torsdag 13 december 2012

Why children should learn Gregorian chant

The other day I went to a concert of Christmas music performed by a group of young children. They were, I would guess, between ten and twelve years old and sang beautifully and competently, having learned both the words and music by heart.

We tend to underestimate the abilities of children. They would have no difficulty in picking up the Gregorian chant hymns that Catholic children would have learnt as a matter of course at any time up till around 1970. This music is a key element in the cultural heritage of the church, and it is more than a shame that it is still being denied to the coming generation. And I believe it is more serious than that. Music has a hold on people. Eventually we want to return to that which was familiar in our childhood.

A priest said to me the other day that children drift away after confirmation and most of them never enter a church again. Teach them the music young, and perform it regularly within the liturgy and I believe that many will stay, and others will return later in life.

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