The Diocese of Cologne offers children’s choir management training

DOMRADIO.DE: With this training for new performers, you are consciously promoting children’s choirs. why?

Matthias Rutger (regional cantor in the Deanship of the Mittmann District): I hope there will be singing in many institutions, both in parishes and in churches, but also in elementary school, in a daycare center, in a nursing home that is open all day.

But I often have the feeling that teachers don’t even dare sing with the kids because they say they didn’t learn it that way. Even as experts, we always have a feeling we can make adjustments. For example, they often sing too low.

Matthias Rutger, regional canter in the deanship of the Mittmann district

“We really want to reach a lot of people who have musical skills.”

DOMRADIO.DE: What would be important for someone noticing it to say it’s appropriate?

Rutger: The most important thing is to have good musical taste and sound. We don’t even assume great skill in machines. Of course it’s fine to play an instrument, but that’s not really important.

The conductor of the children’s choir should lead the group with their voice. A professional actor who lives nearby deals with this applicant and you see if the voice works well, if you can sing something, and if you can gossip. Well, you don’t have to play the piano sonata.

At the end of 2020, 1,868,567 Catholics belonged to the Diocese of Cologne. This is 37,335 less than the previous year. The drop consists of 17,281 people leaving the church (2019: 24,298) and the difference between deaths (27,220) and baptisms (7,845, 2019: 13,438).

DOMRADIO.DE: But distinguish the bass clef from the treble clef…

Rutger: Also not necessarily. Because the children’s choir songs at the beginning are all in the treble clef. We really want to reach a lot of people who have musical skills.

DOMRADIO.DE: What does the candidate learn next while training with you? Liturgy for example?

Rutger: Yes, an overview of the ecclesiastical year will be presented in a combined seminar. But above all, we impart basic musical knowledge – a little music theory, but also everything at a low level.

We always try to conduct a typical children’s choir rehearsal with the participants. As the lesson progresses, participants in this course will also take individual exercise items.

But we also study after the Cologne Choir School. This is a choral school, after which one learns to sing according to the notes in a very systematic way. And we do some multiplication techniques – how do I run a group?

DOMRADIO.DE: A children’s choir can mean anything. Training for all age groups?

Rutger: We have ten lessons. Eleven o’clock after that he awarded certificates and studied literature. In these units we pass through the full spectrum.

We mainly focus on the primary school sector. But we would also like to cover the kindergarten area with our example songs, and then also in easy two-part music – that would be the fifth and sixth school year.

In principle, we try to transfer basic knowledge to the entire spectrum of children’s choirs.

DOMRADIO.DE: Anyone interested should contact very soon. Information can be found on the website of the Diocese of Cologne. After the summer vacation begins.

Rutger: Yes, by the 1st of June you should have a contact interview with a contact person on site, i.e. with me or a contact person in Bonn, so that everything goes through the bureaucracy and you are registered on time.

DOMRADIO.DE: Those who are accepted for training pay a flat rate. It’s not supposed to be free.

Rutger: No, the training cost is 250 euros. But the cost of the Cologne Choir School set is 99 euros from Carus-Verlag. This is included, for example. Then there will not be much money left.

But then the speakers have to pay for it, too. The singing teacher conducts vocal training with the participants. So there are certain costs involved. The whole thing is certainly a benefit to the Diocese of Cologne.

The interview was conducted by Tobias Frick.

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