The Catholic Music Director Handbook – A Street Smart Survival Guide

MLJ Music


Catholic Music Director Handbook

The Catholic Music Director Handbook – A Street Smart Survival Guide

I have just released a book on Kindle and print on demand. It is called The Catholic Music Director Handbook – A Street Smart Survival Guide. It is about how to handle the everyday happenings of working in the Church and how to be effective in your ministry. Please check it out and leave a review if possible. Thanks!

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The Catholic Music Directors Handbook – how it began.

Twenty seven years is a long time. I write this and it is hard to conceive that in 1990 I was a fresh faced kid just starting out as an accompanist in St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Leesburg, Florida. From there, my path continued to being a Catholic Music Director at churches in the Diocese of Orlando as well as a Director of Music and Liturgy. I have and still enjoy the work I do. It is a privilege to serve God in his Church and the people with your gifts. Music is also a calling and a lifelong commitment. I am extremely fortunate to be able to do what I love every day for my work. Some musicians gain wealth and fame, but most of us do not. In order to support yourself and your family, many skills are needed.

A Street Smart Survival Guide for a Catholic Music Director

Working as Catholic Music Director is not always a smooth path. Like any job and field there are challenges. As you progress, you learn and get more insights of what goes on and how to best fulfill your duties in the most efficient way possible. Ultimately, you find that at the center of everything is your relationships to others. In the Church world this means the staff, volunteers and your parishioners. So, how do you treat everyone? After all this time, I have found the words of our Lord to be best guide (big surprise, eh?).

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets. – Matthew 7:12

Unfortunately, this is what they don’t teach you at school. You find out pretty quickly that you need the help of others if you are to be successful. If you can’t get along with people and get them on board, it is game over. That is the cornerstone. Relationships. Threats and guilt do not work. Eventually your house built on the sand will collapse. It will just be a matter of time. So, Music Directors, what can we do? Below is from the introduction of The Catholic Music Director Handbook – A Street Smart Survival Guide.

Why did I write this book?

The purpose of this manual is to give Music/Liturgy Directors, Music Directors, and group leaders some practical skills that they do not teach you in college or no one will tell you about. This book is more about what goes on OUTSIDE of the music. Although my experience has been mostly in a Catholic setting, these tips can apply anywhere. As you will readily see, I am not really concerned about the “perfect choir or blend.” Our work is to be done to the best of our ability and the abilities of the team we have. Patience, persistence, an environment of support and challenge will make any ministry grow. And yes, it is up to you. It’s your fault – for the good or bad. That’s what being a leader is about – responsibility. My wish is that this manual will encourage and challenge you to be your best and do what is best for your Lord and his Church, not your ego or for praise.

What this book is not about

This is not a book about vocal technique, conducting, Catholic theology or specific playing skills. There are great resources for that information elsewhere. Think of this book as the street guide instead of the classroom guide. Topics discussed here are from my experiences and stupid mistakes that I hope you can avoid by reading this.

Who is Jon Sarta? Why should we care?

I am a Catholic Christian and Professional musician (CFMA Local 389). My experience is currently as a Music Director, Director of Music and Liturgy, Singer, Composer, Recording Artist, Performer, Author, Website Developer and Recording Studio owner.

My educational background: BA, MA, and post-Graduate studies at Berklee College of Music.

I have worked full time doing only music since the age of 25. Although most of my career has been at Catholic Churches, I have also been an on-call Musician at Walt Disney World since 1989 and am active in the recording world as an Artist (Just Google my name or MLJ Music). I have had experience in bands-rock, jazz, show bands, Kids of the Kingdom at Disney World. I have 36 released recording of Catholic Music,
Boogie Woogie, Disney Music and other piano instrumental music and videos as well.