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Byzantine Chant 1

Why do we sing in church? There are so many good and true answers to this question, one of which is that singing brings beauty into our services as a love offering to God. The ancient tradition of what we call Byzantine Chant in our services is designed to call its listeners into prayer while manifesting God’s beauty as the Kingdom of Heaven is incarnated in our worship space.
This course is designed for young people who are either brand new to Byzantine Chant or have some experience with it. This course will focus on learning Byzantine notation, which will be supplemented by learning some of the “Automela,” or model melodies in Byzantine chant. This course will also contain information on the various modes that can serve as a review or can be learned for the first time.
Guiding Principles:
● Chanting is a love offering to God, in service to the congregation. Therefore, we who sing in Church ought to practice and put dedicated effort into learning, while trusting that God will receive our offering as we learn. We have faith that God will complete what is lacking in our offering and receive it as a sacrifice of love.
● As with most learning processes, the path to mastery (or even proficiency) comes through making mistakes and sounding bad. Therefore, our classroom will be our “laboratory” where we can experiment and make mistakes in front of each other. In order for this to happen, we will insist on a supportive classroom environment, and encourage students to take risks for the sake of our musical growth.

Required Materials:
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.

  • Any recording device such as a smart phone in order to record audio files for submission.
  • All other course materials will be provided in electronic format by the instructor.

Khouria Rima Zaffaran has a love for learning and a deep enjoyment of chanting and teaching. She is Lebanese, married to a Syrian Priest, has four children and Lives in Pennsylvania. Khouria Rima has a bachelor’s degree of Theology from St John of Damascus, Balamand, Lebanon.
She is well versed in Byzantine music and leads a children and adult choir at her parish. She has spent more than 30 years teaching choirs, religion, and the Arabic Language. Her Love to Her native Language makes her very excited to teach it to the students in a fun and professional way.

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.


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