Sunday, September 6, 2009

Things I Have Learned About Being a Cantor...

...From My Student Pulpit, Which Technically Doesn't Begin Until Next Weekend:

-Being a student cantor is a lot of work, even though the job isn't "real." Meetings, photocopying, organizing, learning music, learning Torah, planning services, lesson planning (which I technically haven't started yet) and more.
-Doing all of this long-distance, without a big photocopy machine and unlimited office supplies, makes it feel more stressful than it actually is.
-I am the most unorganized person I know. I have cue sheets, music books and loose music scattered EVERYWHERE in my apartment.
-My apartment is a disaster zone, and will be until the holidays are over. I've just come to accept it.
-The same goes for my diet.
-Working with a rabbi who is excited to have a student cantor is really fun and meaningful.
-My new congregation is pretty rad.
-Double-checking your work is the key to creating useful binders for yourself and your organist. Finding out from your organist that you forgot to insert pages of music or you DID insert the wrong piece of music is humiliating. Yes, I'm admitting to both of these things.
-Not knowing your organist's skills for yourself is frightening, especially when picking out music. You don't want music that is too easy or too difficult, as to not insult the kind person who wants to accompany you.
-It's difficult to pick music, period. There is a lot of HHD music out there. The congregation has favorites. The rabbi has favorites. YOU have favorites. Shmooshing everyone's favorites into one service means a lot of give-and-take. I won't always get to sing what I want or what I know I can sing well. I've learned to be agreeable to that, but I haven't completely learned to be happy about it. I don't know if I ever will.
-None of that matters if the services turn out successfully and your congregation is happy.
-HUC professors, graduates and students are incredibly kind and helpful people.
-Despite my complaining, I am honored and happy to be in this disorganized, crazy place (disorganized and crazy=Tracy's apartment. Her congregation=lovely. Just to clarify.)
-I am going to keep a bottle of something 'adult' in my refrigerator, that I will sip in relief as I finally get around to deep-cleaning my apartment after Simchat Torah.
-The madness will end, even if it still feels like it's going on forever.
-Next year will seem like a piece of cake, as I will be doing this without the pressure and workload of a practicum taking place in 4 days.

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