Chant as Children's Catechesis -- Lesson Plan Ideas?
  • AngelaRAngelaR
    Posts: 309
    I had an interesting conversation with a DRE today who is interested in promoting some basic chants as part of a catechetical curriculum for children. She is giving a regional talk at the end of the month, and is looking for materials which would help an average Religious Educator to feel comfortable with introducing the chants. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    A couple ideas some friends suggested:
    1) In keeping with the preface (?) of the Mass, which describes us as proclaiming the praise of the Lord with all the angels, promote children to a new choir of angels every time they master a chant (and give them an angel sticker for each one).

    2) Play the chants for about 5 minutes at the beginning of each class.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I don't know which diocese you are, but I'm very envious that you have DRE who seems to be doing a great job.
    In my parish, I was told as a volunteer teacher, that we are changing the textbook that are more geared towards 'personal relationship' than teachings of the Church. And there will be a few minutes of quiet prayer time with 'soothing music.' I haven't heard the music yet, but I think I know what I'll hear. So I was thinking if I continue to teach the class, I'll be bringing my chant CD instead and have the children listen. And I can briefly introduce what 'Kyrie eleison' means and why we sing this in Mass and why the Catholics sang 9 folded Kyrie in our tradition and so on. My chidlren''s schola was fascinated about the nine choirs around the altar.
    So I'm planning to introduce Ordinary parts one at a time and talk about what they mean in the Mass and the historical background of the prayers. (I need some more resources on that.) It would be nice if some scholar develope a textbook on this subject, especially for children. It would be a great help if you can post the lessons here as much as you can. thanks.
    (BTW I ordered 20 copies of Cathedral chant book that you mentioned in this forum. This is a good introductory book for my children's schola, and eventually we will move to PBC as my adult schola does.)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    This sounds like a lot for the average CCD teacher to handle. Not all are musical!

    Still, it's worth trying. The kids should probably have printed music in hand, and be encouraged to sing to the recordings, rather than simply listening. Kyries are very accessible, as are the seasonal Marian antiphons and, to some degree, the sequences--these last two also give a sense of liturgical time.

    Advent is a good time for chant, by the way, because kids already know O Come, O Come Emanuel, a chant hymn. Many will have heard Creator of the Stars of Night, and for Christmas, Of the Father's Love Begotten.

    If possible, an adult in the parish who can both work with children and lead chant--possibly the music director?--might be brought in periodically to work with an assembly of the children.

    As a youth schola director, I'm very glad to hear that a DRE is interested in doing something like this. It shows a broadmindedness about liturgical catechesis--it is very encouraging! It would be interesting to hear how things go through the year.
  • AngelaRAngelaR
    Posts: 309
    I'm in the Peoria diocese, and have just been amazed at the interest here in Gregorian chant. We started the Cathedral Chant School last November (which I am now the sole director of), have had a consistent base of at least 10 people coming (some of them driving over an hour one way!). We sang the Te Deum and Alleluia Iuravit Dominus for the priestly ordinations in May, and on Friday sang solemn first vespers of the Assumption at the cathedral (which went quite well, and I hope to get a link up soon of the recording). This Wednesday 13 people are signed up for our three evening crash course in Gregorian chant. I've had parents coming up to me and asking if I can teach their children how to sing chant, and I just ran into the abovementioned DRE last night. The problem now is that I don't have enough time to do all the things that I could!!!

    Thanks for the ideas so far! If anyone has specific lesson plan materials, such as coloring book pictures, a CD with children chanting basic Mass parts, etc., it would be extremely helpful. It would be great to get a well-planned packet together for this DRE to present at the end of the month at her regional talk.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Do you know how much time DRE is planning to devote to chant teaching out of regular CCD class? Also is s/he expecting the children be able to sing certain number of the chants at the end of the year?
  • AngelaRAngelaR
    Posts: 309
    I'm guessing no more than five to ten minutes a week, and only a minimum of chants, such as the Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. The idea is to present something that even someone not musically inclined can still be comfortable with.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,169
    Some Christmas pieces might be fun for the kids: e.g., "Of the Father's love begotten", "Puer natus in Bethlehem" (is there an English version?).
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Angela, this is just a sample lesson plan, someone else can add and change…
    The more ideas, the better…

    The CD ‘O Lux Beatissima’ has children singing with adult. Track 9 has Agnus Dei XVIII. I would sing a bit faster in a classroom where there’s no acoustical support.

    Teaching Agnus Dei XVIII Sample lesson plan

    wk 1.

    Explain briefly the tradition of latin chant in Catholic Mass (how much is depends on the age leve of the class)
    Lower grades, you might just say we sing ‘lamb of God ‘in latin, the Church’s traditional language.. (you might want to ask a volunteer to sing ‘lamb of God’ in English.)

    Listen to CD Agnus Dei

    Have the entire text of ‘Agnus Dei’ on the board (prepared in advance) and have them repeat the words after you as you point to the word (some children might want to come to the front and point the words for the class after a couple of times saying it.)

    Listen ro CD one more time and pray inside while listening to the chant with the words you learned.

    wk 2

    Review the words from the board (be careful on how to say Agnus!)
    This time everyone says together. (You could also divide the group into three, and have each group say one line each)

    Listen to CD
    While listening, underline the syllable that has two notes (challenge older kids to find them out)

    If the teacher is comfortable singing it, s/he can start the 'Agnus Dei' part and have boys sing 'qui tollis… 'and girls join in 'misserere nobis' and second time reverse.

    wk 3

    Show a picture of 'Lamb of God' (I found a good picture in Wikipedia, Jan van Eyck (ca. 1390-1441) retable de l'Agneau mystique, Gand. I believe it’s in public domain)

    Find John 1:29 in the Bible and read it

    Sing the entire chant together (Once they learn the chant , I like to have them stand up and have two hands folded together in a prayer position to sing it)

    You can either give the copy of the music or/and have the older students copy the words in their notebook to take home
    Challenge them to memorize (next week whoever memorizes gets a reward, such as one sticker for reciting the text and two stickers for singing from memory)

    g2g (got to go, dinner time, my family is waiting)
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    Work on one chant at a time.
    Print (make spares) the "chant of the month" on half-sheets.
    At the end of the first use,
    tell the children to take home their paper and look at it at home.
    Each follow-up-week, distribute and collect the spare half-sheets.

    First Set Of Chants
    # 75
    Each worshiping community in the United States, including all age groups and all ethnic groups,
    should, at a minimum, learn Kyrie XVI, Sanctus XVIII, and Agnus Dei XVIII,
    all of which are typically included in congregational worship aids. More difficult chants,
    such as Gloria VIII and settings of the Credo and Pater Noster,
    might be learned after the easier chants have been mastered.[71]
    [footnote 71: See GIRM, no. 41. Further resources for congregational Latin chant are Iubilate Deo (Vatican City:
    Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1986) and Liber Cantualis (Sable-sur-Sarthe, France: Abbaye Saint-Pierre de
    Solesmes, 1983).]

    Second Set Of Chants
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    After a few weeks, you could add Kyrie and Sanctus (Kyrie XVI, Sanctus XVIII) in a similar manner. I think it would be really nice if the parish offers Mass with those chant Ordinaries where the children can actually sing, not necessarily as schola members, but with their families from the pews.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,186
    I am currently constructing a curriculum on the Parish Book of Chant as the base text. Though this will be part of a continuing project ( i use the RSCM Voice for Life),but I will be integrating the PBC into the children's work. You can e-mail me (click on my name) and we can talk.

    Also, I am subscribed to the chant school you run on Facebook.

    Le paix de Seigneur soit avec toi,
  • AngelaRAngelaR
    Posts: 309
    Thanks all, these are great ideas. I will let the DRE know. And Kevin, I am MOST interested in your project. Perhaps we can talk later this week? I'm in the midst of crazily planning for the beginning of school (which starts tomorrow) and for the chant crash course (which also starts tomorrow). I'll email you.