A artistic – Beauty is the first priority, Make Beautiful Music

G genuine – The music selections should be helpful to your unique congregation

A authentic – Be true to your Church history, reproduce the essential features of your denomination’s music, know your congregation’s listening history (what music do they know, what music styles are they familiar with)

P purposeful – Wed the Music to the Rite: timing, feeling/emotion, i.e. film scoring, cover ambient noise

E evangelizing – spread the Gospel through music


The above is my paraphrasing of a presentation given by Dr. Peter Latona in Omaha in January, 2017.  He used the AGAPE acrostic as a way to illustrate the main considerations for developing a music ministry for worship.

In addition, Dr. Latona provided instruction on how to develop improvisation skills. Improvisation plays a large role in what I do at Mass, so I especially enjoyed the techniques that he proposed.

  1. base improvs on repertoire styles – collect excerpts from myriad composers in a notebook (Dupre, Tournemire, Langlais, Copland, etc), and then choose a style to imitate – have an improv plan
  2. add harmonic color: add one accidental at a time in order
  3. Improvise on the music at Mass – motets, psalms
  4. Don’t overuse the Pedal or the Celeste – improvise without the pedal, vary what stops you use