Lead More Skillfully: MA in Church Music

Carl Conrad wanted to learn more about the Lord as well as music.

“I needed more theology to prepare me for future ministry,” said Conrad, a 2011 Maranatha graduate who will enroll this fall in Maranatha Baptist Seminary’s new Master of Arts in Church Music degree program.

“I am thankful that the Lord led me to work toward this degree,” Conrad said. “I am learning a lot right now that I will need for future music ministry in the local church.”

The Higher Learning Commission has extended Maranatha Baptist Seminary’s accreditation to its newest graduate degree program, and the first students will be admitted this fall.

“We’re very excited for the opportunity to mentor fellow believers in an area of ministry that needs this type of program,” Music Department Associate Professor Dr. Michelle Clater (right)  said.

The Seminary now offers six degree programs. The others are master’s degrees in Biblical Studies, Biblical Counseling, Cross Cultural Studies, English Bible, and the Master of Divinity degree.

“We hope this will be a very helpful program, especially for people who are already in ministries and want to become more effective at those ministries without having to leave them,” Music Department Chair Dr. David Ledgerwood said.

The 34-credit hour Church Music program includes 27 hours that can be completed online. The other seven hours, primarily conducting courses, can be earned during a series of three one-week modules on campus. Students can complete the program in as little as two years.

Ledgerwood, Clater, and Dr. David Brown will be the primary resident faculty members teaching in the program, although expert adjunct faculty will be added. Dr. Russ Shelley, Chair of the Department of Music at Juniata College (PA), will teach Children’s Ministries.

Clater said the course content will emphasize the practical aspects of music ministry.

“This degree will be academically challenging, but it will be as practical as we can make it,” Clater said.

“Anybody involved in church ministry will be able to profit from the classes on conducting, from learning how to properly interpret pieces, and from learning more about the hymns we sing in conservative churches and the people who wrote them,” Ledgerwood said.