History of the Department of Church Music
Systematic church music education in Estonia has been provided, although with some breaks in between, since 1938-1939. Under the leadership of Prof. Topman, the church music department was established at the Tallinn Conservatory, which unfortunately only operated for a few years.
Department of Church Music, Higher Experimental Commission of Theology (1950 - 1989)
In the second half of the 20th century, church musicians and theologians received church music education from the music departments of the EELK Institute of Theology (originally called the Department of Church Music of the Higher Experimental Commission of Theology) established in 1950 by Prof. H. Lepnurme. At that time, the main teachers and professors were Hugo Lepnurm and Hella Tedder (organ, choir conducting), Johannes Kappel (music theory), Emilie Karjus (voice arrangement) and Vilgo Linask (piano).
Organ lessons took place in the church buildings of Bethel, Kaarli and Dome Church cogregations, the organ could also be rehearsed in Nõmme Rahu Church. The piano and music theory classes were held in the premises of EELK Consistory (Raamatukogu tn 8) and at the Cathedral. Most hours during the week once. After studies, the Consistory issued a professional certificate for an organist or deputy organist.
Church Music School of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (1991 - 1999)
Church Music School of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church was established in 1991 and it continued the fruitful work started by the previous music department. Church Music School was first headed by Ludmilla Toon, later by Heli Jürgenson. The interest in training for musicians who were already working in congregations and the interest of church musicians in in-service training continued even after 1999.
Church Music Department of the Institute of Theology 2001 - ...
In autumn 2001, the Church Music Department was reopened (headed by Kersti Petermann), which organizes church music courses (D- and C-courses) and various in-service training courses 2-3 times a year. After completing the courses, it is possible to apply for the corresponding D- or C-professional category as church musician.
The organ lessons of the Department of Church Music take place on two study organs in the building of the Institute and on the organ of the Holy Spirit Church, right next door to the Institute. Individual lessons and lectures take place in the building of the Institute of Theology (Pühavaimu 6). The church musicians ensemble enriches with its music almost every worship service that is held in the beginning of each study session of the Faculty of Theology.