From a seminarian…
I recently read your post encouraging priests to learn the TLM. It made me think, how early should a seminarian begin to learn it? Would it be jumping the gun for someone in 1st Theology to begin watching the videos and practicing? I won’t be able to learn it from the seminary … , so I will have to learn on my own.
First, you are to applauded as loudly as the seminary is to be booed and hissed. Shame on them for not preparing seminarians adequately in the knowledge of their Rite!
Second, it is NOT too early to start working on this. The sooner the better.
I started to learn the TLM in the summer before my 3rd year of seminary. I had moved to Rome by then and a priest friend coached me as I did “dry Mass” walk-throughs, correcting and offering suggestions. I had already read through the rubrics, etc., since my Latin was great. The Latin wasn’t anywhere on the horizon as a problem. At the time I was speaking rather comfortably and writing with ease.
Also, these days, there are many many more resources to help you than there were back in my day.
However, be discreet… discreet… discreet!
Don’t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. If there is a priest whom you can trust completely where you are, get to work on it. However, don’t tell anyone else, even seminarian friends. Go about your work quietly.
I would say the same, by the way, about your private initiatives to learn Japanese or Calculus or small-engine repair.