The Cantor Education Roadmap


The page describes the online classes that are part of the Metropolitan Cantor Institute's cantor education curriculum. Classes are offered on a regular schedule throughout the year, and the entire sequence of courses can be completed in as little as two years.

Classes are taught through the Moodle distance learning system. All you need to take these courses is a computer or other Internet-connected device, speakers or headphones, and a microphone though which you can record your singing. (Certain courses, such as Introduction to Liturgy, have no singing component, and recording capability is not needed.)

Classes for Everyone

These classes are available at no charge to anyone interested in learning about the liturgy and musical tradition of our church. They are offered year-round, and can be taken at any time.

Class Length Prerequisites
Introduction to Liturgy 8 weeks none
Introduction to Church Singing 8 weeks none (some singing experience recommended)
Reading in Church 4 weeks Introduction to Church Singing

To enroll, simply request a user ID and password by pointing a web browser to http://mci.archpitt.org/online. Click on Log in (in the upper right), then on Create new account. Once you have your ID and password, log in to Moodle at http://mci.archpitt.org/online and select one of the free courses, then click on Enroll me in this course. If you encounter any problems, please contact us at mci@archpitt.org!

Note: The Introduction to Church Singing class requires a fair amount of instructor time for each student. Therefore, this class is available free only to members (clergy, cantors, and parishioners) of the Byzantine Catholic Church in the United States. When requesting a user ID, please provide your parish membership in the form "parish, city, state"; for example, "St. Mary's, Morgantown, WV". Non-church members who desire to enroll in Introduction to Church Singing should fill out and submit this form.

Once all three classes are completed satisfactorily, the student will receive the Reader badge, and can enroll in the classes specifically for cantors.

Classes for Cantors

The first three classes in the "Basic Course" for cantors cover the essentials of our liturgy and chant, and are taught twice a year. It is not necessary to take all the courses in the same six-month period.

Class Length Prerequisites
When offered
Introduction to the Divine Liturgy 8 weeks Introduction to Liturgy and Introduction to Church Singing Jan-Feb July-Aug
Introduction to the Eight Tones 8 weeks Introduction to Church Singing Mar-Apr Sept-Oct
Introduction to the Typikon 4 weeks Introduction to Liturgy May-June Nov-Dec

To sign up, fill out the Basic Course registration form and sent it in. (If the class has already started or is about to start, contact me at mci@archpitt.org so I can add you right away.)

Once all classes in the Basic Course are completed, the student will receive the Apprentice Cantor badge, and can enroll in the Intermediate Course. These classes teach the necessary skills to lead the singing at Vespers and the Divine Liturgy on ordinary Sundays and feast-days throughout the year.

Class Length
When offered
The Liturgical Year 8 weeks Jan-Feb July-Aug
The Divine Liturgy 8 weeks Mar-Apr Sept-Oct
The Office of Vespers 8 weeks May-June Nov-Dec
Mastering the Eight Tones 8 weeks May-June Nov-Dec

To sign up, fill out the Intermediate Course registration form and sent it in. (If the class has already started or is about to start, contact me at mci@archpitt.org so I can add you right away.)

Once all classes in the Intermediate Course are completed, the student will receive the Journeyman Cantor badge, and can enroll in the Advanced Course. These classes cover special services throughout the year, and can be taken in any order.

Class Length When offered
The Great Fast and Holy Week 8 weeks January-February
From Pascha to All Saints 8 weeks March-April
Services for the Living 8 weeks May-June
Hierarchical Services and Reader Services 6 weeks July-August
Services for the Departed 8 weeks September-October
Services of Christmas and Theophany 6 weeks November-December

To sign up, fill out the Advanced Course registration form and sent it in. (If the class has already started or is about to start, contact me at mci@archpitt.org so I can add you right away.)

Once all classes in the Advanced Course have been completed, the student may request an in-person examination for cantor certification, either in his or her home parish, or at a major event such as an eparchial pilgrimage. A Certification of Completion from the Metropolitan Cantor Institute, signed by the cantor's bishop, is awarded for completion of all coursework and a successful in-person demonstration of the cantor's ability to lead and sing the services.

How MCI Online classes work

One you are registered for a class, log in to Moodle regularly, and complete the class lessons in order. Although most classes are based on an 8-week schedule, you can do the assignments at your own pace. For effective learning, each class should be completed within 90 days; extensions can be granted.

To complete a class, simply finish all the individual steps in the class; Moodle keeps track of these for you. The goal is for you to learn the basics of liturgy, singing, and plain chant, and (over time) demonstrate your ability to (a) sing the services properly, and (b) lead congregational singing successfully.

What if I'm already a cantor?

Since each class includes background information on leadership and practical aspects of church singing, and builds on the material taught in earlier classes, we recommend that even experienced cantors take all courses in the program. Since students can work at their own pace, skilled cantors will find that they can complete some courses in much less than the standard eight weeks.

For more information

Contact MCI Director Jeffrey Mierzejewski at (412) 735-1676, or by e-mail at mci@archpitt.org.