History and Practice of Congregational Song – WRSP 820

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 09/05/2023

Course Description

A comprehensive survey of the practice and materials related to congregational singing in the church from Biblical times to today. Special emphasis is given to key authors, composers, and hymn/song compilers and their songs.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


The historical study and understanding of church music develop the necessary understanding of music production produced and incorporated in congregational settings. Additionally, the development of doctrinal and theological elements in music are required precipices for effective congregational leadership. This course studies the music, composers, writers, and church utilization of music from the early church until modern times. This historical church music study clarifies the usability of music as a tool for teaching, training, evangelizing, edifying, encouraging, and promoting the local church.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and Lecture Presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (4)

Discussions are a collaborative learning experience. Therefore, the student must provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be 250-300 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. At least 1 citation in the current Turabian format is required in each thread, or 1 biblical reference/principle must be integrated. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 150–200 words and include at least 1 citation, or biblical reference/principle in the current Turabian format.

Research Learning Assignments (2)

The student will study specific historical musical figures or church movements considering the influence and impact on church music history in two specified weeks of this modular study. These projects will give perspective to the importance of each historical figure or church movement to understand the impact of these practices or musical development in congregational worship or church performance from these specific people or movements. The student will choose a specific topic or person from a given list in each of the two research/writing assignments and consider the methodological congregational impact or church music performance practice inspired. Each of these projects will require 8-10 pages of written research. This assignment must utilize the current Turabian format and includes documentation from a minimum of 6 or more resources. Acceptable sources include scholarly academic resources, textbooks from this course, and the Bible.

Capstone Learning Project: Annotated Bibliography Assignment

This is in preparation for the Capstone Project. The student will provide a list of 8-10 or more resources sufficient for use with a well-crafted bibliography in the current Turabian format. For each resource, the student will explain the usability of each resource in at least 3 sentences.

Capstone Learning Project: Research Assignment

The student will write a research paper covering each of the 8 weeks periodically using church music history to explain the biblical, historical, doctrinal, theological, and philosophical, and musical significance of each period's contributions to music in congregational worship. This project should be 18-20 pages in length, including 18-20 scholarly sources, and utilize current Turabian formatting. For this project, the student may use gained research from the previous projects in this class to enhance the research for this final project.

Music History Fact Sheet Assignments (8)

The student will create a weekly bullet-point fact sheet condensed and compiled into 1 or 2 pages considering a timeline of historical musical influences studied in each module. Specifically, the student will express their opinion of what church music historical practices or creations were instrumental in bringing change or new musical/stylistic practices to congregational worship practices or religious performance.

Music History PowerPoint Presentation Assignment

Utilizing the "Music History Fact Sheets," you will create a PowerPoint presentation that compiles each week's fact sheet information into a usable PowerPoint project for effective learning and instruction. You are to share your perspectives on what was gained and deemed significant changes from each specified module studied in church music history in this course.