Academic Division of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc.                        2023 Class Schedule


The Academic Division is sometimes considered as a “floating university.”

This means the organization moves to different cities each year and brings with them all of its curriculum files, faculty and staff personnel records and other needed information and supplies. The curriculum design of the Division is similar to some Schools of Music and educational Institutions.

Courses are grouped in academic departments with a chairperson heading each department. The ranking system is utilized to earn tenure in the Division. Courses are developed and designed based upon the needs of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, current trends in educational development and awareness, and the immediate needs of the Academic Division.

All appointments are made by the Dean. GMWA’s Board of Directors via the Dean of the Academic Division, approved the development of various academic partnership arrangements between the Academic Division and various Institutions of Higher Learning and corporations that can help promote and advance the overall purposes, objectives and goals of the Academic Division. The expanding presence and curriculum of the Academic Division has given credence and legitimacy to the name “workshop” in the GMWA.

The Academic Division realizes there is a need for continuing education of its enrolled membership outside the scope and boundaries of a four-day convention session. There are special programs within the Division that addresses these needs. A joint venture between the Academic Division and several universities and corporations have been made to further these arrangements. A Distance Learning program has been established to increase the delivery of music education information, content and training throughout the calendar year for the enrolled membership of the organization.

GMWA Certification Program:

One of the valued programs within the Academic Division, is the “GMWA Certification Program.” The program is structured to endorse members for leadership roles in music at all levels of Christian endeavor; and
      (1) to build a sound foundation in evangelism and music for lay persons and clergy.
      (2) to provide further insight into the structure of African-American religious music.
      (3) to increase the knowledge of music in the African-American culture and
      (4) to provide a core knowledge from related fields of learning, theology and curriculum development.

A library is available for use within the Academic Division and general convention. Although the library is mobile (moving from year-to-year where the convention is held), it is developed, structured and operates as any other public or school library. A certified librarian is on staff. The library utilizes correct procedures for management, selection, organization, circulation, cataloguing and processing of materials and equipment used in the library. Students encountering difficulty in course-related assignments can go to the library for help. The library is a place where you can browse its material and study without interference. Some classes are held directly in the library.

Music courses included in the Academic Division’s offerings can compare to high school music courses, junior-college music courses and university-level music courses. Courses are grouped into departments. The ranking system is utilized to earn tenure in the Division. Not only does the Academic Division offer courses in music, but courses in Music Administration, Church Worship, Business, Teaching & The Distance Learning Concept, Foundational Skill Development, Medical Services, Liturgical Dance, Evangelism, Personal Development, Research, Computer Technology and Communication Techniques (Oral Language Development)

The Academic Division has the primary responsibility for:
      • educational development;
      • curriculum development;
      • scholarship development; and
      • general training within the organization.

Education at the GMWA brings together:
      • The world of persons, events and ideas in African-American sacred music.
      • The heritage of Christian faith and practice.
      • The given characteristics of an African-American sacred music community.
      • Experiences that contribute to the learning process.

Education at the Gospel Music Workshop of America provides a setting in which these elements interact fruitfully in such a way that the individual enhances the ability to think musically and function effectively in African-American sacred music.

Some of the purposes of the Academic Division are congruent with the purposes and goals of the parent body:
      - Perpetuate, promote and advance the Christian ideal through the medium
        of music in the African American religious experience, Euro-American sacred music
        experience, Caribbean music experiences and other forms of music.
      - Impact the music literature available in church worship and in the performance arena.
      - Promote the accountability and credibility of music in general with a focus on the
        gospel music genre.

The Gospel Music Workshop of America is recognized nationally and internationally as an organization that meets the needs of the church, the community, corporations and its high standards in educational developments. The GMWA is committed to giving back the varied and diverse offerings of the organization to its members and delegates. Many recording artists, academicians, musicians and leaders in the music industry have come from the GMWA. Some have been able to further their careers and academic pursuits through programs and classes taken at the GMWA.

The GMWA Scholarship Program:
There are selected scholarships available at different GMWA convention sessions. Scholarships are presented as contests and a winner is named for each contest. The main scholarship is the Thurston G. Frazier Memorial Scholarship Contest implemented in the 70s by GMWA’s Founder, Rev. James Cleveland. Information pertaining to the name of the contest, monetary amount, rules and regulations of scholarship fund is announced during annual board meeting sessions. Scholarships are restricted to members of the organization. Seventy-two students have benefited from financial assistance received from the Gospel Music Workshop of America.

The Academic Division houses a faculty and staff of over 185 members. Each year this number can increase depending on new faculty applications received. IT IS NOT ESSENTIAL FOR YOU TO HAVE A DEGREE TO BE A PART OF THE ACADEMIC DIVISION. There are many different areas in which you can serve. We welcome all!

Classes & Auxiliaries below are housed under the shelter of the Academic Division:
      Thurston G. Frazier Memorial Chorale
      Robert Fryson Chorale
      Adult Classes
      Youth Classes
      LIP (Leadership Identification Program)