Sacred Music at Notre Dame
Sacred Music at Notre Dame is an interdisciplinary and ecumenical research and teaching program with a Catholic core. Its graduates are artists and humanists who work in churches, universities, and artistic organizations across the nation and worldwide.
Notre Dame's Doctor of Musical Arts degree, founded in 2013, seeks to form 21st-century organists and choral directors with superior creative and analytical skills within the most current interdisciplinary perspective, in contact with prominent professionals in the field. We aim to develop the artistic and scholarship proficiencies required of professional, collegiate, community and church musicians who aspire to perform at the highest levels of achievement and are able to engage with other artists and with the concerns of the community and culture at large. As part of their core training, students will also practice complementary skills that have become increasingly necessary in the professional world, such as conducting children's choruses and using the latest technologies for interdisciplinary presentation. Choral conducting students give recitals called "Performing the Scholarship," which grow directly out of course work. Organ students perform on the splendid organs at Notre Dame, including the Paul Fritts tracker in the Reyes Organ and Choral Hall, and the new Fritts organ to be installed in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
The Master of Sacred Music degree, housed in the Theology Department, is awarded to students in one of three concentrations: choral conducting, vocal performance, and organ performance. Students enjoy a highly demanding program of classes, workshops and frequent performances in collaboration with each other, the faculty and important visiting artists. Every graduate will be a well-rounded church musician, possessing the requisite skills in playing, conducting, and singing necessary to shape music programs in the churches of most Christian denominations, and with special attention to the musical formation of child choristers. Many of our MSM graduates eventually seek advanced degrees, either DMA or PhD, and will go on to lead as professionals in major church positions or in the academy.
The interdisciplinary minor cultivates a basic understanding of the theology and pragmatics of music ministry so that students may be better qualified to engage in this ministry as learned amateurs. The 18-credit minor consists of 3-credit hours of ensemble, piano, or organ, three 3-credit courses in Music and two 3-credit courses in Theology, to be selected in consultation with the student’s Music adviser.