Contemporary Roman Catholic implementations of sacred music education have been functional in the worship experience as well as in catechesis. That is to say, sacred music has been treated primarily in terms of acquiring basic skills and techniques to perform a selection from a given repertory. Yet, sacred music, being music composed from religious influence, is vital in faith formation of children and can play a formative role in Catholic schools in early childhood education. Drawing on research in the multiple intelligence theory and the formation and trends of contemporary religious education, I will present a more expansive approach to the role of sacred music education in Catholic elementary schooling.
The USCCB document Sing To The Lord stresses the importance of active singing and the active listener within a worship setting (e.g., nos. 12-13).However, this cultivation of an active singing and listening cannot be developed only in a worship setting.
Educational theories state that music is a way of learning While not without its critics, Howard Gardiner’s multiple intelligences approach to learning and knowing remain important.
The General Directory for Catechesis pays specific attention to the multiple ways of learning to promote integral education (see GDC, nos. 84, 87, 189). This has been confirmed in the late Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Artists: The Church also needs musicians. How many sacred works have been composed through the centuries by people deeply imbued with the sense of the mystery! The faith of countless believers has been nourished by melodies flowing from the hearts of other believers. . . . In song, faith is experienced as vibrant joy, love, and confident expectation of the saving intervention of God (no. 12).
The purpose of this research is to give Roman Catholic school educators insight to different types of intelligences and ways of learning based on multiple intelligence research. I will also present practical techniques to implement with regard to sacred music in religious, elementary education and the formation of children’s faith in the classroom.
I. Introduction and description of research
II. Sacred music education
a. Contemporary state of sacred music education in Roman Catholic elementary schools
b. Importance of early childhood sacred music education
i. Enriching to students’ lives
ii. Faith formation
iii. Unique learning
c. Current teaching methods
III. Multiple intelligences (MI)
a. Concept explanation and trends in implementation
b. Oral/aural/visual learning
c. Music-based learning
i. Sacred music learning
ii. Pitch/Rhythmic based learning
d. Kinesthetic, synaesthetic, and Ritual learning
IV. Contributions of sacred music for faith formation
a. Common practice today and importance
b. Education techniques implementing M.I. theory
V. How sacred music could make a difference in faith formation
a. Why children should learn sacred music
b. When children should start to learn sacred music
c. Music improves memory and stimulus to other subject learning
d. Promoting spiritual growth/Formation of faith
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