Amateur, Professional, Paid or Volunteer . . .
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    I have noticed an increased number of postings addressing issues of “professional” versus “amateur”, or “paid” versus “volunteer”, and felt that I should weigh in. We all know where this could lead, so hang on to your hats and don't stand up.

    It seems to me that there are "am-ih-chers" and amateurs.

    Those who have ears to hear and eyes to see know of what I speak. The church music (note, I say "church" music, and not sacred music) landscape is littered with the former who know not what they do, and the havoc they wreak is legendary. We can all tell plenty of alcoholism-inducing stories about the local "amicher" who knows simply everything about good "cherch mewsik" and will tell you as much. Danger, Will Robinson. And, it is certainly understandable and appropriate to excoriate them for depriving those of us who are learned colleagues in the field of our rightful income when they take up residence in the loft or on the local organ bench and destroy vocal technique or butcher even the simplest of hymns and destroy the repertoire. (When I came back from Florida I was told that the sub I'd hired accompanied "O Sons and Daughters" with a "boom-chick-chick" left-hand accompaniment. I was horrified, as were many of the parishioners. I can't make this stuff up. Needless to say, that sub won't be working for me anytime soon. AND, she makes a handsome income holding herself out as a "substitute Catholic organist." What do the ads say? "Beware of substitutes". Point taken!)

    But the latter, amateurs, are those who have a passion for a particular endeavor, in our case sacred music, and devote a great deal of time and energy learning as much as they can on the subject, including seeking out respected (or admired) mentors (such as Wendi has) to aid in their growth, education and development. They are voracious readers, and spend countless hours, just as many of us "professionals" do, studying anything and everything they can lay their hands on regarding the subject and never hesitate to ask plenty of questions. These true amateurs do not do damage to the field or the reputation of those who are "professionals", but do us great honor by seeking our advice and deriving their inspiration from the work we do.

    Unlike the "amichers" I spoke of earlier, who do great damage because they "don't know, and don't know that they don't know", true amateurs constantly question what they're doing and seek out the advice, assistance and support of folk like us. When they come to this forum, the last thing they need to read is vitriol or skreed from an elitist "professional" about how destructive they are to the art, or how invalid their work is because they lack this degree or that certificate, or how the pittance of an income they receive (or indeed when they volunteer, the income they don't receive!) is somehow an affront and threat to our careers and job security, or how they don't deserve to be paid for what they do because they lack our "education".

    Frankly, I would need to take my shoes and socks off to count the number of so-called "professionals" in the area of sacred music who pull down huge incomes, and yet through their own arrogance and self-confidence in their feeble or ill-informed abilities are guilty of depriving truly passionate, serious-minded sacred musicians (be they professional or amateur) of a just income, and worse who most likely have been responsible for the destruction of a music program because of their arrogance and lack of real vision or hunger for knowledge and continued progress in the field. Indeed, many of these professionals, with multiple degrees in hand, have single-handedly destroyed an otherwise promising music program, and with their lack of understanding then salted the ground thus guaranteeing that anyone who came after would have little or no luck rebuilding the program.

    Remember, there are a fair few amateurs who lurk this forum seeking sound advice. What should they make of it when certain members begin flexing their "professional muscles", asserting this opinion while demonizing the other, and all the while making it quite obvious that if you're not a "professional", you're not to be taken seriously?

    Perhaps we should put someone at the front gate of the forum who asks, "Papers, please." Then we're sure to get only those who are worthy of expressing an opinion, or weighing in on a debate, while sparing us "professionals" the embarrassment and tedium of asking obvious "rookie" questions.

    Disclaimer: As always, the opinions expressed are those of David Andrew and not those of the CMAA or the cognoscenti, illuminati or peritti of the forum.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,454
    Well said, David. I have to say I've experienced nothing but kindness, good humor and support from the people on this forum and have learned a ton of helpful things since joining a few months ago.

    I'm continually impressed at how generous people on this forum are with their expertise and recommendations and am beginning to form a theory that musicians and artists of all kinds are more often than not teachers at heart---that by and large their desire to perform music and to compose music (esp. sacred music) stems from a passionate desire to inform a larger audience of something they believe is of critical importance. In other words, true musicians aren't purely motivated by profit, power or prestige--their real satisfaction lies in spreading beauty to others.

    I think my theory has been proven correct esp. after discovering that it's the most gifted and most qualified musicians in our midst who are often the ones most eager to share their knowledge with others.

    It is a real privilege to be associated in even a small way with this vibrant and welcoming coterie of people who love sacred music.
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    I have also encountered kindness, encouragement and support from many here.

    There have also been some comments that out of charity I try and attribute to thoughtlessness rather than active malice.

    It does occasionally worry me because on most discussion forums on any topic...for every person like myself that finds the courage to ask my questions, there are ten who lurk, but never work up the nerve to actually post for fear that they will be ridiculed. I'm sure that's just as true with sacred music as with other topics.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,454
    It does occasionally worry me because on most discussion forums on any topic...for every person like myself that finds the courage to ask my questions, there are ten who lurk, but never work up the nerve to actually post for fear that they will be ridiculed.


    I think you just described all of humanity in a nutshell. : )
    Thanked by 2Wendi Mark Husey
  • Bobby Bolin
    Posts: 403
    I am both a sports official and an aspiring teacher (tough job market). What I have learned from both of these professions is that there are many, many, many opinions on the correct ways, methods, mechanics, etc. of any task, job, interest, or hobby. My job then becomes to listen to every opinion, implement the ones I like, and kindly ignore the ones I don't.

    I have no problem sharing my ideas and opinions and asking questions on these forums. I also have no problem with answers like "that is completely wrong" or "you should do it this way." Discussion and argument are two the best ways to find out what you really believe in or maybe what you should believe in. This forum is the perfect place for this.

    By the way, I consider myself in the "amateur" not "am-ih-cher" category (for now).
    Thanked by 1Wendi
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,744
    In certain parts of this great country of ours, where amateur is rendered amatoor, it is not clear if this refers to amateur or amicher.

    It reminds me of the sometimes heard answer to, "What's new?" By this, of course, I mean the reply, "The Greek letter following mu." In this case, the pronunciation of mu is chosen to match the pronunciation of new (noo & moo, or nyew and myew, although I always chuckle when it is noo & moo).
    Thanked by 3Wendi gregp Mark Husey
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 860
    As pointed out in a related thread, a church musician needs to be a jack-of-all-trades. Inevitably one might excel in one area and not another, but how many parishes actually hire multiple professionals with degrees in organ, voice, choral conducting, sacred music, liturgy etc.

    While I have a master's degree in music it's not in sacred music or organ or liturgy. Those things were all learned on the job as well as many hours off the job reading at night etc. Like many I learned to play the organ out of necessity, and while I am my own worst critic when it comes to my organ playing technique, one thing that has kept me positive is a quote from one of the organ books I have studied that says, (paraphrasing) the mark of a true professional is the attitude brought to the job rather than the actual level of technical skill (or something to that effect).

    Back in my college days I would often seek out the "best" pianists to work with since many of the song accompaniments were difficult, and yet I found that they weren't always the best accompanists or collaborators to work with. In the church music world the "best" organists (who may be wonderful concert organists and can play the most difficult pieces) are not always the best directors--be it for a lack of requisite vocal skills, collaborative skills, interpersonal skills or even knowledge of the basic liturgy documents.

    None of this is an excuse for wrong notes, non-musical playing or a lack of basic liturgical knowledge. Still, while humility and modesty are certainly essential virtues, we should not tear ourselves down simply because we can't play a particular fugue by a certain Bach, or lack a specific degree. The entire package is what's important and the drive to continue learning throughout one's life is certainly more important than resting on one's laurels.

  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,412
    The best possible Church Musician will be an excellent organist, liturgist, choral conductor, chironomist, rubricist, composer, arranger, pedagogue, singer, and etc. He or she will have advanced degrees in one or several of those fields, be fluent in Latin and several other languages, have a clear grasp of orthodox theology and the history of liturgical practice, be able to read and interpret the Graduale Triplex, and have complete familiarity with the works of every major composer from Hildegard to Hindemith.

    So, um... Dr. Mahrt.

    And....

    Anyone else?

    I get along decently well without the ability to play a keyboard instrument to any degree of competence. This works because there are a lot of good organists out there in the world who have either not the skill or not the desire to make musico-liturgical decisions and run a choir, and there's even a handful of parishes (mostly not Catholic, unfortunately) who realize that hiring two complementary musicians might be the best way to get the needed skill set.

    Someone with nothing but a decent voice and a desire to serve could bring high-quality liturgy to any small, no-money parish, with a set free PDFs of the Simple English Propers and the Parish Book of Psalms.

    The problem is never one of skill or training in and of itself. While a higher and higher degree of skill and training will bring a higher and higher level of quality and beauty, a lack of any specific skill is not an absolute barrier to a decent, even very good, Sacred Music program.

    But, none of that ends up mattering a lot of the time, because of (dun dun DUUUNNNN...)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    Wonderfully said. I personally do not have a degree at all.
    At a recent meeting in the Archdiocese of Boston regarding the reorganization of Parishes into Collaborative groups of two, three, or more parishes, the issue of job security was brought up, obviously. There are going to be fewer jobs. One individual who, I am presuming, holds a degree in a musical field of some sort very abrasively said something to the effect of "WELL! Let's make sure those with degrees get the jobs that ARE available." While I respect that sentiment and certainly will honor the work and effort that one puts into earning a degree, many of my predecessors at my current Parish HOLD degrees and I am currently trying to undo the damage they have done to the program.
    Just because someone holds a degree doesn't make them the best person for a liturgical position in the Catholic church. I recognize that my lack of education could prevent me from being the BEST I can be, but I have seen great improvement in the work I have done at the parish over what those who call themselves professionals have done.
    As David very eloquently stated, I spend HOURS reading and scrutinizing the rubrics, the chants, the history of the church, the various documents and editorials written by those whom I know I can trust in sacred music. I am currently taking organ lessons from a well-known concert organist at my own cost. I am in every way trying to better and educate myself until the time comes when I can return to school and earn my degree.

    (For the record, I am also a musical theatre conductor and the same battle is fought there. Many conductors with training are unclear, and don't understand how music functions in a theatrical setting. I have learned through experience, just as I learned liturgy, and have had great success and feedback from my orchestras.)
    Thanked by 2Wendi tomboysuze
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I'm surprised no one has pointed out the etymology of amateur. The first three letters... ama... love.

    When churches tell me their singers don't need to worry about this or that because they're "amateurs, not professionals," I point this out and ask, "if you love something, why would you do a shoddy job at it?"
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,373
    The best possible Church Musician will be an excellent organist, liturgist, choral conductor, chironomist, rubricist, composer, arranger, pedagogue, singer, and etc. He or she will have advanced degrees in one or several of those fields, be fluent in Latin and several other languages, have a clear grasp of orthodox theology and the history of liturgical practice, be able to read and interpret the Graduale Triplex, and have complete familiarity with the works of every major composer from Hildegard to Hindemith.


    Salary $10,000. per year. Contact Fr. Swindle at St. Shaftem by the Sea.
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    Oh the things I could do...the music I could purchase with 10,000 a year. :)
    Thanked by 2CharlesW CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,373
    I played recitals for years. It was accompanying that was difficult to learn. Now, I seldom do recitals, just accompany.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    I hope that everyone understood the purpose of my initial post.

    It was not to denigrate, run down, berate, belittle, scorn, ridicule or otherwise hector either the professional or the amateur (using the traditional definition of one who pursues and interest with great passion), but rather to bring to light the notion that there are those among both who bring those various verbs upon the other.

    Simply put, I know professionals (degreed, and usually very self-satisfied and arrogant) who have no business running a sacred music program either as a choir director or an organist. I call them "elitists." I don't believe that one must be both, although I will say that I have noticed that in the Anglican tradition, often the best choir trainers started out as choristers, and many of them went on to become organ scholars. I also know professionals who have sacrificed a great deal in terms of time, income, lifestyle and even relationships in order to commit their full attention and dedication to the advancement of sacred music. Most of the people who participate in this forum fit that definition.

    I also know amateurs (not in the traditional use of the term) that have been permitted to run rough-shod over a music program because of a contempt (sometimes very well-deserved) for the "professionals", and with willing accomplices among the clergy are given control of an aspect of the liturgical life of the local parish with a view to making everything "all-inclusive" (all God's critters got a place in the choir) in protest against the "professionals". Again in this area I know of many dedicated amateurs who but for the simple accident of not having a degree or certificate in the field, are nonetheless contributing greatly to the cause, and are also helping us professionals who are committed to the same cause to keep our saws sharp by asking lots and lots of questions. I know that every time I receive a call with questions, it causes me to think carefully and if I don't know the answer or am unsure, I go to my library and other resources and dig for the answer. I've even had to rethink either how I express a particular concept or position, or completely change my thinking on a particular issue or topic based on the insightful questions I'm being asked.

    In talking with a fellow forum participant, there was a reluctance to identify herself as an amateur for fear that certain other members of the forum might pile on, or "talk down" to her in a condescending manner. My thought was if she can feel this way (and she's a tough customer, let me tell you! She's paid her dues, and can fend for herself), how much more so for others who lurk and never even attempt to post.

    So, this was not an attempt to pile on, call anyone out or stir up controversy. I simply wanted to make an observation about the vagaries of our particular vocation.

    Permit me to close with a favorite quote from Mechtilde de Magdeburg:

    "Stupidity is sufficient unto itself. Wisdom never ceases learning."

    Have a nice weekend, all!

    (edited to correct a really bad order of sentences that said something completely different.)
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Interesting discussion.

    I'm greatful for anyone, no matter their educational status, who contributes to the cause. And, if one person has a Masters degree in violin, but can play the organ, and another person has a Masters degree in Sociology, but can play the organ and is learning to direct chant, what is the difference between the two?

    On the other hand - I do find myself led to a certain defense of professional musicians. There are some people involved in Church music who have written "ditties" that I will not sing at mass, but who none the less are fine musicians. I'm thinking of one gentleman whose name everyone here would know and whose music is found in the OCP worship aids who none the less possessses a bachelor's degree in voice and a Masters degree in liturgical music. He is, simply put, a fine musician, although his compositions would probably be suited more for musical theatre (that's not an insult! If he hooked up with a playwright and wrote a libretta for a musical, I think he might go far!)

    I guess I don't totally disagree with the petition of the above mentioned person in the Boston Archdiocese that those who hold degrees and have made music their life's work get the first chance to interview for positions created by mergers. I know that this might leave some of our posters here out (and indeed might leave some more sympathetic to our "cause" out). But I do feel that if we are to be taken seriously, we must not denigrate degrees and come to a point where we say "anyone can do this." If that's the case, I'm about to waste some serious money in the academic program I'm entering this fall!

    In the end - I agree with David Andrew. Let's all welcome each other with open arms and learn from each other. I'm (I like to think) a decent organist and I'm getting better as a choir director. But I've got a lot to learn about chant and music history. If someone - regardless of them being professional or amateur - helps fill in those blanks for me, I'm ready to learn from them!
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    PGA,

    No one is denying the ones with degrees the right to interview for positions. My fear, though, is that the statement of the one from the Boston archdiocese will simply be used as a means by which DMA/MM candidates (that is, those who have no interest in sacred music as such but who wish to continue the sacro pop trend) will try to trump over those who do have have an interest in true sacred music and who have read the relevant documents and got the relevant training in sacred music whether by formal or informal means or a combo thereof. Let's face it: not all of us were able to make the auditions for music school straight out of high school. And still others who work in other fields are nevertheless still concerned with the shoddy quality of music in the Latin Church today.

    I believe St. Paul's exhortation regarding the circumcized vs. uncircumcized crowd is a fair analogy. If person who is not circumcized acts as if one is, then that person should be left alone.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW bkenney27
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    No one is denying the ones with degrees the right to interview for positions. My fear, though, is that the statement of the one from the Boston archdiocese will simply be used as a means by which DMA/MM candidates (that is, those who have no interest in sacred music as such but who wish to continue the sacro pop trend) will try to trump over those who do have have an interest in true sacred music and who have read the relevant documents and got the relevant training in sacred music whether by formal or informal means or a combo thereof.


    Precisely.

    I guess I don't totally disagree with the petition of the above mentioned person in the Boston Archdiocese that those who hold degrees and have made music their life's work get the first chance to interview for positions created by mergers.


    Nor do I, to be clear. Not totally. I just think the degree is not the ONLY qualification to be considered. If I were up against someone with a degree, and we were both contributing to "the cause" (as we affectionately call it) I would wholeheartedly hope that the person with the degree were offered the position. I do NOT, however, support hiring someone based solely on their degree status (or lack thereof.) That is why I always appreciate when job seekers say "Minimum Bachelor's Degree or equivalent experience." Because, in some ways, I am getting more out of my self-education in sacred music than I would with a performance degree.

    I guess the real issue is the lack of accessibility for "Sacred Music and Liturgy" degree programs. Most schools that have them are difficult to get into, are very expensive, or both. Secondly, there aren't many and as a result, there may not be a program close enough to an individual. Thirdly, many "sacred music" degree programs are interdenominational and really wouldn't benefit a liturgical musician in the Catholic church very much.
  • I am of the mindset that anyone who works in the church is called by the Lord to do so. If that were not the case, I would certainly not stay where I am now, along with all the frustrations. That being said, however, it does take a certain amount of education (whether book-learned, or experience) to be able to be a good DM. We all learn a lot from each other, and we all are open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, if we allow ourselves to be open to it. Anybody who considers themselves an "elitist" doesn't belong in church ministry.

    As far a college degree, although I have one, I don't think it's absolutely necessary. The advantage, of course, is having had the academic experience of working with others and learning from each other and knowing the resources available to produce what needs to be produced. On the other hand, forums like CMAA are wonderful resources for anybody who has been called to ministry.

    While I consider myself a decent pianist, I still have a lot to learn about the organ, and music history. And, I know many musicians with performance degrees who spend so much time perfecting their art, that they have little people skills which is so vitally important to being a choir director.

    In any case, I thank the Lord for bringing me to this forum and ask Him to continue to guide us all in all that we do. If God calls, then He will somehow equip. At least, I'm counting on that!
    Thanked by 1LongBeachChant
  • MHIMHI
    Posts: 324
    .
  • Mark HuseyMark Husey
    Posts: 192
    I'm sharing the following from Jeff and Tracee Prillaman's Assessment Model for musicians of all learning levels in their "Da Capo" program in Richmond, VA. It's been VERY helpful for me in identifying the learning curve and giftedness of prospective choristers of all ages and how successful of a fit they'll be within our various choirs. The link is here:

    http://www.dacapova.org/aboutus/Whatwedo/Whatwedo/assessmentmodel.html

    the text I've copied here: Somewhere on their site it mentioned that more than one level of separation between musician types or groups would prove frustrating for all involved: and they nailed that squarely on the head. Read on.

    Musicians come in all shapes, sizes and ability levels. Our assessment model creates a common framework for discussion and development between teachers and students....[promotional text omitted]... It takes years to move between these stages...

    Beginner, Primo, is a brand new student with no previous experience on their instrument. They display an innate love of music and a desire to learn more about it.

    Novice, Apprendista, is an advanced beginner student. They have learned about technique, breathing, posture, embouchure, and fingering. They have a good understanding of basic musical concepts, such as note name recognition, dynamics, meter, and tempo. They have begun learning about the musical periods, related composers, and regularly listen to a variety of musical styles. They are able to play/sing simple pieces with accuracy, discipline, and musicality. They have experienced sharing their music with others through informal and formal performance opportunities.

    Craftsman, Artigiano, is a true intermediate musician. This student demonstrates good technique when playing/singing. They display a working knowledge of musical concepts, such as note names, dynamics, meter, and tempo. This student has begun to learn about major and minor key signatures, chord structure and progressions. They are continuing to learn about the musical periods, related composers, and are formally listening to and studying a variety of musical styles. They are able to play/sing intermediate pieces with accuracy, discipline, and musicality. They regularly share their music with others through informal and formal performance opportunities. They have begun mentoring beginner and novice students by providing opportunities to make music together.

    Artist, Artista, is a consistent, confident,and refined musician. This student displays solid technique on their instrument. They understand advanced music theory and have a solid grasp of musical history. They regularly share their music with others through informal and formal performance opportunities. Mentoring takes place by instructing others on their instrument and in the areas of music history, theory, composition, and others.

    Master, Maestro, is a mature musician in all areas. This person is a professional musician with many years of training, expertise, and experience on their instrument. They are educators, performers, and conductors. This person understands the intricacies involved in making music and is able to translate that knowledge to others. This person helps others to develop passion and discipline in their music and provides them opportunities to live their music in the world.

  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "I am of the mindset that anyone who works in the church is called by the Lord to do so."

    A good line from a Lutheran professor is, "God knew I'd never show up to church unless they paid me, so He gave me all this talent at organ to get my butt to church."
  • The great Cellist Janos Starker, recently deceased, was once asked why he performed so little and taught so much. His reply was to the effect that, if one really loves Cello then he will accomplish more in the service of his instrument by teaching than by performing. It applies to Sacred music as well, I think. With this vision, the professional and amateur really are one bloc. They complement each other.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,373
    A good line from a Lutheran professor is, "God knew I'd never show up to church unless they paid me, so He gave me all this talent at organ to get my butt to church."


    A good line. I don't know about being called by the Lord. Some have compared work in the church to early Purgatory. I have my days when I am sure I am being punished for something. ;-)
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    If you want to be a good church musician, you've really got to be able to turn your hand to more than one thing. I've done a bit of "directing", a miniscule amount of conducting (more just keeping time than anything else), I play organ at a basic level and I sing both in choir and as a solo cantor. I'm not particularly brilliant at any of them, but I can do any of them well enough to fill a gap if need be.
    Thanked by 1IanW
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    On yes, and definitately an "amator" (Latin: One who loves)
  • The only problem with the Lutheran quote is that not all church musicians are paid. I'm also quite sure that many priests also believe that their work in the church can be compared to early Purgatory.

    If you work for the church for the money only, first of all, you won't be satisfied because most of us make very little, and secondly, you should not be there in the first place.
    Our attitudes on taking the bench should be of complete surrender to the Holy Spirit under His unwavering love and guidance. If your work with the church is your primary income, then be grateful to the Lord that He gave you the talent to be able to do what you love and still support your family. How many people are unhappy in unfulfilling jobs just because of the money?

    Mark's post is awesome and defines what most of us have been debating. Thanks for sharing.
    Thanked by 1Mark Husey
  • Mark HuseyMark Husey
    Posts: 192
    Naming things, if not giving you power over them, at least helps you cope with them better. I know it's not PC to be into "labels," but that process need not be burdened with such negativity. Likewise for the music we do (as I inch out on a limb here). I know my predilection is for music I would call "academic" or "scholarly" versus "traditional" or "classical," since neither of the latter accurately define its genre or execution. Living and working in the South, I can approach "Evangelical Protestant" or "Contemporary Catholic" repertory without demonizing it, and, if needed, employ it as a means to an end - improving my congregation's comfort level with "academic" and "scholarly" music and not feeling threatened by it.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,744
    "Stupidity is sufficient unto itself. Wisdom never ceases learning."

    "Genius has its limits. Stupidity knows no such boounds."
  • elaine60elaine60
    Posts: 85
    The few masters programs I have looked at for liturgical music do not meet my needs-in learning Latin, the propers, etc. Our choir director who got fired as our choir director is working on her third year of a summer masters program. It was hard to believe she wasn't learning about the propers and joking said that they were all joking about this being their year for a class in chant.
    If I do go for a master's in liturgical music I am almost thinking I would do a self-study degree.
    This form is a blessing to be able to exchange ideas, music and things we are working on with such love. thank you.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,737
    Well, learning Latin to read the liturgy isn't a master's level topic anyway: you can accomplish that in a couple of semesters of undergrad Latin. In some places, you may be able to pursue that goal with evening college courses, and there may be distance-ed options as well. The course doesn't need to be about ecclesiastical Latin even.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    Now, now CharlesW, you are a Byzantine. You are not suppose to think of Purgatory as a "punishment", but rather a period of cleansing and joy, remember? :)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,373
    Paul, as a Byzantine, I generally don't think about Purgatory at all. However, working in a Latin church can sometimes bring the punishment aspect to the fore. LOL.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,412
    as a Byzantine, I generally don't think about Purgatory at all


    Can you elaborate? I don't know much about Byzantine after-life theology/cosmology. I've heard the word "paradise" used, which I assumed at first meant "heaven," but in the context in which I've heard it, it seems not to.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,373
    Dr. Anthony Dragani sums up eastern/western beliefs on Purgatory here. http://www.east2west.org/doctrine.htm
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,412
    CW- That was very helpful. Thanks.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Elaine - it seems to me from my research that the master's in sacred music program at Notre Dame University stresses chant and polyphony, along with organ and choral conducting. I believe latin is also either required or is elective.

    And don't rule out secular universities. I had a conversation with an early music specialist recently at a secular university whose research and performance interests are gregorian chant and polyphony. He talked about what a shame it is that the Catholic Church in most places has thrown its musical legacy away. I would think that study with such a professor as him would be very valuable.
    Thanked by 1elaine60
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 860
    True. Most of what I learned about chant and polyphony came from a secular university where it was taught from a purely academic standpoint. Likewise, the secular university chorale frequently sang sacred masterworks including Masses for their musical significance. I always found it odd that we studied so much great sacred music for academic and concert purposes, and then when I attended Mass on Sunday it was all...well you know. Hence, my call to change my focus in careers and here I am in the trenches.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439
    @ Earl, that is what I find odd too-that the music of the contemporary Latin Church is so bland while you hear a rich music in the concert hall-ironic too, since it is from Western Christendom that the West got the foundation for later musics.