The Rising Song Jewish Music Residency is a full-time study and collaboration opportunity for talented musicians and prayer leaders. Based in Philadelphia, this new nine-month program will prepare ba’alei neginah (holders of song) to cultivate grassroots musical movements that nurture Jewish spiritual life.
Beginning in September 2019, we will spin out both fresh and deeply rooted expressions of Jewish prayer and musical culture that re-energize the Jewish spiritual landscape. We intend for graduates of this program to become leaders who will reinvent the future of music as a communal Jewish practice.
We are no longer accepting applications for 2019-2020. Applications for the 2020-2021 residency will open in October 2019.
Who should apply?
The Rising Song Residency will be a gathering space for self-starting, creatively grounded artists and spiritual leaders who wish to dedicate nine focused months to their musical-spiritual craft and practice. Artist-residents will develop their toolbox of skills from the Jewish musical tradition, such as leading traditional prayer and nigunim (melodies), and also spend considerable time each day practicing, rehearsing, and developing their own musical-spiritual offerings in collaboration with others.
The ideal artist-resident would bring:
advanced experience as a musician and/or musical prayer leader,
a love of singing with other people,
familiarity with traditional Jewish prayer and/or Jewish text study, and
curiosity and commitment to musical-spiritual creation.
We recognize that many artist-residents will arrive with more advanced skills in some of these areas and will require more skill development in other areas. We hope to build a diverse but complementary group of participants who are eager to learn with and from one another. Over the course of nine months, each artist-resident will develop skills and expand their individual capacity for musical-spiritual artistry and leadership.
We aim to:
Gather: Bring together a cohort of talented musical leaders.
Sing and Study: Provide an opportunity for deep musical study and creative work.
Build Community: Support and lead singing communities in Philadelphia.
Explore Spirit: Create a holistic balance between musical work, communal work, and spiritual work.
Affect World: Create a core network of ba’alei negina (musical-spiritual leaders) who will fan out and become change agents in building Jewish musical community worldwide.
What are the goals of the Rising Song Residency?
What will we study?
The Rising Song Residency is an opportunity to seriously study ancient Jewish musical traditions, to collaborate in developing a shared musical language, and to advance our crafts as teachers and leaders. Rooted in the nigun, the communal musical-spiritual artform of the Jewish people, our studies will likely include:
Building Singing Communities: Strategies for bringing people together to make music a lasting and joy-filled force in Jewish life.
Jewish Spiritual Traditions: Studying the Siddur, Chasidic texts, and traditional Aggadah (lore).
The Torah of Music: Ancient Jewish texts related to music, to better understand the role of music in spiritual life as put forward by our sages and storytellers.
Nusach and Nigun: Nusach (prayer modes) that put us into Jewish time, as well as nigunim (wordless melodies) that transcend time. Together, we will learn to explore the soul of any melody.
Jewish Musical Traditions, West and East: We will study traditional Jewish melodies and musical styles from around the world.
Composition, Collaboration, Production: Improvising, composing, collaborating, “finishing” artistic projects, recording and producing albums, teaching others.
How will we study?
Rather than overloading our artist-residents with many standalone courses, we’ll work together holistically to learn about music, community building, and Jewish spiritual traditions. We’ll daven (pray) together each morning. Then we’ll study a melody in depth each week, arrange and record it, and release it to the world so that many others can learn along with us.
We hope to create a sense of deep collaboration in our studies and work together, to create real-time learning, in the context of actual experience making music together.
Most of all: You will invent this residency with us! This is an opportunity not just to learn and study together and to develop new musical-spiritual dialects, but also to co-create an organization through which we can most effectively bring our ideas into the world.
Resident artists will study and work together every day, while also having significant time to work, compose, and practice independently.
Click here to view a sample weekly schedule (subject to change).
What will a week look like?
Where is the Residency?
In Philadelphia! The Rising Song Residency is based in the northwest Philadelphia neighborhood of Mount Airy. This beautiful, walkable, diverse, and relatively affordable neighborhood has a rich and creative tradition of innovative Jewish life and culture. Artist-residents will have the chance to study with a number of musical and spiritual luminaries who live in the neighborhood and to contribute to and learn from the various shuls and minyanim nearby. With Mount Airy as a hub, we’ll move outward and sing with the wider Philadelphia community, in neighborhoods such as West Philly, Center City, the Main Line, and other areas, and we’ll occasionally extend our reach to the Hadar Institute’s base in New York City.
We aim to join our musical and spiritual studies with the development of a real living breathing musical-spiritual community, so that we can develop our ideas in real time, immediately “testing” our work in the context of a supportive and nurturing community. We’ll work to create:
Rising Song Minyan: Develop the “Rising Song Minyan” on Shabbat twice a month. This will be a biweekly minyan/laboratory for musical prayer with the Rising Song Institute, open to the public.
Rising Song Gatherings: Lead “pop-up” Rising Song gatherings and salons throughout Philadelphia.
Daily and Festive Davening: Participate in and lead daily davening including Rosh Chodesh.
Open Study Weeks: Welcome guests to our residency for periodic open weeks of study.
How will we build local singing community?
In addition to our collaborative learning, artist-residents will have many other opportunities to take their musical-spiritual leadership skills to the next level, including:
Study privately with experienced teachers.
Apprentice in the building of singing community in Northwest Philadelphia, and teach and work with other local communities in Philadelphia.
Apprentice with Joey Weisenberg leading High Holidays and other festive occasions.
Participate, lead, or teach in Hadar’s annual Singing Communities Intensive in New York City.
Study Torah periodically at Yeshivat Hadar in NYC.
Collaborate musically with the Hadar Ensemble and Joey Weisenberg.
Become a “Rising Song Musician-in-Residence” and travel to teach nationally.
What other opportunities are available for artist-residents?
Accepted applicants are invited to participate in the full-time Rising Song Residency at no tuition cost; in addition, they will receive a modest monthly living stipend (sufficient to cover rent and basic groceries). Artist-residents are encouraged to take part-time jobs teaching or performing, both to supplement their income and to gain practical experience in a variety of settings.
How much does it cost?
Faculty will work with each artist-resident to design individual projects and areas of concentration. By the end of the program, artist-residents will have a portfolio of powerful and diverse work across multiple media, which might include:
Innovative liturgical methods and approaches
A thorough understanding of dozens of traditional Jewish melodies
Original compositions, or arrangements of existing melodies
High-quality audio recordings of their work as musicians or composers
Essays or other written work
Workshop presentation concepts that can be taken into the world
As the residency develops over the next few years, artist-residents will benefit from a growing network of diverse alumni linked by a grassroots approach to enlivening Jewish musical and spiritual life.
What will I take away from the program?
We hope that this year of guided musical-spiritual exploration will open up a lifetime of creative communal contribution, and we intend that artist-residents will become serious leaders of their musical-spiritual communities. That said, we anticipate that leadership will vary from person to person and that there may be entire fields of musical leadership that have yet to be fully realized in the world. Some may become prayer leaders in their communities, while others may facilitate singing in living rooms or in other non-religious spaces.
What happens after the Rising Song Residency?
We are no longer accepting new applications for the 2019-2020 residency. Applications for the 2020-2021 residency will open in October 2019.
How do I apply?
Weekly Recording: We want to inspire grassroots creation of music everywhere, so every week we will record a version of our musical work and release it into the world. We want everyone to know what we’re learning and working on—and to be part of the process. Study along with us, from afar!
Open Study Weeks: Periodically, our laboratory will be open for a week for people to register to join our studies. Dates and registration will be available in June 2019.
Singing Communities Intensive in NYC: The most inclusive and largest of our intensive weeks, we gather with 200+ singers in New York to sing and explore the dynamics of communal sound. Learn more!
Rising Song Minyan: People will join us every other week for singing and davening. This will allow our artist-residents to learn within the context of a nurturing community of local singers and daveners.
Spread the word! Know any talented musicians with the potential to become inspiring leaders of song and prayer? Direct them to www.risingsong.org/residency and encourage them to apply.
Donate: Support our work and our fellows. Donate here!
This sounds amazing, but I can’t do it full-time right now. How can I get involved?
Can I visit the Residency if I can’t come full-time?
Yes! Periodic weeks will be open for people who are serious about studying Jewish musical tradition on a part-time basis. Dates and registration will be available in June 2019.
Is this a cantorial school?
No, though there is some overlap. A traditional cantorial school teaches the art of cantorial music, and includes detailed classes on all of the traditional nuschaot (prayer chants). Also, most cantorial schools are a 4-5 year commitment. While we will share our love of prayer chant, we are a shorter (one-year) program focused on reseeding Jewish grassroots musical movements.
Is there a degree offered?
No. Currently this is not an accredited program; we are interested in offering this opportunity “for its own sake” (lishmah). We would like to attract people who are mostly interested in the extended learning and growth opportunity.
How do I prepare for the Rising Song Residency?
Talk with Rising Song faculty to identify skill areas that could be intensively strengthened before the residency begins in September.
Consider applying to attend Yeshivat Hadar’s summer program for an eight-week intensive in text study and prayer. This is a great preparation for some of the technical text work that we’ll do in greater depth throughout the year.
What is the Rising Song Institute?
Hadar’s Rising Song Institute cultivates Jewish spiritual life through song. It is a meeting place and incubator for creative musicians and prayer leaders who hope to reinvent the future of music as a communal Jewish spiritual practice. Based in Philadelphia, we engage people throughout North America and around the world through communal singing, immersive study, and experimental music-making.
What’s the connection with the Hadar Institute in New York?
The Rising Song Institute is an initiative of the Hadar Institute. Hadar empowers Jews to create and sustain vibrant, practicing, egalitarian communities of Torah, Avodah, and Hesed.