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How do I become a catholic singer?

i want to become a very very good singer. I also want to write my own songs. I already write my own songs. I would also like to help people with my music.

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Edward’s Answer

If you are a Catholic, then you are a Catholic singer. If you are writing Christian Music type songs, then just keep on with honest clean good spiritual up lifting lyrics. Even if it is about your life and experiences relating to your Lord and life. Even Christian rappers have awesome messages and don't have to curse to get it across. Not putting any rappers down but it's just my view and opinion. Do everything related to music as far as studying to hone your craft but keep on your path to express to other Catholics and Christians alike your experiences and your love of God and your life in your music Good Luck to you, Peace In Music.
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Tony’s Answer

While I am not a professional singer or music minister, I have been involved in Catholic church ensembles at several different churches and with many excellent music ministers and cantors for several decades, so the following perspectives come from that experience.

To become a good Catholic singer, you should work on both your singing/music skills and your understanding of the Catholic faith, so that you can use your singing and music writing skills to support your Catholic community, both locally and globally. Like everything else in life, developing proficiency in singing, performing and composition requires practice - and so does observing and learning about your faith. Don't be discouraged if your singing isn't as good as someone else's or if your first attempts at composition are disappointing - use these as opportunities to learn and improve. Similarly, there may be aspects of Catholic traditions and theology in which you may not yet have a deep understanding, again the key is to keep practicing your faith and keep learning about it - participate in your faith beyond just showing up at mass every week!

If you want to become a very good singer, and especially if you want to be a professional singer, you should look for opportunities to take voice lessons with a teacher who can coach you on your singing. You should also avail yourself of every opportunity to sing in public, as a soloist or in a choir, where you can hone your singing skills and learn different styles of music, and where a choir director can offer singing advice as well as perspectives on singing in certain settings. If you are in high school, I recommend that you join school and church choirs, and also participate in solo opportunities such as recitals or acting as the cantor in a church. Drama activities - the school play - also provide opportunities to sing both as a soloist and as part of an ensemble. Look also for hobby or professional opportunities like singing in a band or singing solo in a cafe or other setting. The other thing to do is to observe other singers, especially soloists and cantors, and learn from the ones that are good - not just their singing style, but also how they interact with a choir, organist or ensemble and how they adapt to a specific setting or situation. And when you attend college, look for schools that have strong music majors; or if your primary career focus is elsewhere, look for colleges that at least have a healthy set of performing opportunities.

Being a Catholic singer or composer requires a solid knowledge of the Catholic faith. A good music minster will choose songs that support the readings at mass, look for that alignment so you can do it yourself. Look for opportunities to strengthen your faith through faith formation or other sessions that may be held at local churches, and of course at the university level there may be classes and even theology majors/minors to consider - just make sure that the classes are rooted in Catholic tradition, or at least not "anti-Catholic" as some courses may turn out to be! Just to be clear, I believe it is worth studying other Christian and non-Christian faith traditions in order to contrast them with the Catholic faith traditions, understand what misperceptions may exist about both Catholic and non-Catholic faiths, and to understand why some wonderful Christian music may not always be the best fit for a Catholic service (focus on understanding, not judgement!).

I'm not a composer, so I would recommend seeking inputs from others for advice. One thing that I do know is that a solid basis in music theory, and an understanding of the capabilities of different instruments (especially organ and piano) will help you to expand your composing skills. Piano lessons are strongly recommended.

Finally, seek out music ministers, cantors and performers and ask for their recommendations and to share their experiences in developing both their faith and their music skills.

Here are a couple more things to keep in mind:

- a song can be a form of prayer, try thinking of your singing or composing in that context

- singing at a mass or service is not a performance - the song should support the liturgy, not be the focus itself. There will be other opportunities to sing in a performance setting.
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