Carol Doran, D.M.A

New Approaches to the Art and Craft of Pastoral Music.

I am professional musician, organist, composer, writer, speaker, professor, wife, mother, grandmother and educator who has been exploring the field of Pastoral Music for the past 40 years.

Learn about what I do


Music by Heart

(For worship leaders and singers of all ages.) Those taking part in this highly participatory musical workshop will be introduced to a variety of interesting, musically rich, new and old songs that are easily learned and sung by people of all ages without reference to printed copies of music. We will learn approaches to teaching and using such music in both worship and the informal life of the church. The take-home packet will include an introductory collection of songs used in the workshop and information about additional published collections for use by worship leaders.

The Pastoral Art of Accompanying Congregational Singing

When congregations of any size are moved to claim their singing voices, new possibilities for revitalized worship naturally emerge. This workshop is for musicians who want to learn ways to build creatively on printed accompaniments to lead congregational singing more effectively. A variety of musical styles will be used in this workshop.

Working Confidently with Music and Musicians

(For pastors and seminarians.) Music is a means of building congregations and transforming lives. Pastors who want to discover how to make music an effective part of their ministry will find here the path to developing the professional skills they need. In this clergy- and seminarian-only workshop, we will explore the step-by-step building of the professional skills, resources and relationships that you know you need, but until now, have had no way to acquire.


The focus and scope of consultations are worked out on an individual basis.
Among topics on which such consultations might concentrate are:

Approaches to Collaborative Liturgical Planning

· Recognizing the benefits of worship planning that uses the expertise of pastor, musician, and dedicated members of the congregation
· Considering ways in which the areas of knowledge and experience of all planners combine to enrich the process
· Planning a process that gradually will build trust among the participants
· Practicing collaborative planning for an upcoming liturgical occasion

Professional Preparation for Pastoral Musicians

Realistic consideration of the skills needed by musicians serving Christian congregations in our time, including:
· Fluency in spoken and written communications
· Approaches to seeking grants and increasing the music budget
· Attracting new members to the choir program
· Developing skill in leading music in a variety of styles
· Managing copyright and licensing requirements
· Opportunities made possible through the internet and music software

Teaching New Music to the Congregation

Teaching new music to the congregation is a process that differs from teaching new music to the choir. This fundamentally important skill enables an effective pastoral musician to open the congregation's mind and heart to new music, and in so doing, to enable healthy singing in church.


Carol Doran is an independent scholar and teacher who has served as (tenured) Professor of Music and Liturgy and Seminary Organist at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, and at Bexley Hall in Rochester New York. She developed the Music Tutorial Program at Virginia to provide seminarians with basic music reading skills to enable their work as worship planners and leaders. She also has taught at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and the Association of Chicago Theological Schools' Doctor of Ministry in Preaching Program.

Dr. Doran is a well-known speaker and presenter of workshops in Church Music. She has been President of the Association of Anglican Musicians twice, and has served on the boards of many other professional organizations of musicians and liturgists. She initiated and oversaw development of the Master of Divinity in Pastoral Music Program (in cooperation with the Eastman School of Music) at Bexley Hall and for many years was responsible for shepherding that seminary's ecumenical program of daily worship.

Dr. Doran served on the faculty and the Board of the Leadership Program for Musicians Serving Small Congregation from its inception until 2004. She has published numerous articles on church music and worship and has collaborated with the Rev. Dr. Thomas H. Troeger in the publication of four books, including two hymnals published by Oxford University Press. In July, 2005, she received the Jubilate Deo Award from the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.

Her work currently is centered in developing a program of formation for clergy and seminarians that recognizes and strengthens their innate musical abilities for use in building up individual congregations.

Publications (Selected)

New Hymns for the Lectionary: To Glorify the Maker's Name

(co-authored with Thomas H. Troeger) Oxford University Press. © 1985
Fifty-two new hymns with music.

New Hymns for the Life of the Church: To Make Our Prayer and Music One

(co-authored with Thomas H. Troeger) Oxford University Press. © 1992
Twenty five new hymns with music.

Other Publications

2014 (forthcoming) article, "The Teaching of Hymnody”: for The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology, to be published online; Sam Young, American editor.

2012 Book review for Pastoral Music of Resonant Witness: Conversations between Music and Theology (edited by Jeremy Begbie and Steven Guthrie.)

1995 "With Pipes of Tin and Wood Make Known" (a hymn-anthem with text by Thomas H. Troeger based on the tune WILHELM) published by Oxford University Press.