"Child Friendliness"

Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

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Hare
Posts: 601
Joined: Fri Jun 18, 2004 12:12 pm
Parish / Diocese: Home Counties

"Child Friendliness"

Post by Hare »

I have often been told that the musical parts of the Mass in our parish are not "Child Friendly". This begs the question, "What is is meant by Child-Friendly" ?

These are the "Non-Child-Friendly" crimes apparently committed:-

"Traditional" hymns (which are used alongside Walker, Inwood, Farrell, Dean, Schutte, etc, Taizé, Kendrick, Iona.....

Use of Latin (PP insists on Credo III every week)

Use of cantors

Not singing the "Caribbean" Our Father

Playing the organ


Comments please! :?

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contrabordun
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Joined: Sun May 23, 2004 4:20 pm

Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by contrabordun »

Did anybody think to warn the occupants of the stage left seating stand at Cofton?
Paul Hodgetts

Hare
Posts: 601
Joined: Fri Jun 18, 2004 12:12 pm
Parish / Diocese: Home Counties

Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by Hare »

contrabordun wrote:Did anybody think to warn the occupants of the stage left seating stand at Cofton?



:lol:

The loudest protesters in my parish (2 families) have not been seen for over 4 months, but have friends who still attend. I was just hoping that word may get back if I try to be accomodating, and they will start coming again.... My wife says I am living in cloud cuckoo land here.

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Gwyn
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Parish / Diocese: Archdiocese of Cardiff
Location: Abertillery, South Wales UK

Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by Gwyn »

"What is is meant by Child-Friendly" ?

Musical items/styles that certain adults pressume children will or do like - usually without any consultation with children.

docmattc
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 11:42 am
Parish / Diocese: Westminster
Location: Near Cambridge

Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by docmattc »

Even if the pieces you describe are not child friendly (and Gwyn is right in his definition). Is there a requirement that all music in the parish Mass must be 'Child Friendly'?

Is 'Child friendly music' universally 'adult friendly'? Musicians have an obligation to provide music which enriches the prayer of all present, not just to cater for the (presumed) needs/tastes of the children.

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presbyter
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Parish / Diocese: youknowalready
Location: elsewhere

Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by presbyter »

contrabordun wrote:Did anybody think to warn the occupants of the stage left seating stand at Cofton?


Or Stage Right, come to that, where one of the trebles in the schola told the director of music that he was eight years old.

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VML
Posts: 717
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Parish / Diocese: Clifton Diocese
Location: Glos

Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by VML »

"Child Friendliness"? Our daughter's PP had a small Viscount practice organ surplus to requirement. It is now in the grandsons' attic playroom where the 4 year old plays trains listening to the preset Bach pieces.

JW
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Location: Kent

Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by JW »

Many parishes and schools have tried to be 'child friendly' for years - and yet there are very few young people in our churches. If there was such an obvious way of connecting with young people that works it would have been done years ago. Years ago when nobody tried to be child friendly our churches were full of young people. As a young organist in the 1970's I was considered out of date and out of touch with liturgical trends (folk groups etc) and I happily ceded to guitar groups. However, many of these folk who replaced me have disappeared or do not commit to playing and behold, I now supply the music for our main Mass.

The reasons that young people don't attend Mass are far more complex than whether 'If I Were A Butterfly' is scheduled. Music is, after all, not the most important part of Sunday Mass - Jesus is present in his Word and Body & Blood in precedence to any music. I take the view that if folk want 'child friendly' stuff, they are free to run the music (or find someone likeminded who will) but no-one ever seems to be interested despite all the music education that has gone on over the years. There's little point trying to be trendy if you're not and the majority of people in our churches are way past 60.
JW

HallamPhil
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Parish / Diocese: St Lawrence Diocese of St Petersburg
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by HallamPhil »

When I was Director of Music in St Ignatius College in Enfield each week I had to lead a hymn practice for each year group of about 200 teenage boys. The music which achieved the greatest response was that which did not invade or come close to their preferred music space. I other words traditional hymns which were miles away from their chosen listening would elicit the greatest volume. Of course there were also some good responses in other styles but it was almost as though anything which solicited a deeply personal connection with their own experience was not going to work. Not that surprising really.

Now as Director of Music in the Diocese of Hallam I recommend the CLOW music of Walker (Stories & Songs of Jesus, Music for CLOW, We are the Church) Farrell (Share the Light) and World Music from Iona collections etc. This works in Primary School celebrations where children are obviously in the majority. Some of this may be transferrable to the Parish Mass as the theology is often deeper and more appropriately Gospel-based than much that may be deployed in the Parish celebrations. Even if there is no cross-fertilisation children will pick up by osmosis the Parish repertoire if they are regular attenders and if there is sufficient music which is repeated over several Sundays. They may also more readily join in with whatever they experience their parents (and any adults around them) singing!!!!

alan29
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Location: Wirral

Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by alan29 »

I wonder how cathedral choirs have managed all those years with all that child-unfriendly music.
Sounds like people trying to hide their own taste by patronising children.

dunstan
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Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by dunstan »

Just reread this thread from four years ago. Worth another look, the same questions are coming up.
It's not a generation gap, it's a taste gap.

johnquinn39
Posts: 450
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 4:44 pm
Parish / Diocese: Birmingham

Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by johnquinn39 »

Hare wrote:I have often been told that the musical parts of the Mass in our parish are not "Child Friendly". This begs the question, "What is is meant by Child-Friendly" ?

These are the "Non-Child-Friendly" crimes apparently committed:-

"Traditional" hymns (which are used alongside Walker, Inwood, Farrell, Dean, Schutte, etc, Taizé, Kendrick, Iona.....

Use of Latin (PP insists on Credo III every week)

Use of cantors

Not singing the "Caribbean" Our Father

Playing the organ


Comments please! :?


This is a bit of a sore point for me. In the late 90's, I helped out with a flourishing choir - we were exploring the sung parts of the Mass (our PP declared 'Let's make this a proper sung Mass - where we sing the psalm and everything!'). Okay, we made some mistakes, but I think things were heading in the right direction. We had some children and young people in our midst, and they became involved in singing and indeed composing for the Psalms.

Then - an 'opposition' group was set up. A young music teacher gave a talk from the altar saying that this was now the time to involve children and young people. The youngsters were withdrawn from the choir, and a new group was set up. The acclamations and psalm were no longer sung. A local CCM group supplied a lot of, in my view, derivitive and mediocre music . Some of the texts, I believe, had not been thought out (do we believe that truth decays?).

I work in the music department of a large library in the midlands. Children and young people borrow CD's, printed music, and DVD's of a huge range of music - Rock, Reggae, Classical, Contemporary (Ligeti, Boulez etc.), Jazz, Gospel, Folk etc. We also supply CCM music to people of all ages. This is a minority or niche section, and I think that children and young people who already go to Church like some of this.

Having seen the National Children's Choir in action recently sing music from over the centuries, including John Rutter's 'Mass of the children' - I cannot believe that they did not enjoy this - the joy and animation in them was infectious. I have also been to a children's Mass where a Mass setting by Stephen Dean, songs by Walker and Farrell, 'traditional' hymns accompanied on the organ were sung by the youngsters with great enthusiasm.

Hare, I would be very interested to know exactly shat was deemed to be not 'child-friendly'. Was it the texts themselves (Psalm, Sanctus etc.), or the musical settings.

PS

There is not plenty of time, and we haven't just begun.

Hare
Posts: 601
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Parish / Diocese: Home Counties

Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by Hare »

johnquinn39 wrote:
Hare wrote:Hare, I would be very interested to know exactly shat was deemed to be not 'child-friendly'. Was it the texts themselves (Psalm, Sanctus etc.), or the musical settings.

.


Hmm... Difficult to be specific, but on reflection it is more the case that some of them come so rarely that they just haven't learned the repertoire. Then there is the mum who says "When I was young we always sang "Our God Reigns"...kids love it". Plus, as I said in my original post, they say that children can't "do" Latin, and that they should learn the English words first.

For the record, Mass settings we use most regularly are:

Haugen Mass of Creation
Appleford Mass For All seasons
Gregory Murray
Walker Celtic Liturgy
Joncas Psallite Mass
Coventry Gloria
Duffy Gloria

10.30 Mass tomorrow is for a eceased parishioner's anniversary and his widow has requested the Missa de Angelis, which we normally only do on weekday feasts

Reginald
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Location: Norwich

Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by Reginald »

If the children to whom you're supposed to be musically friendly are of secondary school age then my experience may be relevant. Despite my best efforts I have not been able to shake the Shiney Jesus song from the school's repertoire - but this is largely down to the fact that staff of a certain age are attached to it and the fact that many of our children don't, regularly, attend Mass in their parishes and so haven't moved on. Other than that one example (and perhaps "Sing it in the Valleys") our students will sing pretty much anything if it's put before them. They sing simple chants as enthusiastically as they sing Walker/Inwood, trad hymns as enthusiastically as praise choruses. Those who go to church regularly tend to be more inclined towards chant than the majority.

A couple of years ago the majority of the kids in the parish Confirmation group were from my GCSE RE classes. The catechist told them, when they were selecting the music for the Confirmation Mass, that they should choose Shine Jesus Shine because young people like it...they declined and instead had chant ordinary, Pentecost sequence in Latin, and veni creator spiritus at Communion. Those who ask for child-friendly music are invariably really asking for the music that they remember from their childhood. A colleague challenged me last year over my 'old fashioned' music selection for Mass...with the exception of the chant Agnus and Shiney Jesus everything else was less than ten years old any by the likes of Walker, Hurd and so on.

I suspect that you are trapped in a no-win situation...but, for what it's worth, I'd quite happily bring my own children to your church based on what you've told us.

As for children being unable to do Latin - rubbish. Our whole school cohort can sing their way through the weekday Mass ordinary. And my daughter's been able to recite the Pater Noster since she was 3...does she understand it? About as well as she understands what 'fruit of thy womb, Jesus', or 'hallowed be thy name' mean in English. Latin's a language like any other, if we're teaching primary age children French and Spanish, what harm is there in a little Latin?

Alan
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Parish / Diocese: Holy Redeemer Pershore [Birmingham Archdiocese]
Location: Malvern, UK
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Re: "Child Friendliness"

Post by Alan »

Reginald wrote:Those who ask for child-friendly music are invariably really asking for the music that they remember from their childhood.

Absolutely! My work took me into a Catholic school last week, and the conversation turned to their repertoire of music for Mass. Whole-school Masses were surprisingly infrequent, but among a small handful of regular items were Shine, Jesus, Shine (opening hymn), As I kneel before you (post-communion) and This is the day (recessional). :( The head of music wants to do better than this, but the head of RE invariably decides what will be sung. There was no mention of psalms, acclamations, etc.

Much more positively, the 1000+ young people from the dioceses of Birmingham and Leeds who sang at Cofton Park last weekend - the 'stage-left choir' mentioned above - responded magnificently and with great enthusiasm to a well-balanced programme of good and appropriate music: chant, Victorian hymns, Elgar, Farrell, Walker, MacMIllan, Wellicome, etc. I didn't hear any of them complaining about any of the music, whether during rehearsals or on the day - quite the opposite, in fact.

In my experience, children and young people respect and respond to informed and inspiring leadership; they relish being challenged and they despise being patronised.

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