I have been blessed to receive much correspondence about the music I have written through the years.  The comments, both accolades and admonitions, help inform my future writing and I am always grateful that someone cared enough to reach out.

In all my years of writing, the vast majority of these letters are directed at the deep emotion and ministry of the music.  Only a few addressed themselves to the musical techniques or the poetic devices being  incorporated in the text. When students write to me about “THE AWAKENING,” they never say, “Great ostinato” or “I loved that sequence of suspensions.” They almost always speak of the message behind the music and how, in the singing of the composition, their hearts we’re motivated and their spirits stirred.  This pattern is consistent with many of the composers of sacred music with whom I have spoken. Sacred music does more than tickle the ears, it impacts the soul.

As we lead our church choirs we must not only move our musicians towards more expressive and excellent singing, but we must also connect the dots with the primary mission of all sacred music, sharing the word through song and awakening worship in those who we serve.  This mixture of ministry and artistry builds a community of song that is more than just a joyful noise.  Such a wondrous gift is music, lavish and extravagant, a precious passenger of great beauty and purpose for the journey of faith.


Joseph Martin, a native of North Carolina, earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Subsequently he earned a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at the University of Texas, Austin. Joseph taught for five years in the Piano Pedagogy Department of the University of Texas. His piano teachers include Jimmy Woodle, David Gibson, Amanda Vick Lethco, Martha Hilley and Danielle Martin. While at Furman University, he was accompanist for choral director and composer Milburn Price and, inspired by his teaching, Martin began to compose.
He is a member of the staff at the Hal Leonard Corporation and Shawnee Press, Inc. as Director of Sacred Publications, with responsibilities for overseeing the editorial and creative direction of the company and also coordinating the recording and production aspects of future sacred publishing efforts.
Joseph has performed solo piano recitals and has been the featured artist with symphony orchestras in the United States and Mexico. As winner of the Nina Plant Wideman Competition, he performed with the Guadalajara Symphony Orchestra. His solo recital in Ex-convento del Carmen was broadcast nationally throughout the country.
Joseph is Artist in Residence at Concordia University in Austin, Texas where he lives with his wife Sue, and his children Jonathan and Aubrey.

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