Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
i was just curious if anyone ever does this... i have the ancient faith radio app, and i was wondering if its normal to listen to chants while praying/meditating.
Yes, I chant along my Agpeya prayers in the melodies and chants of the Se'at (Ethiopian Hours) prayers I have on .mp3 format and also several other Tewahedo chants, hymns, and prayers I have. I highly recommend it, unless you are straight Indian about it, meditating in an urban environment can be quite distracting, these allow you to fall back into the quiet of your heart like when attending Church.
Here is what Father Meletios has to say about it:
"As a general rule, we can say that there is silence at the heart of our experience of God (hesychia). Strangely, in Divine Liturgy, there is a complete lack of physical silence. Often the chanter or the choir feels compelled to fill silence with noise of some sort. This has been the case for a long time, as we can from the common Byzantine practice of adding nonsense syllables (te-re-re or ne-ne-ne) to hymns which need to cover a particular ceremonial action by the clergy and their assistants. There is silence in the Divine Liturgy, however. That silence is to be found in the hearts of worshipers. Physical silence sometimes encourages us to go off into dreamland or fantasy, and that is the last thing we need to in the Divine Liturgy. We cannot, after all, meet God in imagination or fantasy, and the hymns encourage us to stay focused on our awareness of being the the Presence. Silence is the language of God, and it is in silence, the deep silence of the heart, that we both listen and speak."
Bread and Water, Oil and Wine
I do believe the father's point is this, that silence is not necessarily part of prayer in the Church life because the sounds of hymn and chanting actually encourage a deeper spiritual awareness in the heart, which can be silent even in the noise of a tornado passing by. We do not need to be physically immersed in silence to experience the true inner silence of prayer and communion with God. At least for me personally, I enjoy praying and meditating to recorded prayers, chants, and hymns, and I have also learned by this process how to sing myself. So when I pray my Agpeya or even spontaneous kinds of prayer and Jesus Prayer and such, I tend now to sing and chant them in the melodies I have learned from the recordings and liturgies I have attended and use.