This course is for the serious cantor or music director in the modern Roman Catholic rite.
You will learn to:
Develop awareness for room acoustics, proper use of the microphone, and appropriate sound balance
Develop rapport with your organist, and identify critical factors for successful congregational singing
Plan and source all the music for a Roman Catholic Mass
Incorporate proper antiphons and chant into the Liturgy
Navigate special liturgies such as weddings and funerals with greater ease
Know how to prepare and what to expect (or not expect) as a visiting musician in another parish
This course is taught by Angela Rocchio via Zoom.
Seats limited to 5 cantors.
Spring 2024 quadrimester (classes run approximately 2 hours each)
Level I: 2 - 4 pm CST Wednesdays, Jan 10 - Feb 7
Level II: 2 - 4 pm CST * Wednesdays, Feb 21 - March 20
* A time zone change occurs on March 10.
International time zone: GMT - 6 thru March 10; GMT - 5 after March 10
NOTE: Completion of Level I is recommended, but not required to enroll in Level II.
"I have been a cantor for almost 20 years, and the wealth of knowledge that Angela shared with me was remarkable. Her experience, from a musical background, a historical foundation and real life technical experience is second to none. It would be in every cantor’s best interest to take her classes. This type of education is essential to the vital role of a cantor in the Roman Catholic liturgy. Thank you Angela and the International Chant Academy for all your hard work and gift of music and teaching!”
~ Amy Eisen
Professional Soprano, Soloist, and Cantor from Hartford CT
Lesson 1: Liturgical musicianship
Distinguish core roles of the modern Roman Catholic cantor, and identify critical skills associated with each. Determine key factors for a successful working relationship between cantor and organist, and for leading a congregation confidently in song. Explore factors that will impact one’s experience of your music: church architecture, acoustics, sound systems and microphones, location of musicians within the church, and more. Students will be asked to take this opportunity to assess critically their own parish music programs according to the factors highlighted in this lesson: what is working well, and what could use improvement.
Lesson 2: "When in Rome, do what the Romans do."
Whether it’s a panicked call requiring a musician for tomorrow’s funeral at the neighboring parish, or a best friend needs help with music for a family wedding, sooner or later the student will find oneself filling in at a special liturgy at a different parish. Learn how to prepare, and what to expect (or not expect) at a parish that does things differently. Focus on basic etiquette, musical preparation, important communications with the church and other musicians, and other technical considerations to ease you into a new setting. Identify the kinds of resources which are good to have at-the-ready, and organize a specialized music binder for this purpose.
Lesson 3: The primary liturgical instrument
The Catholic Church upholds the human voice as the primary liturgical instrument. Meditate upon the theological truths which shape this sentiment, the critical role of words within the Liturgy, and the mystical significance of the congregation’s voices united in song. Identify aesthetic practices which make a sacred text come alive. Learn the structural elements of a psalm tone, and practice “pointing” assigned texts to a psalm tone melody. Students will prepare a responsorial psalm which they have pointed, paying attention to natural speech patterns and pauses, and sing it for the class.
Lesson 4: Liturgical music planning and the antiphons
Learn how to effectively utilize one’s parish musical resources in creating a suitable liturgical music plan. Special attention will be given to the Church calendar and liturgical seasons, finding the “theme” of the Mass, weighing the degree of solemnity, and certain liturgical elements which change from day to day or from season to season. Most importantly, the origin and usage of the proper texts (antiphons) will be explored. Students will create their own music plans for an assigned Mass according to the principles established in this lesson, and present them to the class.
Lesson 5: Weddings and funerals
Weddings and funerals are unique among Catholic liturgies: they gather the devout and non-religious alike, families are involved in the planning, there are high expectations regarding music, and the liturgies themselves are uniquely structured. Learn what to expect both liturgically and “people-wise”, and how to prepare for each. Fitting music, including solos in the public domain, will be highlighted. Class will discuss real-life scenarios and learn to be pre-emptive by setting boundaries and expectations with families, couples, and musicians.
Ability to sing on pitch and to read music. Current involvement in a Roman Catholic parish music program, or intention to develop skills for the purpose of applying for a new position. Commitment to reading and homework between lessons (15-30 minutes per day). Experience singing solo in a group setting is recommended.
Student must have copies of their parish's music resources (hymnal/s, psalm & acclamation books, etc.). Printer access recommended, and a three-ring binder for sheet music (black recommended). Student will receive online access to all educational materials via an exclusive student resources page.
A desktop computer, laptop, or tablet (the larger the screen the better) equipped with videocamera and microphone (no cell phones, please). Reliable access to high-speed internet is a must. Student is responsible for working technology.
$325 USD per level
Your seat will be secured once tuition is paid in full.
Save $100 when you register and pay tuition for both Level I and Level II at once.
Ask your parish whether funding is available for continuing education.
Tuition may also be tax deductible for professional (compensated) musicians.