H. L. Miller Cantorial School Admissions

The Congregational Cantor

In the American synagogue, the cantor is the minister of music in the congregation. He or she leads the community in prayer, prepares students for bar and bat mitzvah, teaches the texts of the liturgy to adults and children, and shares pastoral duties with the rabbi.

The opportunities for a spiritually rewarding life are immense, and positions for graduate cantors are available throughout North America.


Men and women who are college graduates, members of the Jewish faith, and adherents of Jewish ritual observances—including the Sabbath and holy days, daily prayer, and dietary laws—are eligible to apply for admission.

Applicants should have knowledge of Hebrew, Bible, Jewish history, the prayer book, and customs of the synagogue.

Applicants must have pleasing voices and must have completed at least one year of music theory and ear-training. Sight-singing, some proficiency on the piano or guitar, and performance experience are helpful.

Candidates who have not reached the required level of religious commitment, Judaic knowledge, or musical experience should make inquires to the director concerning preparatory training.

Read the academic procedures and standards

Academic Programs

Cantorial students are candidates for the diploma of hazzan as well as the master of Sacred Music degree. The course requires five years of full-time study. In addition to the course work, students must prepare a master's essay or project and present a concert of general and liturgical music as part of the graduation requirements.

With the permission of the deans of the schools involved, cantorial students may prepare concurrently for an MA in Education at the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education or an MA at The Graduate School.

Study Year in Israel

All students spend one academic year in Israel generally the second year of enrollment. Study opportunities include the Conservative Yeshiva, Kesher Hadash and Hebrew Union College. During this time, students strengthen their Hebrew-language skills, study Jewish texts, prayer chant (nusah) and cantillation, and immerse themselves in contemporary Israeli life and culture.

Cantorial Curriculum

H. L. Miller Cantorial School offers courses in four major areas of study: general music, Jewish music, and Judaica texts. The curriculum includes:

- Nusah: Liturgy and the traditional music of Jewish prayer. Classes in theory and performance as well as individual coaching in techniques and improvisation. The ligurgical texts are studied in tandem with the nusah

- Cantillation: Tropes for the liturgical chanting of biblical books

- Sight-singing, ear-training, harmony, composition, guitar, and piano

- Hebrew language

- Jewish education

- Jewish thought

- History of Jewish music

- Jewish art-song repertoire

- Choral conducting

- Chorus

- Recital preparation

- Internships

- Summer workshops

- Pastoral care

College of Jewish Music

Programs in Jewish music history, Jewish musicology, and composition are offered by the College of Jewish Music.

Sabin Family Music Center

The Sabin Family Music Center is housed in The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary and contains one of the finest collections of Jewish liturgical music, art songs, and folk music in North America.

With easy access to rare cantorial manuscripts and state-of-the-art recording and transcribing equipment, students are able to utilize modern technology, enabling them to hone their musical skills and acquire information and additional techniques.

The Faculty

Students are exposed to the most highly respected teachers in their respective fields. Our renowned faculty includes:

- Master hazzanim

- Musicologists

- Vocal experts

- Pianists

- Composers

- Liturgists

- Bible and Talmud scholars

- Experts in Jewish law and Hebrew language

The Students

Our school attracts students from all over the world. Among the men and women enrolled in the school are recent college graduates and others who have pursued a number of endeavors prior to choosing the cantorate. Their common bond is the commitment to promote Jewish spirituality through music and religious living.