Educating Servant Leaders for Ministry
St. Petersburg Seminary and Yeshiva
An Association of St. Petersburg Theological Seminary and Netzer David International Yeshiva

Cantorial Arts Program

The Cantorial Arts program provides the opportunity for aspiring cantors to be trained, or for any singer already in service to increase his or her skills to become a professionally certified cantor.

A student in the program will:

  • Study as part of an online class environment with a highly experienced, professionally certified cantor
    and teacher.
  • Master the chanting of Torah, Haftarah, Megilot and Brit Chadasha (the Newer Testament).
  • Expand their knowledge of prayers sung for Shabbat, holidays and festivals.
  • Become a skilled officiant at life cycle events.
  • Deepen their knowledge and experience with Jewish musical traditions, liturgy and history.

Graduates will be equipped to incorporate Jewish tradition with the Renewed Covenant, in a way that will exalt Yeshua the Messiah within the service.

PREREQUISITES: The following are the prerequisites for students who wish to enter the program:

  1. 1.An above average singing voice, along with the ability to learn melody lines of written music, whether by sight singing or playing an instrument.
  2. 2.Ability to read basic Hebrew with vowel markings.

Applicants will be asked to submit a digital recording of their singing for approval, prior to being accepted into the program.

RELATIONSHIP TO THE SEMINARY CURRICULUM:

  1. 1.Prospective students for the Cantorial Arts program will follow the regular enrollment procedures of the Seminary and Yeshiva and download required forms from the Prospective Students page on the website (www.sptseminary.edu).
  2. 2.Since the instructor lives in Israel, the program will be taught via WebEx, on a schedule to be determined by the instructor in consultation with students.
  3. 3.The program will be taught in six 8-week sessions with two courses in each session, over two academic years. The starting date is during the fall term of 2016.
  4. 4.The program may be taken for a Certificate in Cantorial Arts of 28 credit hours, at the Certificate tuition rate. (See the Course Registration Form, downloadable from the Seminary and Yeshiva website.)
  5. 5.The program may also be taken as a major area of concentration in the Master of Arts in Judaic Studies degree program, as the elective hours for that degree, at the graduate tuition rate. (See the Catalog under Academics on the website.)
  6. 6.In addition to the specific Cantorial Arts courses (24 credits), the certificate program requires students to take:
    1. 1.CJS 3/5313 Tanakh: The Beginnings of the Jewish People (2 credits), and
    2. 2.CJS 3/5323 The Apostolic Writings: The Early Messianic Jewish Community (2 credits).

These are available by either audio or video. The Tanakh course should be started during the first 8-week session of the Cantorial Arts program, followed later by the second course, Apostolic Writings.

 

NOTE 1: Students who do not wish to pursue a Certificate may enroll to take specific courses from among those listed below, especially the various scripture chanting courses and the ones that do not require singing (as opposed to repertoire and life cycle courses). These courses do not require an “above average singing voice,” only a musical ear.

 

NOTE 2: Students who do not wish to pursue a Certificate may also request to enroll as auditors with permission from the instructor. They would have to do the work assignments but would not receive academic credit for degree programs.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

      Students will:

  • Be able to discern how to incorporate musical ideas into their own work.
  • Experience teaching the congregation during a service and include new melodies in the musical variety of the services.
  • Incorporate chanting Torah, Haftarah, Megilot and Brit Chadasha in public and sing the various musical components of the Shabbat service in a manner befitting a professional cantor.
  • Officiate at Jewish life cycle events.

SCHEDULE:

The following courses will be taught two at a time, in the order in which they are listed, in six 8-week sessions, covering two academic years. Each course will meet for 2 hours per week, for a total of 16 hours per course over the 8 weeks.

  • In the first 8-week session courses 1 & 2 will be taught from mid-October through mid-December of the fall semester of year one of the program.
  • Session 2 (courses 3 & 4) and session 3 (courses 5 & 6) will be taught during the spring semester of year one.
  • Session 4 (courses 7 & 8) will be taught in the fall semester of year two of the program.
  • Session 5 (courses 9 & 10) and session 6 (courses 11 & 12) will be taught during the spring semester of year two.
  • The two courses, CJS 3/5313 Tanakh: The Beginnings of the Jewish People, and CJS 3/5323 The Apostolic Writings: The Early Messianic Jewish Community, will be taken as distance courses at the beginning of and during the student’s participation in the Cantorial program.

CANTORIAL ARTS COURSES:

 (1) PSM 3/5112     The Art of Chanting Torah                                                       2 credits

 (2) PSM 3/5122     Jewish Literacy                                                                        2 credits

 (3) PSM 3/5212     The Art of Chanting the Haftarah                                            2 credits

 (4) PSM 3/5222     What is Jewish Liturgical Music?                                             2 credits

 (5) PSM 3/5312     Shabbat Evening Repertoire                                                    2 credits

 (6) PSM 3/5322     Liturgy – Understanding the Siddur and Synagogue Worship 2 credits

 (7) PSM 4/6112     Shabbat Repertoire                                                                 2 credits

 (8) PSM 4/6122     The Art of Chanting Brit Chadasha                                          2 credits

 (9) PSM 4/6212     The Art of Chanting Megillot                                                    2 credits

 (10) PSM 4/6222   High Holiday Repertoire                                                          2 credits

 (11) PSM 4/6312   Life Cycle Rituals and Music                                                    2 credits

 (12) PSM 4/6933   Directed Research: Applies Skills Project                              2 credits

THE INSTRUCTOR:

Cantor Rivka Isachar-Benjamin, who currently lives in Israel, spent over 30 years in the US, studying, teaching, singing leading roles, recitals and concerts with major opera companies and orchestras, and serving as a cantor.

She received her Bachelor of Music Cum Laude from Northern Illinois University and Master of Music with highest distinction at The New England Conservatory of Music. Rivka received Certification as a Cantor from Hebrew Union College/School of Sacred Music in NYC.

She served as cantor at a number of synagogues in the northeast and in Virginia, and at Tikvat Israel Messianic synagogue in Richmond Virginia. She currently serves as Cantor of Adonai Shamah Messianic Congregation in Israel, performs in concerts, and teaches various subjects.

 


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