Practical education for the church musician
What does the parish music program need in today's changing world?
How can those needs be met without a music degree or large
What We Do
Unique in the industry, we are a private
and independent music institute based in Columbus, Ohio offering local and online education:
+Voice lessons +Organ lessons +Cantor lessons
+Conducting lessons +Sacred music courses, skills and mentoring
+Certification tracks for Music Director, Choir Director, Organist, or Cantor
The Sacred Music Institute of America was developed by Dr. Jason Keefer, DMA, Director and Assistant Professor of Sacred Music at the Pontifical College Josephinum; Organ
Artist-in-Residence at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Upper Arlington,Ohio;
and member of the American Guild of Organists Columbus Chapter. Through experience working with priests, ministers, seminarians, music directors, and organists, he recognized a need for competent musicians and quality sacred music in every church.
Dr. Keefer's mission was born shortly after he began working at St. Vincent College and Seminary and intensified during his time at the Josephinum. Through working with cantors and ensembles (choir and schola) during "lean" years with fewer or less-skilled members, Dr. Keefer identified excellent music composed on every level. This suggested it was possible to have a dignified, quality program in any church.
Many part-time and some full-time church music directors do not have a degree in music, organ training, vocal training, knowledge of the Catholic Sacred Music Documents, or understanding of the many resources that can aid them in implementing a quality program. According to Dr. Keefer, unless an individual in this situation sets out to pursue his or her own study, there is usually no way for comprehensive development. Often, the cost of formalized academic study is an impediment.
The Sacred Music Institute of America aims to bridge this gap in a comprehensive, practical, and functional way.
What a current student has to say...
"I learned to play the piano and sing at a very young age. I always wanted to be a professional musician. I pursued another profession and began cantoring as an adult. Suddenly, I fell in love again with what was once only a dream. I began transitioning from playing the piano to the organ in 2017 by taking lessons from Dr. Jason Keefer. His expertise, passion for teaching, and practical approaches have allowed me to play the organ at church while beginning my second year as a church music director."
Registration for summer classes is now open!
History of Sacred Music
The History of Sacred Music course provides a survey of the historical role of music in worship from its roots in the Old Testament to the present day. Landmark repertoire will be explored within the framework of turning-points in ecclesiastical history. While the class will focus primarily on Christian music in the western world, cross-cultural influences will also be explored. This is a ten week course comprised of weekly lectures, readings, and music listening assignments; students are also required to participate in a minimum of 3 online discussions and will be evaluated through midterm and final examinations.
Beyond the Notes:
A Trilogy Class on Putting Sacred Music in Action
This three-part class provides guidance to sacred musicians on the extra-musical skills needed to thrive professionally.
Sacred Music Resources and Planning: Selecting and scheduling appropriate music for the entire liturgical year
Understanding Denominations: An overview of musical traditions and needs among various Christian denominations
Interpersonal Skills: Working with clergy, staff, and volunteers