The Department of Liturgical Music of the Orthodox Church in America will once again be offering an online course entitled “Basic Sight-Singing and Ear Training for Church Singers,” beginning October 4, 2021.
“The class is designed specifically with the needs of singers in Orthodox church choirs,” according to Dr. Vladimir Morosan, who developed the course. “Our emphasis will be on the mastery of basic intervals, scales, and rhythms that are encountered in our liturgical hymns. In order to succeed in this course, a person needs to love to sing and be able to ‘carry a tune,’ but doesn’t need to have any prior instruction in music theory.”
“A course such as this is essential for our church singers,” continues Dr. Morosan. “We are a ‘singing Church,’ with a centuries-old tradition of singing Divine Services, which provides ample musical material for the teaching of basic sight-singing and ear training. The material we will cover in this course will also serve as a pre-requisite for those who may wish to take the ‘Beginning Conducting Techniques’ course at some point in the future.”
The course will consist of 10 weekly lessons, covered over a period of 11 weeks, starting on October 4 and concluding on December 17, with no class the week of Thanksgiving.
The course will be taught using the popular online Google Classroom platform, and will employ the time-tested “movable-tonic” (“SOL-FA”) system, which has been used to teach church chant and hymn singing for the past 1000 years, from Gregorian and Znamenny Chant to Colonial American hymnody. Topics covered will include intervals and scales, rhythmic notation, key signatures, and time signatures, using examples from liturgical hymns whenever possible. Students will be presented with numerous opportunities for auditory practice, learning to recognize and reproduce various intervals, recording them for the instructor’s evaluation and feedback.
Class presentations and listening exercises will be posted at weekly intervals within Google Classroom. Once the session is posted on the website, students can access the course material at any time of the day. The learner is expected to have completed the weekly assignments and be proficient in the melodic and rhythmic exercises by Friday of the week in which each session has been posted. The student should plan on spending between 30 and 45 minutes per day practicing the listening exercises assigned in each session.
Each learner is required to meet one-on-one with the instructor in Google Classroom for a 15-20 minute interactive session each week. These sessions provide an opportunity for each individual learner to demonstrate their mastery of the material and their ability to perform the exercises correctly. The interactive sessions also will enable the instructor to provide extra help and answer specific questions.
The author and developer of the course, Dr. Vladimir Morosan, has worked in the field of Orthodox church music for close to 50 years, as a choir director, scholar, and music publisher. He has been an instructor at numerous church music institutes, seminars, and workshops, and has taught at Kenyon College, Davidson College, and St. Katherine University.
Students may register and pay the course fee of $300.00 here. The on-line course is limited to 20 students on a first-come first-served basis, and registration will be closed after September 24, 2021.
Participants will need a laptop or desktop computer with an internet connection, and a smartphone that can be used to record exercises. They will also need a computer headset with a microphone, which can be purchased for under $20. Each student will need to create a Google account (if they do not already have one), which will provide them with access to Google Classroom.