For over 40 years, the National Association of Pastoral Musicians has served the Catholic Church in the United States, “fostering the art of musical liturgy.” 

40 years later.... who is NPM?

  • NPM is a community of pastoral musicians, committed to mutual learning and sharing of resources in service to the Church. NPM provides the support, formation, and skill development opportunities that pastoral musicians need.
  • NPM membership reflects the growing cultural diversity of the Church across the United States.
  • NPM is a community for all those who are passionate about sung worship, those whose heart pounds as a community sings together, and those who miss their choirs over summer break (or during pandemics!)
  • NPM is a network of support for colleagues. NPM is for everyone who wants to make Sunday morning better through singing praise to God.
  • We promote professionalism and competence in pastoral music leaders. The members of NPM exercise leadership in our field and promote a vision for Church music.
  • NPM is able to advocate for the profession and vocation of the pastoral music minister with the leadership of the Church in the United States, as well as representing the field of pastoral music ministry to the wider Church.
  • Our association collaborates with other national ministry organizations to strengthen liturgical worship in the Church.
  • With over 70 diocesan chapters already established nationwide, new chapters are forming all the time to unite pastoral musicians in a common purpose for a common mission.

Whether you’re a professional organist or choir director, a handbell ringer or cantor, a priest, a guitarist, or just someone who loves to sing in Church, NPM is you.


If you are committed to singing the Gospel of Jesus, NPM is you.


If you serve the Church in sung prayer, NPM is you.


Our future is bright. It’s your future. It’s the future of the Church. NPM is YOU!

NPM 2.0 News and Updates (1)

September 24, 2020 - NEW BYLAWS

The time has come to begin the implementation of the vision and that starts with creating a system of governance and structure that will best enable us to truly achieve our mission. To this end, the vision for NPM 2.0 includes a new set of bylaws. Article XI of our present constitution (which will be replaced by this new set of bylaws) specifies that all members have a chance to review proposed changes to the constitution for at least one month prior to a joint vote by the NPM Board and NPM Council. Thank you for reviewing this new set of bylaws and offering your feedback via email.

NPM 2.0: A Vision for Our Future

NPM 2.0: La Vision (en Español)


NPM is the membership association for pastoral musicians who serve the Catholic Church in the United States. 

A national network of local chapters in each diocese, NPM is for all those involved in music ministry: directors of music ministry, those who lead choirs and ensembles, cantors, instrumentalists, choristers, and clergy.

Learn more about Membership below:​


  • NPM members come from every state, every diocese, and serve the singing Church in many ways.
  • Among the nearly 5,000 members of NPM you’ll find parish music directors, handbell ringers, guitarists, clergy, choristers, organists, teachers, and even folks who just love to hear the Church sing! Membership is also open to collaborating organizations, related pastoral ministry groups, diocesan and national Church leaders.
  • NPM has three new levels of membership, each offering different benefits:
    • The Basic level is a perfect way to get started with NPM, ideal for members of the choir, instrumentalists, and supporters of pastoral music.
    • The Standard level is for those who want more of what NPM has to offer and is a great way for those who lead a choir (or ensemble) and clergy to participate in NPM.
    • The Premium membership is designed for the professional music minister, the parish music director, and pastors. With access to all the benefits of NPM membership, Premium members get everything they need to serve the Church.
  • NPM is for directors of music ministry. Leaders in the field will find professional support, networking, advocacy, and resources for this specific role in pastoral music ministry.
  • For nearly half a century, NPM has led the way in fostering the art of musical liturgy. NPM can continue to influence the national conversation on pastoral music because of our relationship with bishops, scholars, and other leaders in the Church.
  • Our new academic journal will keep directors of music fully informed about the latest trends in the field and give music ministry leaders a voice to join in the conversation.
  • A new email list-serve for premium members allows leaders in the field to dialogue with one another about the issues that face the professional music minister.
  • The Premium membership tier is aimed towards leaders in pastoral music, who will enjoy special benefits like full access to planning resources, invitations to national events, professional networking opportunities, and more!
  • If pastoral music is your vocation, career, and profession, NPM is your association. Thousands of music directors and other leaders of worship in the Church are already members of NPM because they find value in our events, our network, and our shared mission of service to the Church at prayer.

  • NPM is a national network of local chapters, located within each diocese, providing community, training, resources, and support for members. NPM chapters offer pastoral musicians a circle of friends who know the challenges and joys of this ministry.
  • Chapters host meetings, hymn festivals, retreats, repertoire swaps, service opportunities, training events, and more for musicians in the local area.
  • When you’re a member of an NPM chapter, you’re a member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. You belong to a national network of people just like you, committed to leading God’s people in song!
  • Your national dues are shared with your local chapter to support you in your daily formation, networking, and support with colleagues in your area.
  • The NPM national leadership and staff support chapter leaders in forming and growing excellent chapters. NPM will provide training and ongoing mentorship for chapter leaders and assist chapters in communicating with members.

NPM equips pastoral musicians with the musical, liturgical, and pastoral skills and knowledge to serve the Church in musical worship.  Through excellent programs and effective communications, NPM provides its members the support they need to excel in music ministry.


Learn more about Programs & Services below:


  • NPM has always been known for excellent national events and educational offerings that support the singing Church: that will never change! NPM will continue to provide a wide range of programs and services that serve our culturally diverse membership, including our national convention, our new Skill-Builders sessions, institutes and events for specific musical and liturgical roles, as well as print and digital resources.
  • We’ll make our dynamic national conventions even better by expanding the effectiveness of the professional development opportunities and by offering formation pre- and post-convention.
  • We’ve proven we can host excellent virtual gatherings as well, so you can count on NPM serving you in the digital space in the future. We will create a digital platform for pre and post-conference sessions, taking advantage of current distance learning techniques.
  • Our signature certificates for instrumentalists and cantors show that you have the skills needed to serve the Church. Only NPM can certify lay ecclesial ministers as a Director of Music Ministry for the U.S. Catholic Bishops.
  • NPM’s new 2-3 day Skill-Builders sessions will help you grow in your musical skills, while also equipping you with pastoral skills to serve your culturally diverse Church.
  • We’ll build upon excellent training like our Guitar and Ensemble Institute with new and exciting programs for musicians of every kind, including follow-up support.
  • Recognizing the ever-growing need for expanding our programs and services to communities of diverse cultures, NPM will begin developing formational resources and content for Spanish-speaking pastoral musicians and worshiping communities.
  • NPM is where YOU are. By increasing our partnership with local dioceses, NPM can bring the formation, training, and support that YOU need for your ministry. 
  • NPM has a modern comprehensive communications plan that allows members to communicate with one another and with NPM leadership.
  • Members engage through a variety of digital platforms, including our feature-rich website, weekly email updates (like Sunday Word), a fantastic Ministry Monday podcast, and a robust presence on social media with daily messaging for members.
  • NPM publications include our flagship Pastoral Music magazine (now offered in both print and digital formats), Liturgical Singer, and a new academic journal.
  • The user-friendly NPM website includes excellent digital content such as the Planning Calendar, various past convention presentations, and other educational/formational videos.
  • A new email list-serve for premium members allows leaders in the field to dialogue with one another about the issues that face the professional music minister.

NPM is led by its members who serve the association and ensure NPM achieves its mission of supporting excellent musical worship in the Church of the United States.

Learn more about NPM's leadership below: 


  • NPM is led by its members who serve the association and ensure NPM achieves its mission of supporting excellent musical worship in the Church of the United States.
  • NPM’s collaborative leadership structure includes chapter leaders, leaders of operational and ministerial forums, the national council, and the board of directors.
  • Members of NPM are engaged in and served through Operational Forums and Ministerial Forums.
  • Operational Forums serve the organizational needs of NPM in areas like Membership, Communications, Finance and Development, and Programming and Certification.
  • Ministerial Forums are ministry networks characterized by members’ shared roles, responsibilities, and interests, such as Directors of Music Ministries, Musical Skills, Affiliation/Advocacy, and Cultural Diversity.
  • The National Council is the hub of NPM leadership, and includes the leaders of forums, a member representative from each of the fourteen regions of the United States, the executive director and episcopal moderator, and the board of directors.
  • NPM is governed by a Board of Directors, elected by the NPM Council. On behalf of NPM members, the board ensures that the association’s mission is clear and carried out effectively. The board includes members who represent diverse cultures and directors of music ministry.
  • Led by an Executive Director, the NPM staff serves the members of the association by implementing the mission and providing programs and services.