Summer 2023 – Catholic Institute of Sacred Music at St. Patrick’s Seminary

Graduate-level study structured for busy schedules

Online or In-Person, intensive or term-length course formats

FREE Tuition Summer 2023

For more information or to apply, please visit the Institute’s website at:

Download the brochure and FAQ here.

The Catholic Institute of Sacred Music at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California is proud to announce its inaugural summer term. Through the sponsorship of generous donors, we are delighted to be able to offer all courses with FREE TUITION for all applicants who are accepted into the program for this summer.

The Catholic Institute of Sacred Music offers a rich learning experience for parish and school musicians who want to immerse themselves in the beauty, truth, and holiness of the Church’s sacred music and liturgy. The Institute offers a daily schedule of sung liturgies on campus and opportunities for private prayer, a world-class faculty, dormitory rooms and common meals on a beautiful campus in the temperate climate of Silicon Valley, and opportunities for study, both in-person and online, in subjects that are inspiring, challenging, and practical.

Whether you’re new to sacred music or have studied music at the graduate level, our courses will assist you in unlocking the treasury of Catholic sacred music, helping you grow in your spiritual life, amplifying your knowledge of and love for Christ and the Church’s music, and strengthening the skills needed for faithful service in the Church.

Join us this summer to experience the depths of the Church’s riches, taught by experienced teachers and musicians, faithful to the Church’s magisterium and tradition.

2023 Summer Classes

Catholic Institute of Sacred Music

at St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, California

History & Principles of 
Sacred Music

May 30 to July 30:
online, asynchronous
July 31 and August 1:
online, synchronous

Latin for Church Musicians: Terminology, Grammar, & Poetry of the Psalms 

Tuesday & Thursday Evenings

June 1 to July 27

Parish Sacred Music Program Management

Wednesday Evenings

May 31 to July 12

Introduction to Gregorian 

June 26 to 30

Advanced Seminar in Gregorian Chant: Approaches to Gregorian Rhythm

Mornings, July 3 to 7

Advanced Seminar in Gregorian Chant: Conducting (Chironomy)

Afternoons, July 3 to 7

Teaching Gregorian Chant to Children

July 10 to 14

Choral Institute

July 17 to 21

Composition Seminar: Short Works for Parish Choirs

Mornings, July 17 to 21

Organ Improvisation Seminar

July 17 to 21

The History of the Roman Rite

July 24 to 28

Advanced Seminar in Gregorian Chant: Chants of the Divine Office

Afternoons, July 24 to 28

Private Lessons in Chant Conducting (Chironomy)

d504f7df-ef69-4488-a5d9-fb6e7d0f75ebAre you interested in learning how to conduct Gregorian chant according to the classical Solesmes method? Have you learned some of the basics and are now looking to improve your developing conducting skills? Private lessons are available, either in-person or via Skype/FaceTime.

Learn more about tuition rates and scheduling availability by emailing Dr. Donelson at

No current availability. Consider taking Advanced Seminar in Gregorian Chant: Conducting (Chironomy) during the summer term.



Other Classes Previously Offered

Introduction to the Organ for Pianists 

Essential knowledge and practice with registration, good technique, pedaling, hymn- and service-playing, and appropriate repertoire.




Introduction to Music Reading, Music Theory, and Ear Training for Parish Musicians

Are you a church musician who would like to gain independence in reading and singing or playing music in your parish’s music program? Would you like to gain confidence in your ability to read music so that you can learn new music, and learn it more quickly? Are you looking for a program to help you perform with accuracy and musicality in your work in music ministry?

Starting from an introduction to reading both modern and neumatic (square note) music notation, this course will introduce participants to music theory concepts that will aid them in reading, singing, and playing music in their parish music programs. Concepts covered will include major and minor scales, Gregorian modes, key signatures, intervals, rhythms and time signatures, triads, and seventh chords. Special emphasis will be given to ear training and musicianship exercises which embed theoretical concepts in practical musical examples. The only prerequisite to the course is the ability to match pitch when singing.

Beauty and the New Evangelization: Understanding and Employing Sacred Art, Architecture, and Music – co-taught with Prof. Emily Sottile

The Church is the greatest patron of the arts the world has ever known. That’s no accident! The beautiful has the potential to lead those who engage with it to the good and the true. Literacy in the languages of sacred art, architecture, and music are practical skills for evangelization. This course guides students in deepening their understanding and appreciation of beauty in the various media of sacred arts, and enables students to utilize the sacred arts for the purpose of evangelization.

State Persecution of the Church in Modernity: An Historical Study through the Lenses of Source Documents and Film – co-taught with Dr. Jacek Nowicki

Starting from a discussion of the tensions long held between the Church and the state, as well as the Church’s understanding of martyrdom, this course travels around the globe in the modern era in a chronological study of persecutions of the Church, Catholicism, and Catholics by the government. Class sessions will offer a narrative of the key events, personalities, political programs, and ideas behind particular persecutions, as well as a look at source documents (laws, manifestoes, propaganda) which make clear the crisis of conscience faced by faithful Catholics living under unjust regimes. Study materials for the course consist mainly of films, but also of some excerpts from literature and music, which illuminate the historical situation, sometimes revealing particular agendas through bias or historical inaccuracy.

John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and the History of the Church in Europe in the 20th Century: Biographies, Writings, Source Documents, and Films – co-taught with Dr. Jacek Nowicki

Beginning from the biographies and writings of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, this course will look at key moments in the twentieth century for the history of the Church in Europe. Through this course, students will gain an insight into the writings of John Paul II and Benedict XVI by understanding better their biographies and the historical forces which shaped their experience and roles in the Church. Students will also develop their understanding of the historical events which shaped the lives of Catholics throughout Europe and how these popes affected historical events. Students will read excerpts from the popes’ writings in class as well as other primary source materials. Study materials for the course consist of films which illuminate the historical situation, sometimes revealing particular agendas through bias or historical inaccuracy.