.  I can't say that Delius is one of my favorite composers, but the book offers some fascinating insights on the compositional process from one who observed it firsthand. Delius was a staunch unbeliever, and Fenby provides some pointed commentary contrasting Delius' character with his own beliefs as a Christian.  A film based on this book, titled Song of Summer, can be viewed on YouTube.

What are some of the books on your shelf that you value most? Write me and let me know!

  • David Winkler

The one drawback to being a faithful church member, music ministry volunteer, or leader is that you rarely get the opportunity to see what folks in other churches are doing.  It seems that almost everyone has Sunday morning services and Wednesday evening rehearsals, so in being faithful to one's own commitment, that doesn't allow time to visit and observe other ministries.

That's one reason why I enjoy attending music conferences.  In meeting together with musicians from other churches, one can greatly benefit from the sharing of ideas and experiences that such meetings afford. 

Conferences for instrumental church musicians are rather rare and far between, but here are a couple I would recommend:

TEXAS BAPTIST "INSTRUMENTAL CONVERGENCE" — this one-day clinic is put on each Spring by the music department of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.  The event provides an opportunity for church orchestra players to join together in a large reading session event, playing lots of great music as led by a featured clinician.  I've taken members of the church orchestra that I direct to the Convergence for the last three years, and it's proven to be an enjoyable time.  Clinicians have included Kenn Hughes, Richard Kingsmore, and Robert Sterling.

NORTH CAROLINA "RENEWING WORSHIP" EXPO — I will be the guest clinician for the "Orchestra Retreat" part of this event next month (Saturday, August 3) in Winston-Salem.  We'll spend the morning and afternoon playing through lots of great music.  Along the way, I'll be sharing tips on how to improve one's musicianship and be a better church orchestra member.  It's not too late to register if you would like to come!

I've also been the guest conductor in the past for similar events hosted by individual churches.  If you'd be interested in having me come to work with your orchestra, please contact me and I'd be glad to chat with you about it!

One final tip: if you are a director, you should know about the Metro Instrumental Directors Conference.  This group meets for a week each May, and also hosts an email group which is a very helpful source of information.  Please contact me for more information.

  • David Winkler

A section of my website I want to call attention to this month is called Articles About Instrumental Music. Here you'll find a collection of various articles I've written over the years, giving practical advice on many subjects of interest to directors and instrumentalists.  I hope that you will find something helpful on this page.

Are you familiar with The Instrumentalist magazine?  Though written for music educators (band and orchestra directors), the topics covered can be beneficial to those involved in church ministry as well. Highly recommended.

An excellent book published by Lifeway a few years back is titled The Instrumental Resource for Church and School.  The book is now out of print, but do a search on Amazon or other sites and you should be able to locate a copy.

A couple of older books I have in my library are: Instrumental Handbook, by Harold Pottenger, and

Orchestral Concepts in Today's Church, edited by Jere Adams and Gerald Armstrong.  Again, do a Google search and you should be able to find these.

What are some of your favorite resources for information and inspiration for your music ministry?  Write me and let me know!

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