by Victoria | Nov 29, 2018 | Introduction
The “Learning Pages-Study Guides” are included in the price of both the custom and stock portion recordings and downloaded in the PDF format. However, more advanced cantors who do not need recordings can order just the Learning Pages to have a handy practice sheet wherever they go. This is how you get them without recordings.
1. You can look up what you want on the list in the store and order an immediate download.
2. Please make sure that the verses you are ordering follow the Hebrew Numbering system as they appear in the Tikkun and other Hebrew Scripture Versions. The American/Gentile Scripture numbers do not always match.
3. Check the “Last Line” tab in the information section to be sure it matches what you are looking for.
4. You can use my “Contact” form to order what you want, and I will email you when it is added to the list. This should not take more than a few days, if that long. Then you can download it for the same price as the others. Include the numerical references, and the last line in English.
I offer two types of recorded portions on this website, each with its own order form. The type you choose will depend on your budget and how much time you have.
A custom portion will take me up to two weeks. A premade portion, one I have made already, will be ready for immediate download. A physical CD will take longer. Right now, I do not have very many premade portions, but more will be coming along.
There are some choices that depend on congregational preferences. These choices are better made by your Rabbi and are covered here.
By now you should have already chosen your verses for your portion with whomever is doing your training. They should be already approved of. Please order very carefully, clicking on info links as you go!
Because I do not know yet how many orders I will receive, I will let you know as soon as possible (in one to two days) if I can take the order. Then you will receive a PayPal button in your email once I am sure I can get the work done on time (in two weeks).
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by email or by phone.
Another choice you have is about the actual portion ending. There is a plain simple ending, and a slightly harder fancier ending. This is a personal choice and is usually left up to the singer. The final endings are usually a little bit slower and more dramatic than the rest of the portion, and singers usually have a little leeway in what they do with it.
Listen to the very short recording labeled “Portion Endings.” All in all, there is not that much difference between the two, but most young Bat Mitzvahs choose the plain. Some are a little bolder and like the little flourish at the end. Most of our more mature ladies choose the fancy finish. Some more experienced singers will fancy it up even a little bit more, but it must keep its basic personality.
There are two choices for how I can end your verses. This one is usually another congregational choice that the Rabbi or Torah instructor will help with. It is called High Silluq (verse ending) or Low Silluq. All that really means is whether each verse ends on the higher or lower of two melody choices.
Listen to the two options here.
This choice does not affect the key choice you make. Both of these silluqs fit into all key selections.
It is very important for a Bat Mitzvah student, and her parents/guardians, to understand that learning a first portion does not happen in a week or two. There are many things that affect how quickly a portion can be learned.
I have found that in the beginning, the very least amount of preparation for a first portion is six months if the Hebrew letters and syllables are being taught at the same time. This can be very stressful. I highly recommend the Hebrew language reading basics be finished first.
If the Hebrew is already learned, the music part can be finished in about eight to twelve weeks, depending on the length of the verses. Another two weeks is needed to practice, polish, memorize, and just simply gain confidence. Another two weeks is needed to not have to worry about it except to practice it once or twice a day while running around taking care of other important last minute details for the service. That could be up to four months!
All of that said, for young students learning during the Summer months, with no school, clubs, leagues, etc, it can go much more quickly.
Additionally, there is usually at least one dress rehearsal, if not two, in the week or two before the service. All of the blessing, parading, dressing, raising, etc. is gone through. By that time, the portion itself should not be needing any fine tuning.
That means that I recommend a minimum of three months for a Bat Mitzvah. I have seen girls do it in less, but they were not happy campers. If you want it to be fun, and something they might like to continue in the future, allow the time for it!
However, the great thing about Torah portions, is that the more of them you do, the easier and faster you can learn them. Because of the nature of the tunes and patterns, as you learn the symbols and tunes, they become a part of you. The Hebrew also gets more familiar and easier to read and learn.
The second portion goes quite a bit faster than the first. The third portion much faster than that. People who sing Torah regularly can learn a portion in just a few days. There are some who can even be called on the morning of a portion and fill in for someone sick or otherwise missing the service! I will admit, that would not be me. My music is good enough-my Hebrew is not-yet!
Note: I will not create recordings for a 1st aliyah less than twelve weeks away. That is two weeks for delivery, and ten weeks for learning, IF you already know the basics of reading Hebrew. Eight weeks is the absolute minimum for a beginner, if the portion is short. Ten to twelve weeks are better.
You have probably already noticed that the patterns of notes used in your congregation are usually similar in most of the portions. You may not be aware that there are many different tunes and accents that are used for singing from the scroll. Some congregations do not care what tune is used. Most congregations care very much.
I am using the tune used in many Reformed congregations, and some other congregations, as well. Technically speaking, this course and these portions all use an Avery/Bender Variation of a Lithuanian tune. The accent is U.S. Sephardic. But most of that is over even my head!
If the Rabbi does not approve of this tune, there is still hope. Below is a link to a site that sells a very special computer program that has a huge quantity of tunes and keys available, all in one package! Your Rabbi can help you select the right tune for your congregation, and you can either learn the portion by just listening and following along in the print, or by actually going through tutorials and learning how the tunes actually work! This is how I did my first portion! You can order one portion, the whole Torah, and even the Psalms!
You may or may not know what a key is: it is a universal system for being able to tell how high or low a song is. In other words, when you get your recording, you want to be able to sing it comfortably without stressing out your voice.
So, here is how you will select your key. I have made four recordings of a simple piece of a portion. They are linked below. To make it easier, I have translated the music into a loose English wording. Listen to them, and try to sing along. Do not hum! Choose the one that is the easiest to sing. That will be the key I record your portion in. Please do not choose a higher key than you are comfortable with just to show off. The nerves will get you every time!
There is also a little graphic to represent the range of the keys. This will be useful to you if you already know where you sing comfortably. This may cut down the number of samples you need to listen to.
Please choose carefully and write it down, as this information will go on the order form.
If you are ready to learn that first portion with one of my personalized recordings, I am ready to help. There is a lot to do to make sure your portion comes out correctly. Please see my instructional videos and Info Sheets on how to select the correct options for your portion! There is one for each choice listed here. Please contact me by phone or email if you need help with the options! I am the only one here, for now. So, if you reach the voice mail, please leave a message with name and number first, and then the message.
Before you choose your options, notice that some of them are really for the Rabbi to choose. Now would be a good time to see the video, Information from the Rabbi, if you haven’t already seen it.
The options you are choosing will be:
The Tune: yes or no | Rabbi’s choice.
The Verse ending: High/Low | Rabbi’s choice.
The Portion Ending: plain/fancy | your choice.
The Key: High, Med, Low, Very Low | your choice.
Most people think that their Scriptures are numbered the same as everyone else’s. In actuality, there are two primarily used numbering systems. One is mostly Hebraic, and one is mostly English.
When I make a custom portion, I use the numbering system from my DavkaWriter program, which matches the “Tikkun” used in most synagogues. I also have a Tikkun that I use to sort out discrepancies and other questions that may come up.
This is why it is important to verify your selection with the Tikkun’s numbering system before ordering your portion. You want to have the correct verses in the portion you receive! If you have no Tikkun available in your congregation, contact me using the form at the bottom of the page, and I will help you verify the numbering.
Include the verse numbers from your version and the last sentence or two of the verses in English, and I will check them with my Tikkun.
For more information on the historical context of these differences, check out the link below for an interesting article on the subject.
I offer a very unique service, and will be personally recording the portion for your aliyah practices. I want to be sure to get it right the first time, because this process can take me several hours or even two or three days.
Therefore, it is important to have some vital input from the Rabbi who will be officiating the service. Try to take care of all four of these points before you begin to order your recording. It may be helpful to meet with the Rabbi to go through the information together.
1. The Rabbi must first approve of the verses you have selected, and make sure that the chapter and verse numbers line up with the Tikkun. That is a very special book the Rabbi will have. Not all Scripture versions are numbered the same, and I use the Hebraic numbering systems.
2. The Rabbi must verify with you the date of the service. Don’t assume the congregation’s calendar is open that day. Additionally, be aware that I will not make recordings for a first aliyah less than twelve weeks away, and that’s for those who already know the primary basics of how to read the Hebrew. This allows two weeks for the shipping and eight for learning the music. The last two weeks should just be polish and confidence.
3. You will need to ask the Rabbi to listen to some of my B’reisheet video to be sure that the tune and accent I use are acceptable in your congregation. (Find more information About Tunes here.)
4. You will need to ask the Rabbi to listen to a very short recording to establish the pasuk (ending) for the verses. Traditionally, there is a high or low pasuk. The Rabbi will choose the proper ending for the early verses, if it matters to him/her.
Some may let you choose.
For $10.00, you will receive the following for three verses:
-An MP3 of the portion for downloading.-Multiple MP3 files with the portion divided into short phrases, to make learning easier.-A numbered PDF ‘Learning Page’ file created from my Hebrew DavkaWriter program.-Hebrew print with vowel points.-Blue numbers, matching the MP3 file numbers, between each phrase.-Hebrew verse numbering letters also in blue.-Hebrew Stam underneath without vowel points.-Special notes on page 2 will let you know when to be aware of possible repeating note patterns.
For $10.00 more, you will also get a CD with all of the recordings listed above. This includes shipping within the continental U.S.
If there is video available, $5.00 will get you those two or three downloads, and if you ordered the CD, it will also contain them.
You will get copies of these audios and videos, but they will remain my property and I only ask that you do not resell or repost them.
*Please note that any verses containing only the phrase “And HaShem spoke to Moshe saying”, or vice versa, does not count as one of the three, so a portion starting this way may have four verses for no additional cost.
For $25.00, you will receive the following for three verses:
-Multiple mp3 files-one of each phrase-and one more of the whole portion will be made available for download.-A numbered PDF ‘Learning Pages’ file created from my Hebrew DavkaWriter program.-Hebrew print with vowel points.-Blue numbers between each phrase to break the portion into bite sized pieces.-Hebrew verse numbering letters also in blue.-Hebrew Stam underneath without vowel points.-Special notes on page 2 will let you know when to be aware of possible repeating note patterns.
For $15.00 more, I will also create two videos like the ‘Test Video’ (B’reisheet) your Rabbi was asked to watch earlier. One will have the standard pointed Hebrew font, and the other will contain the unpointed Stam. Watch both videos on the Demo Page. If you provide me with a photo of your portion on your scroll, I will create a third video using it for no additional fee.
You will get copies of these videos and sound files, but they will remain my property and I only ask that you do not resell or repost them. I will offer them on my site (except for the one made with your scroll photo) for those who cannot afford a custom recording made just for them.
For a limited number of students, I am offering one-on-one online classes in Torah Singing, A.K.A. “Cantillation”. We can use Skype or Google Chat. In fifteen weeks, you will learn the trope symbols, the Sh’ma & V’Ahavta, and a portion of your choice that can be used in your congregation. Contact me for more information and to discuss scheduling.
They will use the following textbooks, which will be included in the fees:
The Art of Torah Cantillation, Volume 1–1st and 2nd classes
The Art of Torah Cantillation, Volume 2–3rd and 4th classes
I am also preparing to enter the world of Patreon soon to offer weekly group classes.
Shalom, I’m Victoria Chapman, and I’m a Torah Singing Woman! You can be a Torah Singing Woman, too!
To help you learn your portion, I will make Learning Pages for you. They are included free of charge with both my audio and video packages, and are downloaded in PDF format.
More advanced cantors, who do not need audio or video assistance, and students who have finished my canting classes, might choose to order just the PDF. It is only $3.00, and you may make as many copies as you wish, for use within your own congregation only. Please respect my hard work and do not distribute or re-sell them beyond your own congregational needs.
The first page of the PDF is the main Learning Page for beginners. It is divided up into phrases and numbered. For those who order my recordings, the numbers on the phrases will match the track numbers on the recordings. It is also wider spaced in the pointed text so that notes and pitch markings can be made between the lines.
The second page starts with a list of the trope families, with the numbered phrases divided into their families. This is helpful to students who are still learning the trope symbols and their tunes. With the exception of the last phrase, they are listed in the same order that they are covered in my classes, and in the order the families appear in the textbook. An Amazon link is provided in my store for purchasing this text, “The Art of Torah Cantillation.” (The book is included in the subscription fee for my online classes on Patreon)
The second page also contains an English translation, usually-but not always-from the Davka Tenach. This is just for a basic reference to keep the cantor aware of the meaning of what they are singing. Feel free to tape your own preferred translation over the one provided.
The third page is an advanced version of the first page. It is smaller and more convenient for experienced cantors. It has no phrase numbers and is usually about the same length for the pointed as the unpointed script, making the marking of matching phrases less or even not necessary. The Hebrew verse ‘numbering’ letters will still be in blue for easy identification of the verse divisions.
The last page will contain a reminder from Davka about the treatment of materials containing Scriptures. It will also contain a reminder from me that you have permission to copy freely, but only within your own congregation.
I have many PDF files available in the store, but if you want something that is not there, I will add it for the same price. Just send me an email or use the “Contact” form. Tell me what your portion is by book, chapter, and verse, and the English of the first two sentences. (This will help me verify the verse numbering with my Tikkun.)
I will usually add it to the store in one to three days, excluding Shabbat. I will send you two emails: one to verify that I am working on it and also to let you know when I expect it to be finished, and another when it is added to the store and ready for purchase.