Saturday, January 18, 2014

Gregorian Chant Workshop

On Saturday, I had the privilege of attending a seven-hour workshop on how to teach Gregorian chant to children, based on the Words with Wings program. The workshop was taught by author Arlene Oost-Zinner herself, an accomplished musician and a delightful teacher.

Knowing I was taking a 12-month-old with me, I came prepared. Joseph lasted on my back in the Ergo and crawling in the hallway for a while, but before lunch I was camped out in the adjacent library room listening to the teacher via a baby monitor. My system worked great and I could hear her clearly!

I sat and did my classwork . . .

. . . while Joseph crawled around the spacious room which we had all to ourselves. (There were 15 women students and four babies in tow, a little phenomenon which falls under "You Know You're Catholic When" . . .)

When Joseph tuckered out, he slept in my lap while I continued taking notes.

Meanwhile, back at the house, Chris put the girls down for naps Daddy-style: they slept where they dropped!

I came home delighted to a clean house, as the children had taken it upon themselves to clean up, even sweeping the kitchen and making sure there was nothing on their bedroom floors. Wow!

The day went well and now I feel well-equipped to use this program to teach beginning chant to my children. I can read music (four-line chant) for the first time in my life.

I noticed how positively I felt about the way today progressed and knew it was my current perspective. If I'd been a first-time mom, I'd have felt the day was nearly ruined by having Joseph with me. I was in and out of the classroom all morning. I never got to sit down for the first half. Either the baby was on my back while I swayed back and forth, trying to take notes, or I was chasing him up and down the hall, catching snippets of what I could hear each time I passed the open door. Or the baby was crawling around, risking hurting the other smaller babies with his exuberance, so I'd have to leave my conversations with other ladies during break time to chase him. I had to leave four or five more times just to change diapers. Then I had to sit all by myself in the library the rest of the afternoon in order to participate at all. Harumph!

But since I'm a fourth-time mom whose perspective is getting a little better all the time, I felt it was a great success! First of all, with children sick for the last two weeks, I thought I wouldn't be able to go and would miss this opportunity that had been on my calendar for nearly a year. I woke this morning and realized I could go, as Joseph seemed so much better, but still I went with the expectation of not being able to participate. But it turns out that I could participate, maybe even more than half the time! Joseph was happy and had no long crying spells, only a few short ones. I got to visit at some length with at least three girlfriends. And the salad served for my lunch was one of the best salads I've had in memory. All in all, a really neat day.

What a powerful thing perspective is!

I will share a two-part article by another mother of four children in seven years entitled "I Signed Up for This" and "I Signed Up for This, Too."  They are powerful reminders (and hilarious articles) that speak at least to women like me who are fulfilling my life's dream by being a mother and homemaker. I signed up for this and thank God I did!


  1. I'm so glad you had an enjoyable time. And thank you for the bonus reading. I needed that.

  2. How smart of you to put the monitor to such good use! What a clever solution.

    I'm glad it was so enjoyable.

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  4. What a lovely workshop! Wish one of us could have attended with you. I love the pictures of daddy style nap time. Too funny!