Assist our Song: Music Ministries in the Local Church (St Andrew Press), Douglas Galbraith


The book explores the tasks and responsibilities of musicians, clergy and congregations at this time of stretched resources and often bewildering choices. It is both manifesto (calling for new strategies and energy to match new demands) and manual (making things work with what we’ve got). The many examples draw on the experience of several denominations across the nation.

The book explores:

  • the nature of worship and what music contributes
  • the many forms and idioms of music and their origins
  • the choice of music for worship
  • the various ‘ministries of music’: organists, choir trainers, band leaders, but also congregations, clergy and local councils – their tasks and duties, and the skills they need
  • related issues: when a musician’s faith falters, the maintenance of relationships, making music safely, using technology well, telling good music from the unworthy
  • other resources and supports (appendices)

The author says: ‘This book is not the product of one voice but is a whole echoing acoustic of many different voices – music directors and inspiring players, expert tutors in organ workshops, insightful writers of articles breaking new ground, and the many visionary people I have met through the years of working with RSCM, SCOTS (Scottish Churches Organist Training Scheme) and other bodies.’

The book is a wise, comprehensive, invaluable – and very timely publication, which everyone involved in church music should read. (Console)

 There are few worshippers – clergy, music leaders, instrumentalists, choir, congregation – who would not enjoy as well as benefit from reading this enlightening book.’ (Church Music Quarterly)

This practical handbook should be on the shelves of everyone who has an interest in leading the music which contributes to worship. Indeed, even better if relevant sections of the book could be placed in the hands of all those busy people who influence what goes on in churches and in wider society. (Hymn Society Bulletin)

Cost £19.99 but the St Andrew Press website is currently offering copies for £15. There is also an e-book version.