The Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute

An Innovative Approach
The PaTRAM curriculum offers an innovative approach to music learning. Orthodox musicians often lead very busy lives apart from their work for the Church, and so enrolling in a conventional music program is simply not an option for many. Using a groundbreaking combination of:
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  • private lessons via video-conference
  • online virtual classrooms
  • guided independent study
  • certified third-party instruction
  • seasonal master classes

the PaTRAM curriculum makes it possible for working church musicians to increase their God-given talents at their own pace, under the tutelage of some of the foremost Orthodox professional musicians, and at a fraction of the cost of a conventional music program.

Effective and prayerful choir leadership requires a complex set of musical, liturgical, and personal skills. One of PaTRAM’s goals is to identify and quantify these skills, as a guide for practicing and aspiring choir directors who wish to improve their qualifications, and also for parish clergy and lay leaders who may be in the position of needing to evaluate and hire a competent choir director.


A Flexible Program
PaTRAM offers training and mentorship in three areas of concentration: Choral Conducting, Voice, and Composition and Arrangement. In addition to your concentration, you receive training is music theory and sight-reading in our Introduction to Musicianship series.

Within each of these areas of training are three levels of certification.

  • Level 1: Beginner
  • Level 2: Intermediate
  • Level 3: Master

After completing the three levels of our Introduction to Musicianship series, you may take any of PaTRAM’s numerous specialized classes as supplements to your ongoing training within your chosen concentration. These include:

  • Eight Tones
  • Music Theory
  • Choral Repertoire
  • Piano Proficiency
  • Vocal Pedagogy
  • Score Analysis & Rehearsal Technique
  • Order of Services / Rubrics
  • Church Music History
  • Introduction to Church Slavonic

Depending on your needs, prior experience, and motivation, you can progress through all three levels, or you can stop at whichever level you feel best meets your goals.


The Application Process
Before beginning lessons in an area of concentration, you will receive a strong foundation in music theory and sight-reading in our Introduction to Musicianship I course. After completing Introduction to Musicianship I, you are eligible to take the Level I Certification Exam in Musicianship. Upon receiving your certification, you may then enroll in private study in your chosen area of concentration: Conducting, Voice or Composition/Arranging.

If you have already had sufficient training, you may apply to test out of the Introduction to Musicianship I course by taking the Certification Exam immediately upon application to the Institute. If you pass the exam, you are permitted to enroll directly in any available lessons and may proceed to Introduction to Musicianship II.

If you are a musician with a high level of experience, then you will also have the option of taking Level II and/or Level III Certification Exams and achieve advanced standing. After completion of the Introduction to Musicianship series, you are eligible to enroll in the specialized classes offered by PaTRAM on numerous topics of particular interest and application to Orthodox church musicians.

Wherever you are in the development of your vocation as a church musician, PaTRAM can offer you exciting opportunities for growth.


The Learning Environment
Class attendance will be either virtual (via the internet) or by physical attendance at a Master Class. The online classroom portions of our program will be offered at regular intervals during the course of the academic year. Classes will be recorded and can be downloaded if you are unable to attend a live session for some reason. Additionally, video-conference lessons and third-party private lessons can usually be tailored to fit your schedule. Aural examinations, juries, and face-to-face instruction are all scheduled in conjunction with our seasonal master classes.