About this blogger:
Veronica Brandt holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering. As editor, she has produced fine publications (as well as valuable reprints) dealing with Gregorian chant, hymnody, Latin, and other subjects. These publications are distinguished on account of their tastefulness. She lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband Peter and five children.
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“In spite of what it is currently called, the music of these songs is not modern: this musical style is not new, but has been played in the most profane places and surroundings (cabarets, music halls, often for more or less lascivious dances with foreign names). The people are led on to rock or swing. They all feel an urge to dance about. That sort of “body language” is certainly alien to our Western culture, unfavorable to contemplation and its origins are rather suspect. Most of the time our congregations, which already find it hard not to confuse the crochets and the quavers in a 6/8 bar, do not respect the rhythm; then one no longer feels like dancing, but with the rhythm gone to pieces, the habitual poorness of the melodic line becomes all the more noticeable.”
— Unnamed choirmaster (Northern France) circa 1986

Restoring Catholic Music in the Home
published 15 June 2013 by Veronica Brandt

LITTLE WHILE AGO another mother said she would like to teach her children good hymns but she had no idea where to start. She had a feeling that the music at her local parish was not enough and she could do better, but with no training she felt totally inadequate to the task.

My first reaction was – just go trawl youtube and see what you like. That’s what I would do. But I have twenty years or more experience of trawling through hymnbooks. Much of this music is totally new to most of the Catholic population. It’s like someone wanting to learn to swim and pointing to the ocean and saying “Go for your life! Heaps of water in there.”

But, on the other hand, taste in music is subjective, especially in what you sing at home. The whole point of hymns is to be an aid to prayer. If it works for your family, then go for it! Everyone in the house is going to have different favourites. By listening to their feedback, your own family’s style will emerge.

Keep fishing for new music too. The more you learn, the more you can learn. Music directors keep getting told to slow down introducing new music, but in the home that doesn’t matter so much. Your group is smaller and easier to manoeuvre than the average parish.

Something I realised I could do to help was to post a new hymn and chant each week. So far I’ve managed three weeks. I send out an email each Friday with the links. There’s also a little copywork sheet with a few words from the upcoming Sunday’s gospel (Extraordinary Form so far). See brandt.id.au if this appeals to you.

In necessities, unity. In doubtful matters, liberty. In all things, charity.