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Lead in Ministry Through Music

A Director of Parish Music (DPM) is a called and commissioned musician prepared for team ministry in a congregation. As a DPM, you’ll often help to plan a vibrant worship life with the pastor(s), and are usually responsible for other programs in the congregation that relate to music. You may lead from an organ, piano, or guitar as conductor, teacher, or in various other ways, and you’ll lead in various styles and formats. You may also become involved in other areas of ministry within the day-to-day ministry of the church. The Director of Parish Music Program equips leaders for ministry who are passionate about the Gospel and the role music and worship can have in sharing the good news of Jesus.

Program Distinctives

  • Director of Parish Music Minor
  • Whether it be in a traditional or modern musical style, prepare for your career in church music with our award-winning music and theology faculties.
  • Take advantage of our summer internship program, which offers real-world church music experiences in Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) churches around the country.
  • Enjoy our several concert-quality instruments by Steinway, as well as pipe organs by Casavant, Schlicker, and Goetz. We regularly offer masterclasses and solo performances by first-rate performers and educators in the field.
  • The state-of-the art Borland-Manske Center, which features teaching studios, rehearsal halls, student lounges, a 1700 sq. ft. state-of-the-art recording studio (featuring a a Rupert Neve 32 channel 5088 console), 22 practice rooms outfitted with various instruments, including pianos, drums, an electric organ and a harpsichord.
  • Concordia's ensembles tour the world, play in major venues such as Irvine’s Segerstrom Concert Hall and produce an annual, nationally televised PBS special.

DPM Program Requirements

  1. General Education (54-55 units)
    • Normally completed during the first two years of attendance. The student may, if placed by examination, substitute MUS 201 in the Music major for the MUS 101 Fine Arts option in general education.
  2. Major Requirements: Church Music Major (54-56 units)
  3. Christ College Certificate Requirements (21 units)
  4. Additional DPM Program Requirements: (7 units)
    • MUS 391: Practicum: Church Music (1 unit)
    • MUS 491/492: Senior Field Work in Church Music (6 units)
    • Students must demonstrate the following skills before graduation:
      • MUKP 202 (if piano is not the primary instrument) or MUKO 102: Keyboard Improvisation
      • MUVO 100: Voice Class (1-2 units) or MUVO 101: Private Lessons: Voice (1-2 units)

Current students, please note: The requirements listed here may not reflect the most current courses for this program and may not be the requirements for the catalog year you are following to complete your program. Please refer to the Academic Catalog for official requirements you must meet to qualify for a degree.

Alumni Success

  • Logan Werner

    Director of Parish Music (DPM): Logan Werner ’25

    By Logan Werner '25

    I was raised in the Lutheran school system in Wisconsin, growing up around the school where my mom served as a teacher. My high school music director shaped the way I view music in the church and demonstrated how music can help people. I have been involved in worship music since 6th grade and continue to participate in worship at Concordia through Shout, Worship Band, Choir, and just about any other musical opportunity to praise the Lord! When I become a Director of Parish Music (DPM), I will strive to cultivate a community that encourages open and authentic worship in a biblically sound way that exudes Christ’s love.

  • Brandon Li

    Director of Parish Music (DPM): Brandon Li ’18

    By Brandon Lee ’18

    Concordia University Irvine gave me a lot of practical experience leading music in worship. There were so many worship services to participate in: chapel, student-led services, retreats, and smaller group events. Our professors were intentional about placing us in local church environments as well. One church might be small, another large with lots of technology. We even led worship for thousands in a stadium for the National Youth Gathering.

  • Christian playing the piano

    DPM Alumnus Profile: Christian Guebert

    As a child I attended church, but I never dreamed I would work at one! At heart, I am a composer and I always have seen myself writing music.

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