I am looking for resources to know about the traditional Theravada practices related to chanting, both in the past and in the present.
For example, how would the routine of reciters that had the function of restoring the teaching be.
I ask this because the oral tradition interests me and I am also a primary school teacher and I am having great results including “chanting-like” ways of introducing topics like reading and phonics.
My main purpose is to understand the practical methods used for recitation and memory on a concrete base.
kind of like: how would the day to day of a 2nd century BC monk learning the suttas be?
I can tell you from my personal experience of learning Sanskrit in school from grade 7th to 10th. After the grammar etc. is done, there are different ways of memorizing prose vs poetry and one always starts with poetry becasue in Sanskrit they are a collection of typically two lines or four lines of Sholkas. They are always written in some meter called Chhandas. Each such chhanda just naturally goes with a specific tune. So as kids, we would loudly chant (sing in the tune meant for that meter) the prototype example, until the meter and the tune and syllabic emphasis was completely memorized and then recite a work of poetry set in that meter (loudly, the whole class! ).
The way to memorize a long piece of text is to recite the first shloka over and over again until it was memorized, then move on to the second couplet and repeat. Then, you recite the first and the second, several times, until it is perfected. Then the third by itself, then the first three…. etc etc… I am sure you get the idea.
There are some other tricks of hand gestures, counting, clapping, etc… Some of it can be seen in Tibetan tradition as well. Here is an example, a Youtube video, from Vedic schools even nowadays.