There are four major areas of studies:
As a second year student, you will have a week of orientation in mid-August, the week prior to the Kallah (retreat) that marks the beginning of the school year. You will be given a tour of the school and the neighborhood and meet with various administrators and faculty. You will attend vocal master classes and intensive High Holy Day Repertoire courses. On Friday, you will attend a Shabbat dinner and service at a New York Reform synagogue.
The Liturgical Core is the heart of the DFSSM cantorial program. In years 1-4, the students take an integrated series of courses in liturgy, modes, traditional and Reform repertoire. Year one focuses on Weekday, year two on Shabbat, year three on High Holy Days, year four on Three Festivals and Life Cycle. In years 2-4 students prepare and perform practica that reinforce the core subject for the year. In year five students study advanced repertoire and delve even more deeply into the study of liturgy. This core culminates in the thesis and senior recital.
Students also develop their general musical skills throughout the five years. There are two years of musicianship, three semesters of guitar, two of piano, conducting, arranging and composition. They study music analysis, are introduced to ethnomusicology, and learn to harmonize the Jewish modes. Each student also sings in the chorus.
As future teachers, they also study Bible, Rabbinics, Jewish Theology, and History. They take courses in theory and practice of Jewish education.
Finally, there is a sequence of courses in professional development. Students learn communication skills and family theory. They receive mentoring support for their work at student pulpits and develop their leadership skills through guided study. They take a course in clergy counseling and can study spiritual direction. Many opt to take CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) in the summer.
Jewish Music in American Life (Ethnomusicology)
Arranging and Orchestration
Beyond Misheberach - Music of Debbie Friedman
Coaching in the folk genre
Music as Midrash
Art of Meaningful worship
Advanced Nusach and improvisation
Golden Age of Cantorial Music
Creative Keyboard Accompaniment
Technology for Clergy