Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Give Chant a Chance

A new school year is just around the corner, and the bright young children will soon be sitting in their uniforms in our Catholic schools.

Now is the time to give them access to their hereditary music as Catholics: Gregorian chant.

Mary Ann Carr Wilson has surely taught two hundred young chanters this summer in her hugely successful summer Chant Camps, and although not everyone can travel to California for this experience, everyone can do something.

  • Begin with the presidential chants, even if only a recto tono (sung on one not) "The Lord be with you/ And with your spirit."
  • From there, sing the simplest chant ordinary, the Jubilate Deo Mass, which, as Pope Paul wrote, should be learned by all Catholics.
  • From there, sing a Psalm at Communion instead of a hymn. And from there, the sky is the limit.

Meanwhile, in classrooms, teach the children how to sing and how to read Gregorian chant. It will be good for them in every way, from posture to general liberal arts learning to contemplation.

It's always easy to think that kids will like the easiest music. But the single-voiced unharmonized music of chant, besides being perfectly age-appropriate, is genius composition, and will foster a love of music that will last a lifetime.
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