|“The Martyrdom of St. Cecilia”
Carlo Saraceni, 1610
Today’s the feast of St. Cecilia, patron saint of musicians.
Fun fact: She’s also the patron saint of luthiers – those who create or repair stringed instruments. My husband used to take his gee-tar to a guy named Jimmy. We called him “Jimmy the Luthier.” Doesn’t that sound like a great mobster name?
I’m the patron non-saint of going off topic.
So, without further diversions, I present to you a non-comprehensive roundup of links for music education. I direct our church’s new children’s choir and also teach a small homeschool music class. Here are some of the resources I’ve found useful.
First off, there’s the American Federation of Pueri Cantores, which is the Student Choral Organization of the Catholic Church. We’re not actually members yet, but their website has a wealth of organizational links for choir directors, sources of free music, and music education resources. They have a conference every summer which I’d love to attend, in a world of infinite resources.
A related resource is Lee Gwozdz’ Toys That Teach curricular DVD. Gwozdz is the Director of Music for the fabulous music program at the Corpus Christi Cathedral, and we realllllly want to take a little field trip over to Corpus one Sunday to hear the youth choirs for ourselves. The DVD has all sorts of cute techniques to teach children to sing, and they’ve all been a big hit with my choir members.
Kenneth Phillips’ Teaching Kids to Sing is my go-to source for educating myself further about all aspects of working with children’s voices. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s worth it. Or you can do what I did, and ask your library to order a copy. I think it was originally written as a textbook for university-level coursework in music education, and I have found it to be incredibly comprehensive.
Noel Jones of Basic Chant has several great books available, some as free downloads. I have seen a preview copy of the Gregorian Chant Coloring Book that he’ll be publishing in early 2011, and I think it’s really clever. He is a frequent contributor to the Musica Sacra forum, which has a whole section on music education for children. He’s been very helpful and responsive in answering questions for me and other relative newcomers.
Last, I have really enjoyed using Michiko Yurko’s Music Mind Games materials for teaching concepts like reading music, understanding solfege (do-re-mi), and especially teaching rhythm. Her book, Music Mind Games, provides instructions for a variety of games.
I know there’s all sorts of other great resources out there – any you’d like to recommend?
Catechist Chat will be an ongoing series of posts for teachers in religious education programs. It is based on my personal experience and not on any statistical evidence of the effectiveness of my advice. Suscribe to my feed to follow along, and Caveat lector, which is Latin for “your mileage may vary.”
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