Chant study at home

Hello all! I hope you had a joyful Feast of the Resurrection and that you are continuing to tap into the Pascha celebration as we endure the challenges of this coronavirus situation. The few schola events that we had planned are up in the air at the moment, so I unfortunately don’t know when the next time will be that we can get together, but that does not mean you can not continue learn about Gregorian Chant. If you find that you have extra time on your hands and would like to fill it with further study, here are a few resources that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home:

1. The monks at Clear Creek Abbey offer a great self-paced home study course, Laus in Ecclesia (Praise in the Church), which allows great flexibility in learning. It includes a text book, audio and video resources, and writing assignments to help the concepts sink in. Along with the fundamentals of understanding neums, rhythm, etc; the course also explores the history of the sacred music in the Church and introduces students to important figures to provide a well-rounded foundation for understanding Gregorian Chant. You can submit the homework assignments for grading and complete a comprehensive exam at the end in order to obtain a certificate (I am currently working towards the Level I and plan to continue to the Level II). See the website to order the book and for more details.

2. If you would like something a bit more structured, St. Joseph Seminary (Yonkers, NY) will be offering their Sacred Music courses online in June/July. There are two that may be of particular interest:

  • Principles of Sacred Music (June 1 – July 28)
  • Principles of Chant (July 13-17)

The classes are $500 to audit, with a 50% discount for first-time students. The classes will be much more thorough than what I can offer. I do not know if they will continue this online option in the future, so you may want to take advantage of the opportunity while you can.

3. Lastly, you may be interested in signing up for the Benedict XVI Institute email list. It is a wonderful organization based in San Francisco, which aims to “open the door of Beauty to God.” The pandemic has inspired them to offer chanted prayer opportunities online via Zoom, such as a national Litany of the Sacred Heart during the Triduum, Compline (night prayer), and a “Songfest for Our Mother in Heaven and on Earth,” which is scheduled for Mother’s Day. In joining their email list, you will receive invites the take part as more opportunities are offered.

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I hope you find these resources helpful in dedicating this unusual time to growing in the love of God. God bless!

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