“Additional efforts are needed to train men and women for the ministry of music. Colleges and universities offering courses of studies in liturgical music, as well as a growing number of regional and diocesan centers for the formation of liturgical ministers, are encouraged to initiate or to continue programs which develop musical skills and impart a thorough understanding of the liturgy of the Church.” (Liturgical Music Today, # 65)
“It is recommended also that higher institutes of sacred music be established whenever possible.” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, # 115)
Those called to the vocation of liturgical music director must first acquire foundational musical skills. CRCCM strongly urges the further development of undergraduate and graduate academic degree programs that teach the specific skills required, including the study of organ, vocal training and conducting. Collegiate study culminating in academic degrees provides evidence that an individual has acquired these necessary foundational skills. Formal musical study should be coupled with liturgical formation and practical experience. So formed, the individual will be well prepared to enter the profession upon completion of study.
The National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) offers certification programs for organists and Directors of Music Ministry. The American Guild of Organists (AGO) offers a extensive certification program for both organists and choir directors. Some levels of certification are dual awards from the AGO and NPM. The certification process can be a useful way to acquire or improve necessary skills.
CRCCM supports the efforts being made in developing standards for liturgical musicians by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The “National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministry,” published jointly by the National Association for Lay Ministry, the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership, the National Federation of Youth Ministry and the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, includes standards for “Directors of Music Ministry.”
The well-trained liturgical musician will have many years of musical training, typically extending from childhood to four or more years of college and post-graduate study. In addition years are spent in specialized formation in liturgy received through formal education, workshops, seminars or study. Those individuals who meet the qualifications described above should be compensated justly.