Human loves are cyclical, and now, after a dry spell of several years, my great enthusiasm is the making of music.
Before I went to college I was quite musical. I had regular piano lessons over the course of twelve years, and studied viola for three years as a teenager. My family sings all the time, and not badly, either -- my sister, in particular, has been carrying off honors and winning vocal competitions for a few years . When I went to school, however, I stopped practicing my instruments, and I stopped singing, mainly because I lacked the confidence to sound less than polished in such a public setting. My one semester of voice class was an experience so utterly confusing that I came to the conclusion that I had no talent whatsoever.
Several factors have contributed to make me more confident musically: having the privacy of my own house in which to experiment and just be silly; having acquired a violin and (more importantly) a fine piano, and falling in with some young friends who are enough like my own family that I feel comfortable making merry music with them. And after a number of years I'm finally starting to assimilate what my voice teacher was trying to pound into my head.
Right now, my huge source of motivation is the proposed schola. I have been spending every spare minute learning chant. I listen to chant. I lurk on sacred music sites looking for advice. I have downloaded the Graduale Romanum. I dream about singing (no, literally). The basic, more hymn-like chants have been easy to learn, especially as I can already read neumes and can sight-sing. Not so easy is Ad te levavi, the Introit for the first Sunday of Advent. I wonder if some chant you have to hear to learn -- I finally had to find a recording and follow along before I could understand the vocal line. Perhaps part of the problem is thinking in terms of "tune". Chant follows its own internal logic, and that doesn't necessarily bear any resemblance to the logic and patterns of other forms of music.
Maybe some of you music types out there can give me some pointers. When I figure out how to post recordings, I'll put up some of my efforts for critique.
St. Francis Xavier
16 minutes ago