The Vocalist Training Program seeks to provide the qualified singer with the skills and training needed to successfully serve as a cantor, soloist, or chorister in a parish setting through a low-cost, goal-oriented, and flexible pedagogical structure. Lessons are taught by members of the archdiocesan Music Commission and other highly-qualified vocalists throughout the Archdiocese.
Interested students are directed by the Office of Liturgy to a prospective instructor. The instructor then determines whether a student has the potential to benefit from the program. Qualified students should be able to demonstrate some proficiency in matching pitch and basic vocal technique, possess an interest in the ministry of music, and have a desire to improve musical skills through a commitment to regular practice.
Each semester (September-December; January-May; June-August) of instruction consists of 10 half-hour lessons. The cost for each semester is $400.00. A student is encouraged to seek the sponsorship of his/her pastor and parish, but a student may also pay his/her own tuition. Payments are made directly to the instructor.
Students must have access to a space for regular practice. Text materials and printed music are essential elements of the instruction and are required, as per the direction of the instructor. Copies of service music, psalmody, and hymns from the student’s parish repertoire should be made available to the student by the parish.
Lessons are scheduled either at the instructor’s or student’s church at the discretion of the instructor. The location of the lessons will be decided in advance of the beginning of each semester. If student is under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian must be present for the entirety of each lesson.
The Vocalist Training Program offers two certificates which serve as evidence of skills achieved. Evaluation to grant the certificates is through an adjudicated jury before the private instructor plus at least one member of the Archdiocesan Music Commission. All certificates require demonstration of sight-reading ability.
The “Cantor Certificate” is granted when the student is able to sing, with a minimum number of mistakes, a sampling of service music and psalmody representing his/her parish repertoire, as well as five hymns selected from a prescribed list. The “Chorister Certificate” places more emphasis on choral repertoire of the masters and is granted when a student is able to sing his or her part in five pieces from a prescribed list. There is no minimum timetable for the completion of either certificate. Students are allowed to progress at their own pace.