Necessary, Not Sufficient: Music Degree
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,003
    Over the last several years, it's become more and more clear to me that a degree in music is nice, but not nearly sufficient for a position as "church musician." There are lots of examples we could point out, but that's not fruitful.

    So, for discussion: should education in liturgy be another requirement? Bonus question: exactly what should that 'liturgical' education consist of??

  • I have multiple degrees in music and liturgy, which was good for honing the techniques of the craft, but in terms of really understanding the liturgy and what I'm trying to do as a liturgical musician I have learned more from:

    (1) going to beautiful masses over the years (and being fortunate enough to be exposed to this growing up)
    (2) study on my own and CMAA colloquia
    (3) other faithful church musicians - observing what they do and the spirit in which they do it.

    My "education in liturgy" was mostly learning the standard scholarly narrative of liturgical history, which I was skeptical of then and almost completely reject now. I suppose it does help me recognize it when I see it

    So perhaps "education in liturgy" should look more like the CMAA colloquia and have less book learning - though the latter has its place.
  • Having not had the kind of education I'm about to suggest, I hope I can avoid the charge of hypocrisy by filing these under "now that I'm here, was there a better way?"

    1) Musical training is a sine qua non but is clearly insufficient. This must include ear training.
    2) The development of a liturgical sense: that is, the praying of the Divine Office in choro. Without this, music becomes a concert
    3) THEN read the "teaching" documents of the Church -- so that they don't act in a vacuum. Here is the grammar.
    4) Choir-directing skills are important, of course, but those should be studied by apprenticeship, not by academic classroom didacticism.
    5) Service as an underling.
    Thanked by 1Steve Collins
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,000
    I have graduate degrees in music, library and information science, and an undergrad degree in computer science. More education than I probably need to work in Catholic music, although I have had other jobs that used those degrees. Throw in catechist certifications which may or may not have value.

    Is education important? Yes, in that if you have no ability and training as a player or singer, I can't see how you can do well in any music. A motivated individual could, on his own, study church history and the history of liturgy and church music. Most will not do that. They will pick up the hymnals and worship aids at hand and go with them. If they happen to play only by ear, they may never develop much understanding of what they are doing, especially if what they are doing is pretty low level and not requiring much skill - the average U.S. parish. Most "forum approved" education will be of little use in most U.S. parishes.

  • Education in liturgy doesn't appear to be a requirement for many clergy; why ought it be a requirement for the musicians?
  • You could remove that purple for some priests, Aristotle...
    As long as there is a good training system, I don't think degrees should be required. Running the music in a church is a hands-on job, not a classroom job.
    The priests should play a big part in this training as well.
    Thanked by 1Steve Collins
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Sorry Aristotle, I think you accidentally applied purple to your statement.
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • Knowing something about the liturgy is important. This may be very different from having "education in liturgy".
    Thanked by 1Steve Collins
  • Music training of some sort is a must, preferably one with a good history component. Frankly, I don't trust that a liturgy degree would respect the true desires of the Church. My liturgical training was my own, strengthened by CMAA Colloqiuae etc. It is my desire to achieve beautiful liturgy too quickly, coupled with a minimum of choral direction training and no management experience, that gives me a challenge.
    Thanked by 2Steve Collins EMH
  • I took a Latin degree, studying mostly Christian letters, while working as organist and singer in the chapel of a Catholic college with an excellent choir and beautiful, rooted, rubrical liturgies. I summered back home as organist in my fiance's FSSP parish with an outstanding schola. In addition, my childhood was spent in choral singing and private study of piano and then organ, as well as a great deal of practical experience as a professional church musician for all four years of high school (sure beat flipping burgers!)

    Am I better prepared to lead a parish music program than a B. Mus. with a focus in Jazz? I think so. Am I better prepared than a degreed graduate of a sacred music program? Probably not. But the specific difference there is not the degree per se.

    It's the education, and that can come in a number of ways, particularly in this age where so much of ecclesial and academic officialdom is uninterested in, if not hostile towards, the received liturgico-musical tradition of Western Christianity.

    I'm sure many of us could list music/theology schools to whose graduates we would prefer a well-intentioned and studied "amateur" in running our parish music programs.

    JSB lacked the university education that many contenders for his prestigious posts, esp. Kantor of the great college town of Leipzig, possessed. And yet people have earned their D. Mus. studying his liturgical works.

    What I would want to see in a well-formed candidate:

    1) Knowledge of theology/liturgy. The candidate should know Catholic teaching, the significance of the liturgical actions, and be committed to their expression in music. He should know the liturgy well enough that his music will allow it to speak for itself on its own terms, and he should be fearless in protecting the dignity of the liturgy and the sacred space in which it is performed.

    2) Knowledge of repertoire. The candidate should appreciate the breadth and depth of the treasury of sacred music, and should have wide familiarity with pieces and styles. He should be able to deploy nova and vetera aptly and effectively to draw the assembly into the liturgical action and bring them to deeper understanding and prayerful participation, and to weave a musical fabric into the liturgy that is truly aesthetically beautiful.

    3) Musical ability. Simply put, the musician must have the musical competence to execute a well-chosen repertoire (different in different situations) in a musically effective way, and the pedagogical skills to teach others to assist in doing so.

    4) Interpersonal skills. The candidate must be able to work effectively with others as leader and collaborator, and must have enough of a teacher's heart to catechize effectively as necessary.

  • '...[not] a requirement for many clergy, why ought it be for....'
    All the more reason for musicians to have a doctorate's knowledge of it. -
    Which quite a few of us do!
    (Because we love it more than they do.)


    I think that a degree, if not degrees, are very important statements about one's education, seriousness about one's field, competence, and other qualities. The lack of such indicates amateurishness and the attitude that formal training is valueless, and that one knows only what he or she has 'picked up' along the way.

    Now then, note that I said 'statements'! With some, degrees are just that and are a mere 'paint job' over a rather scratchy and makeshift competence. With others, the 'statement' is an accurate signifer of professional and authoritative knowledge and scholarship. Degrees are not at all to be thought ill of.

    There is a parallel in the priestly world. There are many priests who really know liturgy and (somehow!) became well versed in it, often despite their seminary backgrounds, but often aided by the same.

    The moral is that whilst there are those who are incompetent we should not discount the real knowledge resident in the minds of those who really are what their degrees indicate them to be. Too often, in many fields of endeavour, it is the 'bad apples' who ruin the repute of the good ones. That this is true of Church Musicians, Priests, and many others is sad. All the more reason to focus on those who truly are Masters and Doctors. These degrees have pedigrees that reach back to the mediaeval universities and should be taken seriously to indicate demonstrated mastery of one's subject.

    (The fact that many modern universities don't measure up to mediaeval standards is a subject for another time and place. A school boy of a hundred years ago, for instance, would have known more Latin than most modern PhD's - but, I digress. Not to go unnoticed is that, often, the real value of any degree is directly related to which institution granted it - and, who one's professors were.)

    The better educated Church Musicians are, the more seriously will they be taken, and, hopefully, in most cases, will bring about excellent and well tutored music for our Heavenly Father.

    But note - I do not at all mean to disparage those without degrees whose work is sometimes superior, always deeply motivated by love, and is a blessing to all his and her people and the Church.

  • It's interesting, though, to consider that the liturgy is the primary focus of a music director, while pastoral and administrative concerns vie for a priest's attention.
  • Interesting, yes.
    But being a Church Musician certainly entails its own retinue of pastoral and administrative concerns. Concerns which often complicate his musical ministry.
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • Indeed, but they are all in service (loosely-speaking) to the Mass. It's those details, however, that are the part no music or liturgy degree prepares. Frankly, I don't believe seminaries do much to prepare for that, either.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,269
    And no seminary or university can truly prepare people in pastoral ministries for the reality of serving a large group of people. Great artists don't necessarily make great ministers, and vice versa.

    Back in the eras when parishes and oratories were often under the effective patronage of a local personage or oligarchy, it was less diffuse - which made thing both easier and more difficult compared to today's realities. That said, a lot of things that remain on paper in the Church reflect the accumulated residue of that former reality - and remembering that can help mindful ministers engage the dissonances they sometimes/often perceive.

  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,297
    OK... this is a complicated issue that does not have a yes or no answer.

    There are different levels and tiers of education and training that go into becoming an effective DoM. I would be surprised if ALL of them can be gotten in getting a degree in music, liturgy, organ performance, or even a combination of such degrees.

    One definitely needs to have training and education in organ performance, choral conducting, the rubrics of chant, music theory, etc., if one is to be proficient in actually performing the pieces required for a RC liturgy.

    Understanding the Mass (and the sacraments)... a huge issue, will most likely not be addressed in any (usual) seminary, as the VII overreach has truly dumbed down the theology to the point that many priests don't even understand the theology of the Mass, its sacrificial nature, etc.

    Of course, it is obvious that the understanding of sacred music has truly been lost to most. One is only going to learn the true nature of sacred music through being a part of a group such as this where one takes self initiative and interest, and seeks out the true riches and patrimony of sacred music.

    Then there is the spirituality of Catholicism. No degree will qualify you for that. You must BE ONE and LIVE IT! Gaining intellectual understanding of the faith will only accentuate your practice and understanding of such.

    So, go get a degree if you will. But it is not the litmus of a good RC DoM.

  • The Lutherans, as some may know, have a number of 'Concordia' colleges and universities around the country, some better than others. The famed St Olaf Choir are the progeny of one of these. Valparaiso is one of the jewels in this crown. Their purpose is to train Lutheran teachers to teach in Lutheran schools, and to train their church musicians in the subjects and matters of being choirmasters and organists in their churches. Needless to say, the students are thoroughly grounded in Lutheran doctrine, spirituality, and ethos. Graduates of these 'Concordias', teachers and musicians alike, are highly respected in their churches. I have long thought that the Catholic Church would do well to avail itself of such institutions.

    For musicians, the objective should be to train organists and choirmasters who are the equal of any from the best sacred-music and organ departments in the finest secular universities, plus imbuing them with Catholic doctrine and spirituality, plus thorough immersion in the pastoral and administrative duties in a typical Catholic church which desires a fine sacred music program.

    The negative aspect of such systems is that they are often incredibly insular and suffer from a very bad case of scholastic incest.
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,201
    "scholastic incest," you say? Could you elaborate?
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • I don't feel like it right now.
    It's, admittedly, a torturous and potentially sensitive subject (sensitive as in 'mine field').
    Extreme myopia would be a near synonymonical condition.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,003
    So far, lots of interesting insights.

    Now how about changing the title-bar of this post to read: Music Degree: NOT Necessary for Dir/Music & Liturgy.

  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,662
    If a person in high school with reasonable musical skills came up to me and said they wanted to do church music for a living, I'd tell them to go to university if they can afford it without going into debt - not necessarily for music, but not necessarily not..., or to just find a great music program and offer to intern there and work extensively with the DM while essentially living as their secretary/slave (purple bold) in exchange for their knowledge.
    Thanked by 2NihilNominis francis
  • I think that church musicians are not alone in having to spend as much, if not more, time tending to administrative, recruiting, and pastoral concerns as is spent preparing and performing music. One of our local university organ professors, a musicologist and recitalist of international renown, told me recently, with no little regret, that he spent more time doing university paper work than on teaching and performing. This sort of thing is a burden that undoubtedly plagues teaching at all levels and institutions from grade school up.

    Probably the only musicians who are free of non-musical concerns are those relative few whose careers are strictly as concert recitalists. They alone are free to hone their art to its finest. And, this they will do lest they not last long as artists. Their audiences come expecting and demanding their finest efforts at the finest examples of musical art. It is a sad commentary on our society and the Church that such exemplary music making is thought of as something only for the concert stage. It very well ought to be expected for the glory of God in his holy place, and for the aedification and inspiration of his people. There were times and places where this was expected - St Mark's, Venice, comes to mind as one of countless places at which the finest was expected, cultivated, and cherished.

    The present state of music in the church is, I think, a rather new phenomenon. A few generations ago most people, even 'ordinary' people (except for certain brands of evangelicals), knew what was and wasn't church music and would not have been pleased at 'not church music' music being dragged into their churches. Now they demand it! The last half of the last century saw the deliberate efforts of significant numbers of very ill-tutored (and, often, ill-bred) musicians who were determined to change that and found willing congregations who thought it time for the church to be 'modern' - as if the detritus that they dragged in was truly modern. It wasn't! The result is that instead of preparing and teaching the music of the Church for a people who wouldn't imagine that there was anything else, too many of us are engaged in pleasing this and that age group, this and that ethnicity, and this and that cleric who may or may not even want real Church music - or even know what it is.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,000
    There were times and places where this was expected - St Mark's, Venice comes to mind as one of countless places at which the finest was expected and cherished.

    There was also a time when the church was willing to PAY for the finest.

    If a person in high school with reasonable musical skills came up to me and said they wanted to do church music for a living...

    I tell them to study something else along with music, so they always have another job to fall back on, if necessary.

    Thanked by 2canadash Elmar
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    I know a few wonderful directors and/or organists who do not posses a music degree, but have "comparable experience" (as job ads often say), and their churches benefit greatly for having these people in charge of sacred music.

    I also know some with doctoral degrees who can play the heck out of some Liszt, Vierne, etc. and have no idea how to play liturgy.

    One such case occurred last Easter when I hired a sub for our 6am (I mean c'mon, I'm still resting after the Vigil!). He came highly recommended from a local professor and I met with him to go over the structure of the Mass and even gave him a script which outlined everything. They will say this, then you play this, then they go over here, then you play that.

    Apparently it was a train wreck. I wasn't there, but we were getting phone calls and emails for 2 weeks from people who were concerned if it was even a valid Mass because things went so far off the rails.

    A degree is just a piece of paper. There is much value behind it in the skills that are acquired along the way, but those skills are not always those needed for the job. (Musically, administratively, pastorally, liturgically... the list goes on...)

    Bottom line, as others have said, is that those who are best suited to serve the church in the field of sacred music are those who are self-motivated to constantly learn and improve, regardless of the letters that follow their name.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,269
    The Basilica San Marco in Venice was notable because it was a *palatine chapel* under the control of the state rather than the church (the English analogue being a Royal Peculiar), and the splendor of its liturgies - which notably did not always adhere to Roman guidelines - served to glorify the state as well as God. (San Marco didn't become the cathedral until after the fall of the Venetian republic. Venice's actual longtime cathedral was over in its relatively industrial district....)

    This distinction allowed San Marco to incubate musical innovations not as easily incubated elsewhere, and it's therefore important in the history of the development of Western music.
  • Good observation, Liam. St Mark's was joined in its conjoined church-state relationships by countless royal, princely, ducal, and episcopal chapels all over Europe. Not to be overlooked would be quite a few important monasteries and cathedrals. Though the secular powers often overstepped their place in times past it is still noteworthy that, unlike in our day, they sensed that their importance lay in the generous provision for glorifying God as gorgeously as possible. Not so the modern state, which glorifies itself and only calls on God when in peril.
  • KyleM18
    Posts: 150
    So, looking at this discussion from the perspective of a high school student who hopes to get into sacred music and hopefully create a rather large program, what exactly should I be doing? Is a degree necessary or not? How do I get this "experience"? Should I just give up on my dream? (Ignore that last one.)
    Thanked by 1EMH
  • By all means get degrees - from the best professors you can get to and afford. You will never be sorry that you did, and will be sorry if you didn't. Get experience by observing fine choirs and liturgy, or joining them - in Episcopal cathedrals or such if you must. If you are in college you can likely get on at a small local church which doesn't require advanced musicianship. Organ students do this all the time - invaluable for getting 'experience'. Also, make friends with outstanding church choirmasters and organists, and see if you can become an intern serving under one.

    Above all, Don't Give Up Your Dream!
    It is a gift and a calling from God.


    More about the degree controversy -

    True, a degree in organ and/or church choral directing from even the very best universities and professors will not necessarily prepare one for all the non-musical aspects of being a church musician. HOWEVER - IF one wants to excel as a church musician one will become as highly accomplished and knowledged as he is able, and will have earned and will hold the degrees and credentials to prove it. One's musical accomplishments are the bedrock of being a church musician. Otherwise, one is a mere administrator who is a disappointment as a musician. (We have too many of these [sopping up jobs that their betters should have], and, sadly, this seems to be all that many churches want.)

    (Further - I've noticed that those who most disrespectfully discount degrees and call them 'pieces of paper' are those who don't have them. Now, many who don't are fine musicians who have native ability that they have refined. Most, though, aren't, don't, and haven't.)
  • One caution - many, if not most, organ programs have the ultimate goal of producing a student recital of representative works from the repertoire.

    Students graduate with no knowledge of short repertoire to play before, during and after Mass. Hymn playing is also is often not covered.

    These are important questions to ask about when interviewing. They are interviewing you, but you need to interview them.

    For the working musician, often the AGO exams are more precisely aligned with the requirements of the job, and do include representative major works but within a balanced program.
  • I don't know how important a music degree is. Several musicians in top orchestras don't have any degree.
  • Otherwise, one is a mere administrator who is a disappointment as a musician. (We have too many of these [sopping up jobs that their betters should have], and, sadly, this seems to be all that many churches want.)

    Well, that's because that's what most priests are: administrators, and in many ways they have to be. I've learned in my experience that administrative minds like other administrative minds. It simply makes their lives easier to deal with someone who thinks like they do (doesn't it work that way for all of us, though?). Many priests want someone who will be able to see problems coming and resolve them through preventative maintenance. Most of the problems they're interested in, though, are not musical problems, but administrative ones, such as scheduling cantors, resolving disputes, money or marketing issues, etc. It's as I've said before, it's all about the priorities of the priest: what is important to him? The answer to that question will influence heavily what he perceives to be your most important duties, and therefore whether or not you are successfully doing your job. This is also why someone can be a substandard musician and still retain a position as a DM for many years: if that person has a good sense for business and administration, they can keep the priest happy, especially since most priests nowadays either don't know the difference between good music and poor music, or they don't care about it. It is worth mentioning, I think, that administrative types generally view music as a tool: a means to a specific end, and not a necessary part of life in its own right. In their eyes, your value as a musician will depend on to what end you serve administrative interests.

    Now, to the original post.

    I think I support the positive side of the proposition here: a music degree is definitely necessary if one wishes to be a parish musician. There are several questions which arise from this proposition, which I think are wise to consider:

    1. What is the difference between a musician with a degree and one without?

    One has attended an accredited school of music at the post secondary level, and the other has not.

    2. Is it possible to receive musical training without a degree?

    Yes. Many people take lessons on their respective instruments, or voices, and contribute to professional performing ensembles all over the country, and possibly the world.

    3. What is the difference between a trained musician and an untrained musician?

    This question is a bit more specific, and I think more to the point. A trained musician has been taught the rules of the art, and has studied and practiced the necessary skills to be able to follow them. "Untrained" is probably not the best term for what I mean here: perhaps "incomplete" is a bit more accurate as the trained musician has completed a program of study designed to produce a specific standard of performance. In essence, the degree indicates that the program of study has been completed, and that the specific standard of performance should be present.

    4. Why is that training necessary in order to do the job?

    Accompanying a choir or congregation, training/conducting a choir, and selecting appropriate repertoire requires a basic level of knowledge and training in order to successfully execute. It also depends on the nature of the training. Many music majors have professional training in instruments that really aren't used frequently in the liturgy: i.e. orchestral instruments such as flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, trumpet, horn, percussion, etc. You'd really want someone who has keyboard and voice training, especially since the Church places emphasis on these media, particularly the human voice.

    5. What level of training is necessary in order to do the job?

    I'm not actually sure if I can answer this one yet. At a minimum, you'd probably want someone who could play keyboards and sing. Again, the Church places emphasis on these areas.

    6. How do we ensure that a person has the necessary training?

    The degree is a good place to start, but I know places that require auditions, and that is really I think the best way: the proof is in the pudding, after all.

    For the working musician, often the AGO exams are more precisely aligned with the requirements of the job, and do include representative major works but within a balanced program.

    I second this. The AGO is a great organization for information regarding necessary musical skills for the liturgy.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,003
    Students graduate with no knowledge of short repertoire to play before, during and after Mass. Hymn playing is also is often not covered.

    It's my observation that many music-degreed people think like musicians instead of thinking like CHURCH musicians. That is, they have little--if any--sense of the liturgy as a whole.
    Thanked by 2francis CHGiffen
  • I have two music degrees. I chose to study music in college because it's what I do best and what I am passionate about. It was not until graduate school that I really started to think seriously about what I wanted from a musical life or what it wanted from me. It wasn't anything in a classroom that provided the answer, rather it was God himself. A decade of orchestral and chamber performing was already behind me when I became a church musician, and I had sense enough to join university choir as an undergrad, so I was definitely prepared on that end of things. As some here already said, to be a successful church musician a person needs the right mindset, they must be naturally spiritual or always working towards a stronger faith and relationship with God. College doesn't teach that. All that being said, having ANY degree helps you in life. I work outside of music as a florist and just got hired with a very large and prestigious floral design and event company in my town. Having a degree shows that you are mature, hard working, and willing to finish things. Prospective employers trust you more. I'd say having "some college" and an unfinished degree, ie: you dropped out-is worse than having no college experience at all.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,297
    Prospective employers trust you more. I'd say having "some college" and an unfinished degree, ie: you dropped out-is worse than having no college experience at all.
    Not if you "dropped out" because in the composition master class (at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in the 80s) they were throwing ping pong balls into the piano and plotting guttural sounds on graph paper instead of writing notes with stems on manuscript paper. When I am asked (and that is not very often) why I don't have the 'sheep skin' I simply tell them the truth and show them a stack of real music manuscripts that I created on my own time or play my own works on the organ. Case dismissed.

    At that point in time, the people who 'dropped out' of music were the establishment... we cave dwellers kept it alive. It eventually resurfaced as minimalism, and then quasi-authentic polyphony and neo romanticism...

    also see:
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,003
    Having a degree shows that you are mature, hard working, and willing to finish things

    I don't think you are willing to argue the converse, are you? That NOT having one shows immaturity, laziness......

    Perhaps you want to insert a modifier like 'having a degree COULD show....'
    Thanked by 2francis bhcordova
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,000
    Having a degree shows that you are mature, hard working, and willing to finish things.

    It can work both ways. In many cases, it can show the ability to start something then finish it. A desirable quality. I know individuals who are gifted to the point they never exert themselves much. They coast, do good enough to get by, and never develop their considerable talents to the degree they could.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • I will be 66 this coming January 7th, and I still don't have any degree. I've built pipe organs (also tuning and maintaining them), repaired woodwind instruments (with quite a bit of my woodworking and other pipe organ building skills making it an easy transition), been an Administrative Assistant (4 years at Catholic Radio Association), and am currently the Associate Musician and Financial Secretary at my parish. I have worked with and for many people who have multiple degrees, and I always found that there were things I know that they didn't. I love Gregorian Chant, as well as Anglican Chant and hymnody, but the groundwork for the Gregorian Chant is from 3rd-8th grades at a parochial school just before the sorrowing effects of Vatican took over everything! The music I worked on at university was not heading me for success at a Catholic parish, but the teaching of the Liturgy AND music in Catholic colleges was somewhere between a sad joke an insult to the Faith. I have always sought out parishes and priests to serve who were on the same page as I, and that included my 16 years at Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston. All three of my sons have degrees, only one of them a 2-year degree, and he is the one who has paid off his college loans while the other 2, and me, are still paying for years to come.

    My Mother always told me that "the day you stop learning will be the day you die." I don't think that sentiment is expressed anywhere in today's school system, public or private. I do not think a degree should be an absolute requirement to even get an interview with a prospective employer priest, but many Diocese's have just that particular requirement.

    I think things need to be done on all fronts to change how we look at "education".
  • EMH
    Posts: 41
    After lurking for awhile, I have a question: I'm an undergrad at a secular university studying choral music ed, with the intention of applying that knowledge to a job as a DoM. Aside from the Colloquium (which is a New Year's resolution for 2017 to attend!!), what liturgical documents or other works would you all recommend studying as a supplement? I have a few ideas already, like Musical Sacram and the GIRM.

    Merry Christmas,
    Thanked by 1KyleM18
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,530
    Welcome, Emma!
    For an introduction to the 20th-century music documents, see the article series "Buried Treasure" by Susan Benofy, on the website of "Adoremus".
    Thanked by 1EMH
  • EMH
    Posts: 41
    Thanks so much!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,297
    out of all I recommend two:


    This is the first and foremost document in the list which chonak has steered you to in the link above on buried treasure.

    2. The Papal Legislation on Sacred Music

    With these you will gain a wealth of knowledge on the wishes of the magesterium.

    PM me for more if you are interested.
    Thanked by 1EMH
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,003
    As to Francis' #2 above, that is the title of a book by Mgr. Hayburn. Buy it, STUDY it, and keep it for reference.
  • Emma, if you do not play the organ, learn how. That will greatly improve your chances of becoming gainfully employed as a DOM. Best of luck!
    Thanked by 2MarkS EMH
  • Sorry for the late reply, I've been away on vacation.

    @Francis: You make a great point and I won't argue that you did the right thing by leaving such a terrible waste of time. The reality many times, however, is that people drop out and do not succeed as you have.

    @dad29: I "could" add such a modifier. Unfortunately, those I knew who dropped out are indeed lazy and immature and continue to believe that life will hand them a job and respect without ever earning either. Just my experience, and I do know plenty of non degreed folks who have done well.

    That being said, how many conversations have we had here about non degreed DoM's getting into places they have no right to be, they barely read music, have little to no musical knowledge? I should know, I work under one...
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,297
    That being said, how many conversations have we had here about non degreed DoM's getting into places they have no right to be, they barely read music, have little to no musical knowledge? I should know, I work under one...
  • JesJes
    Posts: 559
    One of the best DoM's in Australia has no musical degree whatsoever.

    Our last sacred music degree had so little applicants it stopped running in 2010.
    It was devastating.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,304
    Anyone who hires on the basis of character displayed by sticking to a degree program instead of ability to deliver the goods shall have their reward: it's quite rash not to add "or equivalent" to one's requirements and I'd advise anyone who has the chops to consider that wording implicit when skimming the ads (my view is possibly colored by having a father who dropped out of Julliard to play for Toscanini and a mother with a high school degree who studied on her own and passed the Bar exam, becoming the first woman Federal Magistrate).

    If one is really so overwhelmed by the number of applicants that one can't audition them, the AGO certificate is a more reliable predictor of who can read music than some random BA, and the fee for the exam is (I think) still under $100. A PhD in Latin on the other hand might really tell you something ;-)
    Thanked by 1dad29