This award is designed particularly to encourage and assist those with responsibility for public worship in all Christian denominations. It is open to any current member of the Guild who has, or who seeks, responsibility for animating and presiding at public worship within the Church.
This syllabus is effective from 1st October 2013. The examinations leading to this award are open to all those current members of the Guild who have, or who seek, responsibility for leading public worship within the Christian church.
The award encourages candidates to improve their skills in planning and leading public worship within the Christian denomination to which they belong. The programme aims to develop a greater knowledge and appreciation of the form and structure of worship in the candidate’s church, and greater awareness of the role and effectiveness of the spoken word and of music in worship. The programme also aims to develop practical skills essential to the art of liturgical presidency, and to enable candidates to evaluate critically their role in leading worship, and to encourage self-development.
Holders of the ACertPW award will have demonstrated
This award is at level 4 (comparable to the standard expected at the end of the first year of a tertiary course of study) in the national framework of qualifications.
The credit weightings for each section of the examination are:
These weightings reflect the proportionate amount of time which successful candidates might be expected to spend on each section of the award.
All candidates for this award must be current members of The Guild of Church Musicians.
Application forms are available for download from the Guild’s website, and from the Examinations Secretary, and must be returned with the appropriate fee by 31st January prior to the examination.
Parts A, B, C, D1 and D2 are each marked out of 100. Candidates must achieve the pass mark (60%) in each of these sectors. Candidates who fail in one or more Parts are entitled to retake or re-submit those requirements and satisfy the examiners within four years of their first submission in that Part of the examination. Part B (the Practical examination), if failed, may not be re-taken within three months of the previous examination.
Candidates may opt to take the Parts over more than one year, but must apply or re-apply by 31st January in the year of taking any one or more Parts.
The Academic Board of The Guild of Church Musicians reserves the right to refuse or cancel the entry of any candidate for the Certificate without assigning a reason.
Candidates are strongly advised to consult the Guidelines which are published separately.
Students will be required to attend a course held at an appropriate centre over two days. They may be resident or non-resident at their choice (the course fee will cover the cost of tuition and food during the course). The course will include introductions to liturgical theology and history, liturgical presidency, the role of music in worship, available resources for those with responsibility for worship, and the identification of skills needed to be an effective animator of worship, with some voice training (both singing and speech).
Candidates are required to present a Portfolio or Project File on the place of liturgy and music within the worship of their church. This substantial dossier should take the form of a critical commentary on and analysis of a period within the worshipping life of the church, normally of at least six months including the span from Advent Sunday to Pentecost inclusive.
In years when Pentecost falls less than six months after Advent Sunday, candidates may choose to extend their coverage before Advent Sunday or after Pentecost (or both) in order to achieve the necessary period of at least six months.
Candidates who during this period worship regularly or lead the worship at more than one church or chapel may base their submissions on their experiences at all such places.
The content and presentation of the portfolio should reflect an understanding of the content, context and general effectiveness of successive and varied acts of worship in the selected church or churches.
While the organisation of content is left to the candidate's discretion, the portfolio should include the following:
The portfolio should also contain a diary of events, including coverage of special occasions, supplemented by reports of relevant meetings (as of a worship/liturgy committee) over the designated six-month period.
Portfolios must be submitted by ten days before the date of the Part C (Viva Voce) examination, or 30th June, whichever is the earlier, in the year of the examination. The Examinations Secretary will notify candidates of the address to which they should be sent. They will be returned to the candidate at the conclusion of the Viva Voce examination.
Candidates must demonstrate a grasp of the art of liturgical presidency, i.e. the necessary qualities of leadership, personality, communication and public speaking skills.
They must show their familiarity with the liturgy and other attributes commensurate with the role of one who plans and leads public worship. They must demonstrate awareness of the basic musical skills required in planning and leading public worship, together with a developed understanding of how music can enrich the liturgy.
The examination will test the ability of the candidate to :
The examination, which will normally be in a public context, will last for up to one hour, and will include the following practical tests:
Items (*) chosen must be submitted to the Examinations Secretary not later than four weeks before the date of the examination for approval. Copies of these and of the orders of service (**) must be provided for the examiner on the day of the examination.
40 further marks will be available for ancillary skills, judged over the complete suite of tasks above, as follows :
The examination will normally take place between 14th June and 30th September, in the candidate’s own church or in one nominated by the candidate, and will usually be combined with the Viva Voce examination (see Part C below).
Candidates should be prepared to discuss with the examiner issues arising directly from the Portfolio/Project File (Part A) and the Practical examination (Part B). They should be able to converse with a level of understanding, commensurate with the role of a good observer and practitioner, about a wide range of issues relating to the worship and musical life of the church and its community, and their role within it.
The Viva Voce examination is normally combined with the Practical Examination (Part B), and lasts about thirty minutes. It will be conducted in private.
Some topics which might be discussed are:
Candidates will submit two essays, one on Christian worship (D1) and one on Church Music (D2). ). Essay titles are set by the Academic Board and will be available from the Examinations Secretary from 1st July preceding the year of examination. They will also be published in the Year Book, on the website, and in the Guild’s magazine Laudate.
Each essay should be between 2,000 and 3,000 words in length (excluding footnotes and bibliography). Essays should demonstrate that the candidate has undertaken appropriate study and research into primary sources (e.g. the texts of services of worship and/or music scores), and has considered comments by noted and relevant scholars. Full reference details for all passages quoted or referred to must be given in footnotes or endnotes. A bibliography, and if appropriate, a discography, must be supplied at the end of the essay. Completed essays must reach the Examinations’ Secretary by 30th June in the year of submission. The two essays may be attempted in the same year, or in different years, as the candidate wishes.
This part of the syllabus gives candidates opportunity to explore the liturgical and worship customs of their own denomination, (and indeed those of other denominations). Candidates should, however, demonstrate deep familiarity with the patterns and structures of worship in their own tradition, and the use of music that is a part of that tradition.
While it is important that candidates understand present-day practices and liturgical forms (and the reasons for them), it is also important that this be grounded in:
Candidates must obtain the pass mark in each essay separately. Candidates who fail to achieve the pass mark in one of the essays will be required to submit an essay in that area only, should they decide to re-enter, according to the requirements for the year in which they re-enter.
Successful essays will demand significant reading and research. They will also need to be related to the practices of worship and church music with which the candidate is most familiar.
The list of current fees for the examinations is published separately, and may be obtained from the Examinations Secretary. Examination procedures The Guild reserves the right for examinations to be conducted by one or more examiners for the purposes of moderation or training. Examination dates, once confirmed, cannot be altered. A candidate who is unable to attend because of medical or compassionate reasons may apply for a partial refund. Such application should be made in writing to reach the Examinations Secretary no later than 14 days following the examination, accompanied if necessary by a medical certificate. Verbal notice of withdrawal given to an examiner at the venue is insufficient. The level of any refund will depend on the circumstances in each case; no refund will be offered if notice is received too late to avoid the examiner(s) travelling to the venue. Any re-entry for examination following such circumstances, whether or not a refund is offered, must be made separately at the full fee prevailing at the date of re-entry. An administration fee of £10 may be levied in cases where candidates defer all or any part of the examination to a later year after their entry has been received. Any correspondence from candidates should be conducted only with the Examinations Secretary. Examiners are not permitted to enter into correspondence with candidates, except in confirming arrangements for examination venues and times. In any matter concerning the interpretation of the syllabus, the decision of the Academic Board is final. All sources of existing published material on which candidates may draw in their written submissions must be clearly identified and acknowledged. Excessive or unacknowledged borrowings may lead to loss of marks or, in extreme cases, disqualification.
The Guild welcomes entries from candidates with special assessment needs, including physical or mental disabilities which require special provision. The Examinations Secretary must be notified of the nature of the disability by letter before an entry is made, so that there is adequate time for any necessary provision to be made. The disability and request for special tests, if appropriate, should be stated clearly on the entry form and a medical certificate supplied. Candidates who require wheelchair access to an examination centre should notify that fact. All provision for disabled candidates is tailor-made to the needs of the particular individual. Dyslexic candidates requiring special provision must supply a report from a chartered educational psychologist, a full or affiliate member of the Association of Educational Psychologists, a person employed as an educational psychologist by a local education authority, or a Dyslexic Teacher who holds a recognised qualification from the Dyslexia Institute or comparable accredited body. Reports from psychologists of other disciplines (e.g. clinical) or non-psychologists are not acceptable. Visually-impaired or dyslexic candidates may perform prepared practical elements of their examinations from large-print copies or photocopies of music, including copies of music on coloured paper and copies of music in Braille, without infringing copyright regulations, provided that the original is also brought into the examination. If candidates taking a viva voce examination refer to music in Braille or any non-standard notation, the copies should be annotated for the reference of the examiner and an original copy of the music should be brought to the examination. Each case is considered on its own merits according to the nature of the disability and after specialist professional advice has been taken. The same standards of assessment apply to all candidates. Only in the conduct of the examination is provision (not concession) made, when appropriate, for a candidate’s disability.
1.1 A candidate may appeal against the result of a practical or
written examination in the following circumstances only :
(a) where the candidate believes that there has been a procedural irregularity (for example, viva voce questions asked outside the limits of the syllabus);
(b) where the candidate believes that there is a mis-match between the comments on the examination report for one or more items and the mark(s) awarded in relation to published criteria.
1.2 Appeals which question the academic or musical judgement of the examiner(s) will not be accepted.
2.1 Candidates who wish to question the outcome of a practical or written examination should use the following procedure.
2.2 First level of appeal
2.2.1 Appeals should be made in writing by the person who signed the entry application form, setting out the grounds of appeal clearly. In the case of candidates under the age of eighteen, this will normally be a parent, guardian or teacher. Appeals should be sent by post to the Chairman of the Academic Board.
2.2.2 Appeals on the grounds of category (a) should be postmarked within seven days of the examination taking place.
2.2.3 Appeals on the grounds of category (b) should be postmarked within fourteen days of the verified results having been issued by the Guild, and the original (not a photocopy) of the report should be attached.
2.2.4 Appeals at first level must be accompanied by a fee of £25 (for overseas appeals, this must be drawn in pounds sterling on a UK clearing bank), made payable to The Guild of Church Musicians.
2.2.5 An acknowledgement will be sent within seven days of receipt by the Chairman of the Academic Board, who will refer the appeal to the examiner(s) as appropriate.
2.2.6 The Chairman of the Academic Board will reach a decision after receiving the comments of the examiner(s). The target time for resolving appeals is 21 days from the date of receipt, though it may be necessary to extend this period if those involved in the process are not immediately contactable.
2.2.7 The outcome of a successful appeal may be a revision to the mark(s) awarded or the offer of a free re-examination. If a re-examination is offered, a time limit will normally be prescribed in the interests of all concerned, so as to reproduce the original conditions as closely as possible. This may mean a special examination outside the normal examining period. In the case of a practical or viva voce examination, all parts of that examination must be re-taken. Where a practical examination requires the candidate to provide supporting forces, such as a choir or instrumental group, the arrangements for such provision remain the responsibility of the candidate, and no person may take part who was not involved on the original occasion. In the case of a written paper, all parts of the paper must be re-taken. The offer of a re-examination terminates the appeal procedure, whether or not it is accepted.
2.3 Second level of appeal
2.3.1 Those who are not satisfied with the decision of the Chairman of the Academic Board, and to whom a re-examination has not been offered, may appeal to the External Moderator of the Guild’s examinations. Such appeals should be sent via the General Secretary of the Guild, should state the grounds on which that decision is challenged, and should be postmarked not later than fourteen days from the date of receipt of the previous decision. The original report form is not required, nor may new grounds be introduced which would have been proper to the first appeal.
2.3.2 Appeals at second level should be accompanied by a fee of £50 (for overseas appeals, this must be drawn in pounds sterling on a UK clearing bank), made payable to The Guild of Church Musicians.
2.3.3 The External Moderator will reach a decision after receiving the comments of the Chairman of the Academic Board. The available remedies are as outlined in 2.2.7 above. This decision is final.
3.1 In the event that an appeal is upheld, the appeal fee(s) will be refunded.
3.2 Should the examination have been conducted by the Chairman of the Academic Board (whether or not in conjunction with another examiner), an appeal at first level will be handled by an alternative, independent member of the Academic Board nominated by the General Secretary, who will notify the outcome of the process. In an appeal at second level in such a case, the External Moderator’s decision will be reached after seeking the comments of the person who adjudicated the first appeal.
3.3 No certificate will be issued nor award conferred by the Guild in any case which is the subject of an ongoing appeal.
The following criteria are used by examiners. Those shown shaded are below Pass level.
1-2 Incomplete or very rudimentary coverage of the suggested
3-5 Rudimentary introduction to the church but lacking sufficient information fully to illuminate the situation
6-8 A satisfactory factual description providing a clear impression of the candidate’s church including physical factors and ethos
9-10 A full factual description, offering further insight into how the church has developed or is developing and how it relates to the local community
1-2 Incomplete or very rudimentary coverage of the suggested
3-5 Rudimentary introduction to the musical traditions and resources but lacking sufficient information fully to illuminate the situation
6-8 A satisfactory factual description providing a clear impression of the musical traditions and resources and of the candidate’s part in them
9-10 A full factual description, offering further insight into how the music has developed or is developing, including assessment of its relevance to the pattern of worship
1-14 Diary is incomplete or very rudimentary with little or no
explanation given for gaps Assessment of the candidate’s true
involvement and ability to analyse and comment is not possible
15-19 Diary entries are perfunctory Assessment of the candidate’s involvement, commitment and ability to analyse and make constructive comments is difficult
20-29 Diary is complete but entries are purely factual No attempt is made to provide a critical commentary or analysis of situations as they arise
30-36 Satisfactory completion of the Diary giving a clear factual outline of the progression of both rehearsals and services and the candidate’s involvement in them Comments tend to be anecdotal rather than analytical
37-44 A very good submission; rehearsals and services are well documented, and musical and liturgical questions arising on a day-to-day basis are given consideration Analysis of situations and problems is evident Marks at the lower end of the band may reflect limited perceptive detail
45-50 An excellent submission. Diary entries are illuminated with well-chosen examples demonstrating the candidate’s awareness of suitability of repertoire for the worshipping community and place in the service Answers at this level will also analyse musical and liturgical problems in a constructive manner and demonstrate understanding of the relationships between musicians and clergy in the church
1-2 Very limited evidence that any general conclusions have been
drawn from the weekly worship experience
3-5 Though limited evidence is provided to show that some general conclusions have been drawn from the weekly worship experience, very few illustrations have been provided to support this
6-8 Superficial evidence is provided, though the number and range of illustrations are limited
9-12 A very satisfactory number and range of general conclusions have been recorded, with the appropriate number of supporting illustrations
13-15 An excellent overall evaluation of the six-month period covered by the Diary, full of valuable insights, and with an abundance of illustrations to support the conclusions reached
1-2 The document does not fulfil the requirements and/or is not
3-5 The document is typed though organised in a haphazard manner Typing errors, poor spelling and grammar affect the continuity No additional submissions or commentary and little or no evidence of involvement in church activities or appreciation of personal role
6-8 A range of additional submissions is offered but at this level the material tends to be illustrative (service papers, brochures, photographs, magazine articles, copied musical information etc.) and therefore does not give an adequate impression of the candidate’s own development, knowledge and understanding
9-12 A very satisfactory number and range of additional submissions are offered, with a pleasing number of supporting illustrations Any difficulties with spelling, grammar or presentation do not detract from the overall submission
13-15 An excellent submission A selection of well-presented additional submissions demonstrates that the candidate has undertaken detailed research, has an appreciation of his/her personal role and is involved in the life of the church
Each item is marked out of 6.
1-3 Hesitant and lacking in projection; diction often unclear Poorly paced Lacking in expression
4 One or two small slips or minor hesitations, otherwise fluent Reasonably well paced, with well-judged expression and phrasing Clear diction and projection
5 Generally confident, and without errors or hesitation Well paced, with very well-judged expression and phrasing Very clear diction and projection
6 Fluent and expressive Very well paced, with excellent phrasing Excellent diction and phrasing Completely assured
Criteria in italics apply only to those who sing the Cantor’s part
1-4 Little sense of phrasing Poor projection; diction often unclear; tone unfocused Frequent searching for notes Persistent tuning difficulties Frequent errors in notes
5-7 Phrasing occasionally questionable Some lack of projection; diction occasionally unclear Some hesitation or searching for notes Tuning sometimes insecure Occasional errors in notes
8-9 Accurate and fluent Well-focused tone Clear diction and projection Any tuning errors quickly corrected
10-12 Commanding and completely assured Very well-focused tone Excellent diction and projection Excellent tuning
1-5 Marked lack of contrast between the two occasions
Unimaginative choice of texts Little indication of ways in which
music might be used Lack of understanding of range of available
material (texts and/or music) Services generally lacking in
cohesion Poorly presented, with inadequate description of
available musical resources
6-9 Occasions insufficiently contrasted Choice of texts and/or music inappropriate or lacking in imagination Insufficient understanding of range of available material Musical resources described, but inappropriate for the chosen items or used ineffectively Presentation defective in some aspects
10-12 Occasions well contrasted Imaginative and well-integrated choice of texts and music Good understanding of range of available material Musical resources realistic for chosen items Presentation good
13-16 Occasions very well contrasted Imaginative and very well-integrated choice of texts and music Excellent understanding of range of available material Musical resources entirely appropriate for chosen items; resources used imaginatively Presentation excellent
1-2 Hesitant and lacking in projection; diction often unclear
Marked inability to communicate with listeners; meaning of texts
not conveyed Poorly paced, with numerous slips Lacking in
3-5 Several slips Insufficient attention to pacing and expression Some communication with listeners, but diction and projection occasionally unclear
6-8 One or two small slips or minor hesitations, otherwise fluent Well paced Well-judged expression and phrasing Clear diction and projection Meaning of texts conveyed to listeners
9-10 Fluent and expressive; completely assured Very well paced, with excellent phrasing Excellent diction and projection Meaning of texts conveyed very effectively
Criteria in italics apply only to voice or instruments without
1-2 Considerable hesitation and searching for notes Variable pulse Persistent or frequent note errors; no attention to dynamics or phrasing Persistent problems with tuning
3-5 Some hesitation and searching for notes Some variability of pulse Some errors in notes; failure to observe accidentals Limited attention to dynamics and phrasing Occasional problems with tuning
6-8 Well-judged expression and phrasing Steady pulse; any rubato intentional and controlled Any blemishes are minor and do not disrupt the flow Evidence of some stylistic awareness
9-10 Completely accurate and convincing performance Fluent and expressive Stylistically aware Maturity of interpretation and communication
1-2 Choice of work inappropriate Critique shows little
understanding of the purpose, context and musical construction of
the work Comments do not illuminate understanding of the music,
and contain factual errors Spoken delivery poorly projected; it
does not engage the listeners’ attention Written presentation poor
3-5 Choice of work questionable Critique is not well-ordered, and shows insufficient understanding of the purpose, context and musical construction of the work Comments somewhat limited, concentrating on facts rather than their interpretation Spoken delivery audible but does not engage listeners’ attention Written presentation no more than adequate
6-8 Appropriate choice of work Critique is well-ordered and shows good understanding of the purpose, context and musical construction of the work Comments convey this understanding to the congregation Spoken delivery well projected; it engages the listeners’ attention Written presentation good
9-10 Highly appropriate choice of work Critique is very well-ordered and shows thorough understanding of the purpose, context and musical construction of the work Comments are highly-illuminating Spoken delivery very well projected; the listeners’ attention is thoroughly engaged Written presentation excellent
1-2 Numerous slips and hesitations Pacing badly judged Words often
3-5 Several slips and hesitations Pacing not always well judged Words sometimes unclear
6-8 No hesitations; any slips are minor and are immediately corrected Pacing well judged Words always clear, with good phrasing and expression
9-10 No slips or hesitations Pacing very well judged Words always clear, with excellent phrasing and expression
1-2 Little understanding of how music may be used to complement
texts or accompany actions Choice of music and use of musical
3-5 Insufficient understanding of how music may be used to complement texts or accompany actions Choice of music and use of musical resources insufficiently imaginative Use of music generally routine and lacking in variety
6-8 Good understanding of how music may be used to complement texts and accompany actions Imaginative choice of music and use of musical resources
9-10 Excellent understanding of how music may be used to complement texts and accompany actions Highly imaginative choice of music and use of musical resources
1-2 Lacking in self-confidence; very limited leadership qualities
Celebration of the liturgy lacking in continuity Communication
skills very limited
3-5 Insufficiently outgoing or over-assertive; leadership qualities somewhat limited Liturgical presidency skills competent, but routine and uninspiring Communication skills somewhat limited
6-8 A warm manner to which people respond; clear qualities of leadership Liturgical presidency very competent, occasionally inspiring Good communication skills
9-10 Liturgical presidency assured, imaginative and inspiring Excellent communication skills
1-2 Limited knowledge of repertoire and/or lack of imagination,
leading to routine or inappropriate choices Insufficient
consideration given to appropriateness of texts and music
3-5 Some knowledge of repertoire, but insufficient consideration to quality of texts and music Choice of texts and/or music sometimes inappropriate
6-8 Good knowledge of repertoire, allowing choices of high quality Choice of texts and music carefully considered for their appropriateness
9-10 Extensive knowledge of repertoire Imaginative choices of texts and music Texts and music very well integrated
1-45 Largely or completely unable to provide competent answers to
discussion points, or to provide a structured argument Little or
no apparent knowledge of repertoire, and limited understanding of
that presented for use in the practical examination Little or no
knowledge of, or interest in, the relationship between music and
46-59 Capable of only partial answers to the questions or discussion points, and difficulty in providing a structured argument Limited knowledge of repertoire beyond that presented for use in the practical examination Limited knowledge of, or interest in, the relationship between music and liturgy
60-70 Competent answers to discussion points, which address some aspects of the questions whilst neglecting others which might have been discussed Only limited evidence of original and independent thought, and of an ability to develop a structured argument
71-80 Good answers to discussion points, addressing most of the issues implied by the question, and showing some evidence of independent thought and of an ability to develop a structured argument Some answers may be limited by personal experience