Easy listening…

March 3, 2009 at 4:46 am (Uncategorized)

I cantor at my church, which just means that once a month or so, I am the song-leader.  In fact, I think in the 70s and early 80s they maybe called the cantor the song-leader.  Switching back to “cantor” was a good move, Church.  Good job.  Anyway…music is tremendously important to me and always has been.  In fact, I would say the vast majority of the occasions on which I have felt really felt something transcendent have been either performing or listening to music.  (My husband is the same way.  If you want to see a grown man cry, come by my house and play Wachet Auf some day, or any number of other pieces, the names of which I will be happy to provide for a small fee.)

So needless to say, I get a lot out of singing at church, in addition to feeling like I’m sharing my talent with the community.  But I’m never perfect, and this bothers me.  As a matter of fact, I cantored this past Sunday, and I made, um, four mistakes.  Not that I’m counting, except that I totally am.  Maybe not everyone there noticed, but I did, and it bugs me.

Here’s the thing, though.  It’s not a performance, per se.  It’s a prayer.  I’m not a star or something when I’m doing it, I’m an instrument.  If I’m doing my job well, I’m helping people pray.  (When I first started cantoring, that responsibility scared the crap out of me.  I would get nervous in a way that I never did performing onstage.)  So perfection isn’t the goal.  It’s not about me.  I have to remind myself of that, and keep reminding myself of it.

But if I’m truthful, and I’m trying to be, I still would like to have one perfect game, so to speak.



  1. sam said,

    love this post. great reading before bed. you’ll get your perfect game. love, sam

  2. Mike Miller said,

    Watching U2 on Letterman last night, I counted about four notes that sounded a little, er, *strange* (I don’t have musical training or an ear for pitch). There are oodles of singers who could have performed better technically, but they’re not BONO. Not sure what the point of this is–if any–but maybe job one is just for us to be ourselves.

    What’s the verb form of “cantor” anyway? To cant? 😉

  3. Suzanne said,

    I felt the same way when I played the piano for church. Like a channel of sorts…one that made a few mistakes…but when people were really, truly worshipping when I played, that was just amazing. I get goosebumps thinking about it.

  4. batsinthebelfry said,

    Thanks, Sam.
    Mike, that’s sound advice. And as long as the verb form isn’t to REcant, I’m good…
    Suzanne, me too. Totally.

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