In the Orthodox Church, there is a lot of singing. Except for some prayers/psalms, just about everything is intoned or sung. At Holy Cross, there is a fair amount of time dedicated to the teaching of chant - six semesters of Byzantine Music are required of every seminarian. As is to be expected, some have an easier time of it than others. The question then is: how do you handle a vast array of abilities, knowledge, and sensibilities in a manner that is consistent with our identity as an Orthodox school?
One suggestion has been that, just as God welcomes everyone, we should also welcome everyone to chant the services. It would be easy to say that not everyone may be called to be a chanter. It may even be true (1 Cor. 12:29 may be somewhat relevant to this situation in regard to the different roles that we play in the community.). The problem with that is that it is often the case that priests have to do a fair amount of chanting once they are in a parish. So simply saying that one is not a good chanter and therefore should not chant is not really a viable solution - not when the priest's chanting is the object of the parishioners' scrutiny.
The simple answer then is: help them. Offer voice lessons, have ear training sessions, do whatever is needed to make sure the students can sing. To a certain extent, the school tries to do that, as well. However, in a 121.5 credit hour master's, it is almost impossible to devote any significant amount of time to that, when trying to make sure at the same time that the graduates of the school know their theology and how to apply it to everyday life. On top of that, voice and ear training can be some of the most frustrating and time-consuming activities. When I first started taking voice lessons, my teacher spent the first year (and part of the second) getting rid of my bad habits. And that was with a half-hour individual lesson each week. The ear can be even harder: unless you are gifted with a very sensitive ear, it is easy to lose concentration and to sing flat. All in all, to do it well, it takes more time and resources than this school has in the current set-up.
So is there a solution? I believe there is, but it is one that would require a community effort (I guess I could say the bearing of one another's burdens) as well as personal responsibility. I think the way to ensure that seminarians who graduate are able to chant/sing at a decent level is for those of us who are good at it to provide opportunities for those who want to become better. And just having one or two people do it will probably not be enough: the coursework is too time consuming for one or two people to be able to put in the required time. At the same time, the people who need help should want to do something about it (I've seen some impressive improvements from a couple of people in my year here, so it is possible to do something about it, even without much outside help). Otherwise, all the help in the world won't do any good. I think this would be a better example of theology in practice (as it involves both love and personal responsibility) than simply providing everyone with an opportunity regardless of the person's ability level at the time.
Will it happen? We live in an imperfect world, so I have my doubts. I will, however, try to get something started. So, if you're interested, tomorrow and Thursday after Vespers, we are practising for Sunday's Liturgy in the Holy Cross chapel.