The course is devoted to the study of the liturgical order of the Orthodox Church. Students will study the historical development and structure of the Typicon - the main book regulating worship, as well as other liturgical books, their meaning and function in Orthodox worship. Various sections of the liturgical order will be considered: on the first course - Sunday worship in Russian and Greek practices, on second year - daily and Saturday worship and Divine Liturgy, in the third year - festive worship, worship periods of the Lenten and Coloured Triodions, as well as the temple domes of the Typicon. Students will gain a deeper understanding of structure and meaning of Orthodox worship, its internal semantic load and theological richness.
The study of the basic elements of music theory for the subsequent understanding and analysis of musical compositions. Topics covered: intervals, modal and tonal concepts, chord progressions and harmonization, open and closed harmony, different types of triads and seventh chords, their inversions and resolutions, phrase structure, voicing and cadential progressions. Also, this course includes sight-singing and the development of musical ear. Topics covered include all major and minor keys, intervals, chords, chromatisms and modulations. Different sizes and rhythmic patterns are studied, a musical dictation is given.
Liturgical Performance Practice
This course offers the study of the practical aspects of preparing and conducting individual parts of the All-Night Vigil and the Divine Liturgy; the necessary components of the successful functioning of the kliros are considered (conducting rehearsals, organization of the library, location of the choristers, etc.), time is allotted to the spiritual content of the kliros obedience.
Church Slavonic / Reading
The course is an introduction to the Church Slavonic language, liturgical language of the Russian Orthodox Church. Students will study basics of spelling, grammar and vocabulary of the Church Slavonic language focusing on modern liturgical texts. Students will receive understanding the historical and cultural context of Church Slavonic language and its development in the Slavic countries. The course will also cover practical aspects of reading and singing in Church Slavonic, including letter pronunciation, stress and intonation. By the end of the course students will gain a solid foundation in the language and will be able to read and translate basic liturgical texts into Church Slavonic.
The section "Reading" is intended for practical training in reading various liturgical texts, assimilation of their features and differences.
Choir Master Techniques
This course is dedicated to the conducting of the choir, the study and acquisition of elementary conducting skills, the difference in metric sizes of musical works, the ability to set the tone, the skills of using a tuning fork; peculiarities and differences of conducting technique when singing according to texts, when performing musical works with the specified time signature (2/4, 3/4, 4/4) and without it.
This course focuses on the three main elements of choral sonority: ensemble, intonation and nuance, and also provides singers with guidance on mastering the technique of choral singing. Topics include: the difference between a choir and a group of people singing; the difference between the sound of the choir and the assembly of those who sing; why one choir sounds better than another; and what can be done to improve the sound of the choir.
Also, during the studying, all students are expected to participate in the services held in the church. To do this, separate time is allotted to prepare for the upcoming services, general rehearsals are held, and a potential choir director is selected to partially or fully lead the choir during the service.
History of church music
The course provides a description of the main periods in the history of Russian sacred music (antiquity and the Middle Ages, modern and recent times, the Soviet period and the Russian diaspora); the main events and stylistic directions of the periods (antiquity, middle ages, baroque, classicism and romanticism) are considered. It also discusses the most prominent authors of sacred music, choir directors and choirs; outstanding musical works of sacred music of various periods are studied. The topic of training church musicians in various historical periods is discussed. Particular attention in the course is given to presenting to students the methods of studying Russian sacred music. The course is illustrated with audio recordings (including archival ones) and musical examples from the vast repertoire of Russian choral music.
These classes explore a practical approach to singing. The basic principles of breath support, head and chest resonance, articulation and phonation are studied in relation to Russian choral church singing. What can and cannot be done while singing. Additional private lessons are available.