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The Academic Rules

Registration Conditions. Registration Fees. Number
of years to graduate at SEM. Levels' Syllabuses,
and other related information.

Read below the following topics:

What are the registration conditions?

Any person from any religion and from any nationality can register at SEM for the full curriculum or for a specific course.

Some courses have prerequisites that should be accomplished to register in the course.

The minimum age to register at SEM is currently 15 years. We will open classes for children under 15 in the future; yet, this option is still not available until now.

What are the registration fees?

Each student at SEM has to pay the following lump-sum fee by credit according to his situation:
Student's SituationFees per month
If the Student is working30,000 LL
If the Student is working and has a brother or a sister or a husband or a wife now registered as well at SEM. 20,000 LL
If the Student is still at University or at School20,000 LL
If the Student is still at University or at School and has a brother or a sister registered as well at SEM.15,000 LL


  • Books and CDs
    The fees shown above do not cover the prices of the books and the CDs distributed on students. The cost of these books and CDs is the minimal cost of their photocopying and copying only.
  • Aim of the Fees
    SEM does not count on registration fees to cover its costs; registration fees are intended to:
    • Cover the minimum costs of the classes (teachers transportation, overhead,...)
    • Motivate students to commit in their classes.
  • Social Aid
    Students can apply for a social aid if they cannot pay their fees, and they may get accordingly a partial or a complete waver for their fees.
  • Success Stories
    Some parishes took in charge the fees of their students. This enforces the relationship between the students and their parishes and serves the aims of the fees.

What are the graduation conditions?

SEM classes follow a credit based academic system; the student who fails in a credit will have to repeat that credit alone.

The academic program is formed by two sets of credits:

  1. The core credits:
    The core credits are the credits that the student is obliged to accomplish imperatively in order to graduate. These credits are mainly the courses of Byzantine music.
    These credits are always offered to students in order to follow their graduation program.
  2. The additional credits:
    The additional credits are offered occasionally. Some of these credits are obligatory for graduation (like typicon, etc.) others are facultative. The facultative courses address areas needed by chanters.
    The student has to pass only 3 of the facultative courses in order to graduate.

At the end of these credits, the student will have to prepare a solo (with isson) diploma concert and present it in front of an audience and a panel that will grade him.

What is the grade's basis?

Students' final grade has three components:

  1. The final grade (based on the common oral exam of all classes in front of the same panel for each level, and the common written exam for all students of the same level.)
  2. The weighted average of the exams that were done in each class by the teacher.
  3. The teacher's own assessment of the student and his work and commitment and attendance and development.

What is the graduation degree?

For the time being, SEM offers to its students a simple attestation of graduation. The value of this attestation is due to the image of SEM and its renowned level of expertise and excellence in Byzantine Music.

SEM is studying a project for an accreditation of SEM by a Greek conservatory.

What are the levels to be achieved to graduate from SEM?

On average it should take the student around four full years to graduate from SEM.

In general the academic program is divided into 5 levels:

LevelApproximate DurationSyllabusObjective
(1) Preparatory level6 months for normal students
Or 3 months for fast track students
- Prallage: Exercises on the western scale introducing students to the names of the Byzantine notes, to the rhythm and Tempo, and to the concept and skills of going up and down in music.
- Chanting: Exercises that introduce the student to the way of reading the words with the music.
- Theory: Introduction to the general theory of Byzantine music notation. Introduction to the general theory of Western notation and harmony. Reading the Greek Language.
Preparing the student to start reading the Byzantine Music notation.
(2) The eight modes12 months- Prallage: Exercises on reading the typical mostly used Byzantine phrases.
- Chanting: Exercises on reading words with these phrases.
- Theory: The byzantine styles (Armologic, Stachiraric, Papadic) and their derivatives, the byzantine scales and keys, the scals and the modes, introduction to transposition, the Byzantine notation dictation rules.
By the end of this phase, (i.e.) after around 1 year and 3 months of starting his studies at SEM, the student should be able to read all classical Byzantine compositions (Mitri El Murr)
(3) The Main Byzantine Scales, the transposition, and the prolonged styles9 months- Parallage: The gravity in the byzantine scales and other related details. The derivatives of Gorgon and other time complex scenarios. The transposition and prolonged styles.
- Chanting: Chanting the Byzantine modes with all their minor details. Chanting Gorgon and all time complex scenarios with words, the transposition and prolonged styles.
- Theory: The theories of the Byzantine modes and the rules of isson and gravity. Theory of transposition.
By the end of this phase, the student should excel in the interpretation of the scales with all their intervals and gravities and their prolonged chants and transposition. By the end of this phase, the student shall be able to interpret the Byzantine ornamentations without being written. He shall be able to sing texts according to their original Prosomia meter.
(4) The derivative scales, and the Arabic maqams. Byzantine Musical Ornamentations and Byzantine Prosomia6 months- Parallage: The derivative scales, the transposition, and the Arabic maqams. Byzantine Musical Ornamentations and Byzantine Prosomia.
- Chanting: Chanting the derivative scales, the transposition, and the Arabic maqams. Chanting the Byzantine Musical Ornamentations and learning the Byzantine Prosomia.
- Theory: theories of the derivative scales, the transposition, and the Arabic maqams. Exercises on the Byzantine musical ornamentations.
By the end of this phase, the student shall be able to interpret the derivative scales, the complex transpositions, and the Arabic maqams.
(5) DiplomaUndefinedDiffers according to student skills- Parallage: the diploma scores.
- Chanting: the diploma chants.
- Theory: writing a study project.
At the end of the diploma phase, the student shall interpret a solo concert in front of an audience, and shall be able to write a scientific Byzantine Music project.
(6) Musical Composition(advanced studies)UndefinedDiffers according to student skillsExercises on Musical Composition then presentation of a project.At the end of this phase, the student shall be able to compose byzantine music without errors.


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