Learn to meet with acumen and professionalism a parish's musical needs in a wide variety of circumstances. In this course you will dive into details that make a big difference: room acoustics, microphones, and establishing a good rapport with your organist. Plus, we will treat unique liturgical circumstances which require a special approach: the a cappella Mass, weddings, and funerals.
Note: Level II is the same course as our former Level III.
You will learn to:
Know exactly what to expect and do when acting as a visiting cantor in another parish
Develop an awareness of how to use your voice in a variety of circumstances
Plan and source all the sung music for a Roman Catholic Mass
Incorporate proper antiphons and chant into the Liturgy
Set yourself up for success as a cantor for special liturgies such as weddings and funerals
This course is taught by Angela Rocchio via Zoom.
Seats limited to 5 cantors.
TUESDAY EVENINGS May 30 - June 27, 2023
6:00 - 7:30 pm, USA Central Time Zone.
International Time Zones: Classes held at GMT - 5.
"Both the staff and the parishioners find her to be a breath of fresh air, and a really good fit into the culture of our parish. She is a consummate professional in all aspects of her craft and at the same time is very sensitive to what the folks expect from their worship music. She is very proactive in the way that she plans out and prepares for different ceremonies, all the while becoming quite an asset to me as our music minister.”
~ Deacon Joseph Iovanna
Former Director at Saint John Nepomuk Chapel, Saint Louis, MO
Lesson 1: Musical considerations
In this lesson we will take a deep dive into subtle details that make a big difference. We will establish three core roles of the cantor: psalmist, song leader, and soloist. We will look to some critical aspects of a working relationship with your organist. There is also a lot to be said about microphones, acoustics, and the delicate balance of leading a congregation towards active participation through singing, so we'll spend a good bit of time on those subjects too.
Lesson 2: When singing at a new parish for the first time
Did you get a panicked call from a music director who is desperate to find a cantor for tomorrow's funeral? Or is your best friend is getting married, and wants you to sing for their wedding? Sooner or later you, an exceptional cantor, are going to find yourself singing at a different parish - one with very different customs than the ones with which you are familiar at your own parish. This lesson is devoted to basic etiquette, musical preparation, important communications, and technical considerations to help ease you into a new setting.
Lesson 3: The primary liturgical instrument ~ the human voice
Did you know that the primary liturgical instrument is not the organ, but the human voice? Yes, you read that right! This lesson is all about your voice, and your ability to deliver a sacred message through song. We are going to explore the relationship of speech to song, how to transform the first into the second, and explore the incredible musical form of chant. Angela will also share a special "hack" she has used with great success for helping the congregation to sing the Responsorial Psalm (hint: it's not hand gestures or head bobs).
Lesson 4: Help! The organist is sick.
As an exceptional cantor, sooner or later you're also going to find yourself in charge of planning and executing the music for a Mass. Don't wait til you're under the gun to learn what it takes. We will explore critical factors which make an a cappella Mass come to life, and delve into some special online planning resources. On the agenda: finding the "theme" of the day, locating music for proper antiphons, and planning seasonally appropriate music. Plus, we'll revisit this organization's favorite subject of all time: chant!
Lesson 5: Weddings and funerals
A cantor who knows well the Sunday Mass, will still be thrown off by the different elements of a wedding or a funeral. So, let's delve in. On the liturgical side, we will explore key elements and nuances of each of these liturgies, as well as some fitting solos which are handy to have in your back pocket. On the "people" side, we will focus on how to set helpful boundaries and expectations with families, couples, and musicians that will keep everyone happy.
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.
Students must have copies of their parish's cantor music resources (hymnal/s, psalm & acclamation books, etc.). You will receive online access to 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). Internal computer sound systems are notoriously poor at reliably transmitting singing. Excellent external microphones are readily available and reasonably priced. Ask for recommendations. Reliable access to high-speed internet is a must. Students are responsible for having working technology.
Your seat will be secured once tuition is paid in full.
Ask your parish whether funding is available for continuing education.
Tuition may also be tax deductible for professional (compensated) musicians.