Discussion is going forward at a number of Catholic institutions of higher learning with which I am acquainted about the advisability of starting or continuing an academic program in sacred/liturgical music. All conceptualize this program as interdisciplinary, but they are frequently split on whether the program should be “housed” in a music department, a theology/religious studies department, or some other academic “home”. All conceptualize the outcome of the program in terms of degrees or certificates granted.
I would like to poll Pray Tell’s readers about the kind of person they would hope to meet and/or hire who had studied in such a program. In other words, I’m trying to think about such a program in terms of the “product” at which it aims. What kind of skills should a graduate of a B.A. program in liturgical music demonstrate? Another way of saying this might be: What would a pastor or business administrator or hiring committee expect of a freshly graduated person holding a B.A. in liturgical music? If possible, could readers respond concretely in one or more of the following areas:
1) Musical (e.g., must be able to play the organ accurately to accompany congregation or choir; desirable to be able to play the piano or guitar similarly)
2) Liturgical (e.g., must be able to read and decipher an Ordo to determine what liturgical elements are appointed for Eucharistic worship and the Liturgy of the Hours each day; desirable to have a good grasp of the historical development of the Eucharist, other sacraments, and the liturgical year)
3) Theological (e.g., must be able to show how liturgical worship embodies theological convictions about God, creation, humanity, etc.; desirable to have knowledge of how the Church has come to those convictions through history)
4) Administrative (e.g., must be able to organize and communicate with singers, instrumentalists, lectors, servers/acolytes, ushers, and clergy; desirable to create and maintain a budget)
5) Pastoral (e.g., must be able to work collaboratively with other members of the parish team, especially the clergy; desirable to be able to write bulletin columns explaining or exploring worship practices)
Notice that these are simply suggestions. I thank you in advance for your interest in this topic.