Prelude Blog

Andrea Baxter

Andrea Baxter currently serves as the Director for Worship Renewal at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lansdale, PA, where she has oversight of the graded children’s music program that she has built, and directs youth and adult choirs in addition to planning worship for Trinity’s three weekly services. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Susquehanna University and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Carnegie Mellon University. She is on the faculty of the Choristers Guild Institute (CGI), a three-year certification for children’s choir directors, and she has served as a curriculum writer for Growing in Grace, a scripture-based music curriculum for children’s choirs. Andrea resides in Lansdale, PA with her husband and their three sons.

Recent Posts

Routine Relieves Anxiety

Posted on Sep 16, 2021 9:00:00 AM by Andrea Baxter in Music Ministry, in COVID-19, in Coronavirus, in music

One year, I went to a workshop led by the guru of all things having to do with children’s choirs in the church, Helen Kemp. Helen said something simple that rocked my world that year. She said, “Routine relieves anxiety.” In fact, she had a big, beautiful poster with those words that I can still see in my mind’s eye. Helen already knew what I would soon learn and put into practice. When children know what to expect—when they know that the routine of the rehearsal will include things like sitting in a seat labeled with their name; a sung, responsive roll call; a warm-up; a hymn; anthems; then a closing prayer, for example—they come to rehearsal without fear of the unknown. This healthy, predictable environment provides a safe place to be open and learn.

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The Piano as Song Enlivener

Posted on May 20, 2021 9:00:00 AM by Andrea Baxter in Music Ministry, in music

As a pianist who is not an organist, I sometimes lament the inability to aid the assembly’s song with sustained sound. After all, the attack of a hymn’s final chord is immediately followed by a decay, or dying away, of the sound on the piano. My experience has been that congregations often follow that lead and pull back with their voices, rather than hold on to a final chord with gusto.

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The Contemporary/Traditional Divide

Posted on Nov 3, 2020 8:52:58 AM by Andrea Baxter in Music Ministry

The contemporary/traditional dichotomy that came to exist in the last few decades of the 20th century has caused discomfort and even emotional pain among many worshipers, church musicians, and pastors alike. The effects of these “worship wars”—as they came to be known—will likely last for decades to come. Much has been written about this topic, but perhaps examining it under the lens of social capital—the shared values that enable groups to trust each other—can provide some insight into how to move beyond the dichotomy.

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Intergenerational Choral Opportunities and Faith Formation

Posted on Mar 10, 2020 12:38:35 PM by Andrea Baxter in Music Ministry

When someone asks me about the benefits of intergenerational choral experiences in the church, I think of Thomas, a college student majoring in music. Throughout his childhood and youth, he benefited from a variety of musical experiences at church, including singing in the children’s and youth choirs, and, as he grew, performing as an instrumentalist. He also participated in intergenerational choirs several times per year. As a child, he heard harmony around him for the first time. When his voice changed, he gained vocal confidence because he was able to sit among strong, adult male voices. Because the combination of choirs meant increased numbers of singers and the vocal security that brings, the anthem could be a bit more musically challenging.

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