What does a church musician do?
The church musician (kirkemusiker) is most widely known as the organist, the person who plays the organ during the church service on Sundays. This description, however, rarely suffices. Most church musicians play the organ or the piano at different services and activities during the week. But their responsibilities also include organising concerts, leading one or more choirs, cooperating with church musicians from neighbouring parishes, hymn singing with babies and their parents, etc.
How do you become a church musician?
Church musicians study at one of the country’s three Church Music Schools or at The Royal Academy of Music in either Aarhus/Aalborg or Copenhagen. In addition to training in organ-playing the Church Music Schools offer courses in music theory, singing, etc. The Academy allows for a specialisation in church music, including for example playing the organ and conducting a choir. Some younger students use the Preliminary Organ Exam at the Church Music Schools as a preparation for the Academy.
Traditionally, classical music has been prevalent in church. However, today rhythmic music is gaining ground and many churches use a variety of different music styles as well as both hymns and songs during the church service.
Cantors and church choirs
Some churches have a church choir and others have a cantor to lead the hymn singing during the church service. As the organist is responsible for the music in the church, s/he works closely together with both groups.