The Department of Education of the Catalan Government recognised, in 2001, the centuries-long effort carried out by the Escolania to provide the choirboys with an integral education, by officially recognising it as a private teaching Centre for general and artistic education and partially subsidising staff expenses.
The idea of an integrated facility makes it easier for our students to balance their compulsory general studies and their music education, while still participating in the choir.
At the end of their stay at the Escolania, the students can continue their musical training in any conservatory or music school.
When it comes to general education, during their stay at the Escolania the boys take courses corresponding to the 4th, 5th and 6th years of primary school and the 1st and 2nd years of secondary school (ESO). As for music education, all elementary level courses are available, as well as the first and second levels of professional education.
|AGE||GENERAL EDUCATION||MUSIC EDUCATION|
|Ages 9 to 10||4th grade (Lower Primary)||1st and/or 2nd grade Elementary Level|
|Ages 10 to 12||5th and 6th grade (Upper Primary)||3rd and 4th grad Elementary Level|
|Ages 12 to 14||1st and 2nd grade (Secondary)||1st and 2nd grade Professional Level|
Due to the limited number of students per class (approximately 10), teachers are able to closely follow each student’s progress. This enables them to combine different teaching methods in order to help students acquire the knowledge required at their age, and, in turn, allows the students to continue their education smoothly wherever they choose to go after their stay at the Escolania. The school also promotes English language education, the use of digital technologies as learning tools, and participation in many other projects, both at the Escolania and online.
At the Escolania, the fact that music is not only studied from a theoretical and technical standpoint but viewed as a daily requirement means that it becomes eminently practical and grows in quality. Apart from the study of music theory, voice, and choir singing, which are necessary to carry out the Choir’s activity, every choirboy learns to play the piano in addition to another orchestra instrument. The Escolania also promotes the practice of musical ensembles (instrumental or orchestral, and, in some cases, chamber music). Those students who are more advanced in the study of their instrument and piano, also have the option to learn the organ.
PROFESSIONAL LEVEL ADMISSION TEST
At the end of the Elementary music level (corresponding to 6th grade of primary school), the students take the Admission Test for the Professional level studies, just like any child their age who wishes to pursue a formal music education. The difference between the Escolania and other music schools and conservatories is that, at Montserrat, the students can complete the first two years of the Professional level at the school.
Elementary Level (non-regulated):
Piano (only in 5th and 6th grade)
Choir Singing: Rehearsals, Repertoire, Vocal Techniques
Professional Level (regulated):
Music Theory – Harmony
Choir Singing: Rehearsals, repertoire, vocal Techniques
INSTRUMENTS THAT CAN BE STUDIED AT THE ESCOLANIA
String: Violin, viola, cello and double bass
Brass: French horn, trumpet, trombone
Woodwinds: Transverse flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet
Piano and organ
As an activity in the Catalan area, the students regularly write the blog 100peus. The name is inherited from the old school magazine “Centpeus”, which was created at a time when schoolchildren became fifty (50 schoolchildren are 100 feet!). Most of the entries are like a chronicle of the Escolania lived in the first person, but you can also find other proposals that are always a pleasant read. We invite you to visit it here
Through this project, schoolchildren work together with children from other schools in Catalonia, that they have contact via the Internet. At the beginning of the school year, the participating schools visit the participating schools, and at the end of the school year, all the participants return to visit us in Montserrat. In between, they have worked on such diverse aspects, from the mountain of Montserrat to the music that is cultivated there, making use of new communication technologies.
What do they study?
Montserrat’s choirboys study the same subjects as other boys their age, but they are also exposed to a lot of music: they play two instruments (the piano and another orchestra instrument of choice), study music theory, choir singing, orchestra…
What’s the interior of the Escolania like?
You can see different areas of the Escolania in the Open Day video, here.
How long do they stay in the school?
Most students arrive in the 4th year of primary school, with a few arriving in the 5th year. Their stay ends in the 1st or 2nd year of secondary school, depending on the evolution of their voice.
What is a choirboy’s week like?
The schedule above applies to Monday through Thursday. On Friday, all choirboys go home at 17:30, and stay with their families until Sunday morning at 10:00. Sunday is a special day: they sing at 11:00 (for Conventual Mass) and at 18.45 (for Vespers). The time in between is spent with their families, most of whom stay in Montserrat during this time (although those who live close by may go home for lunch). Activities are also sometimes organised between these hours. It should be noted that not all choirboys come on Sundays to Montserrat, instead, shifts are planned to ensure that everyone can have a few Sundays off, apart from the ones that fall on holidays (two weeks for Christmas, the week after Easter, and approximately eight weeks in the summertime).
What are the choirboys like?
They are completely normal children: they play, laugh, cry, get excited, get angry, some are more active, others calmer, some are more mischievous, others not so much… It is true that at the Escolania there are some characteristics that are perhaps not as common among other children their age: an interest in classical music, a proclivity in many toward reading, the courage to perform publicly in front of large crowds, the way they talk to the media… But there is one thing that makes them truly exceptional: when they sing, they touch people’s hearts, and people from all over the world are deeply moved when they hear their song.
Where do they come from?
The Escolania choirboys come from all over Catalonia. On occasion, there have also been a few from other Catalan Countries.
Who pays for the Escolania?
Choirboys’ parents pay 20% of their child’s stay at Montserrat. The Department of Education of the Catalan Government finances part of the schooling. Support from benefactors comes through the “Fundació Abadia de Montserrat 2025.” The rest of the expenses, which constitute the largest remaining portion, are covered by the Abbey of Montserrat. However, no child will leave the Escolania for financial reasons: all that matters is that they have a good voice and musical skills.
Perks for families
Every Sunday, families are provided with a parking space, a place to eat, and various discounts at the Sanctuary. But the most significant benefit that families enjoy at Montserrat is the community with other parents and children, as well as with the greater Montserrat community.