More than perhaps anything else in the Jewish world, music has the power to bring our community together in worship, celebration and action. The URJ Teen Songleading Fellowship invites young Jewish songleaders to develop their songleading skills, deepen their knowledge of repertoire and communal singing technique, and build meaningful leadership and relationship opportunities in their congregations, camps, and communities.

 

Open to Jewish 10th – 12th grade teens from around North America, this prestigious application-only, nine-month Fellowship includes:

  • Three video meetings with master song leaders to learn new skills and music
  • Three to five monthly check-ins guided by college and adult songleading mentors to work on subject area skills like worship, youth group, and religious school music
  • A local sponsoring staff member who will help you complete monthly “action assignments” such as teaching or leading music in your community
  • Future opportunities to song lead at URJ national events, camps, and youth programs

The URJ Teen Songleading Fellowship will give you the training, experience and confidence needed to:

  • Find your own voice as a Jewish leader
  • Develop comfort in front of a room
  • Explore how to teach new and familiar songs
  • Sing with and lead diverse age groups
  • Partner with congregational professionals
  • Develop the requisite skills of analysis, process, feedback gathering and self-reflection
  • Explore your own role as a leader in the Reform movement to not only become more proficient leaders of communal singing, but also become equipped to engage in ongoing leadership development.

Teens will learn from highly regarded experts in the field, receive mentorship from on the ground professionals, and complete projects that share their learning and leadership with their greater Jewish communities.

Program Details

The URJ Teen Songleading Fellowship will run from December through May and begins with our first online meeting where we will build community and continue exploring general songleading principles and technique. We will consider how and why communal singing is an important part of Jewish life, how songleading is about leadership before music, and how preparation is the key to all successful songleading! We will use our first virtual meeting and the in-person gathering to create a program plan for the year.
Participants will dive deeply into their communal work, supported by their Sponsoring Staff Member on the ground. Each month, the participants will work on one “action assignment,” take part in preparation, execution, reflection, and evaluation in partnership with their Sponsoring Staff Member. Action assignments include things like participating in leading or co-leading services, leading a song a group already knows, teaching a new song, leading a song for an age-group you have not previously worked with.

The teen fellows will be divided into small groups for the year and assigned a college or post-college aged songleading Mentor. These mentors have themselves learned songleading in our system, work as active songleaders, and continue their own professional development and honing their craft of songleading. The teens will work in interest groups with focus on teen songleading (youth group), religious school music, worship, or early childhood. Each month at the virtual check-in with their small groups and mentors, participants will have the chance to unpack the experience, support each other and hear the best principles learned from each. For an area cohort (like Chicago) the teens will have a local mentor who will work with them on their skills whatever leadership or demographic focus they may have.

Three or four times during the year all of the fellows will gather virtually to learn from experts in the field on topics useful for all songleaders as well as share repertoire, talk about ways to reach more people in our work, and assess how the Fellowship is meeting benchmarks.

The Sponsoring Staff Members and the Mentors will share with the Program Director progress at select check-in points along the way, and ensure success for the participant through support and guidance.

In the final stage of the Fellowship, teens will consider the next opportunities to learn and grow in their songleading leadership skills. With the support of the Staff Member in the congregation and the Program Director, teens will be guided to summer programs, ongoing training opportunities, or deeper congregational work to continue their songleading journey.

Though building a social network and personal growth is critical to our Fellowship, our focus is on empowering teens to catalyze community through song. Our Fellows will walk away not only able to raise up their own voice in song, but also able to use their voice to inspire a room to sing in unity with them.

Cantor Rosalie Will is the Program Director of this Fellowship.  As the URJ Director of Worship and Music, she brings over 20 years of experience as a professional songleader, cantor and teacher of songleading and music leading, as well as years spent as a congregational cantor and mentor to students in congregations and NFTY. She will bring the best practitioners, teachers and musicians to share their expertise with our Fellows and support our teens and mentors in the field to mobilize more capable music leadership in our communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

The URJ Teen Songleading Fellowship is for 10th-12th graders who are ready to take their song leading to the next level. Different than the URJ Nashir program which provides a single weekend of training for song leaders at all different levels, this is a year-long fellowship meant to delve deeper into the craft of song leading for a community. Teens who have some experience leading music – whether it is in their congregation, at school, at camp, in NFTY, or in other youth programs – are best suited for this Fellowship.

You do not have to play guitar to be in the Fellowship, though it is desirable.

Participants should plan on spending approximately 3-5 hours a month on this Fellowship including:

  • One hour with the full cohort on a video call a few times a year
  • One hour with their local Sponsoring Staff Member
  • One hour with their Mentor
  • One to two hours preparing and completing the action assignment

Though of course conflicts occasionally come up, we expect that Fellows will make every effort to be on every call.

In addition to the Program Director and song leaders, participants will also work with a Sponsoring Staff Member. A Sponsoring Staff Member is a local support person who helps participants both reflect on their learning and helps them find opportunities to complete their action assignments. Participants will choose their own Sponsoring Staff Member from the adults they already know in their congregation or community. Applicants will have until the end of November to provide the name of their Sponsoring Staff Member. A letter and materials will be sent to you after you apply to help you ask a local adult to fulfill this role for you and our team will support you if needed.

Your Sponsoring Staff Member should be someone who:

  • Is local
  • You would like to work with
  • Can give you access to a community to song lead for (religious school, youth group, synagogue worship) so you can complete the action assignments
  • Someone who knows you and can write a recommendation for you to the Fellowship

While this Fellowship is a very exciting opportunity, we are unfortunately unable to accept all applicants. We look forward to creating a diverse cohort and will be considering:

  • Past general leadership experience
  • Past songleading experience
  • Knowledge of vocal and instrumental music & past performance experience
  • Excitement for the Fellowship
  • Opportunity for completing action assignments
  • Recommendation from Sponsoring Staff Member

Participants will receive a certificate of completion after the Fellowship, as well as language that can be used on job applications and resumes. In addition, Fellows will have the opportunity to song lead at various URJ programs including national gatherings such as NFTY Convention and URJ Biennial, camp and NFTY.

The URJ Teen Songleading Fellowship will give you the training, experience and confidence needed to:

  • Find your own voice as a Jewish leader
  • Develop comfort in front of a room
  • Explore how to teach new and familiar songs
  • Sing with and lead diverse age groups
  • Partner with congregational professionals
  • Develop the requisite skills of analysis, process, feedback gathering and self-reflection
  • Explore your own role as a leader in the Reform movement to not only become more proficient leaders of communal singing, but also become equipped to engage in ongoing leadership development.

Teens will learn from highly regarded experts in the field, receive mentorship from on the ground professionals, and complete projects that share their learning and leadership with their greater Jewish communities.

Part 1 - Learning & Exploring

The URJ Teen Songleading Fellowship will run from December through May and begins with our first online meeting where we will build community and continue exploring general songleading principles and technique. We will consider how and why communal singing is an important part of Jewish life, how songleading is about leadership before music, and how preparation is the key to all successful songleading! We will use our first virtual meeting and the in-person gathering to create a program plan for the year.

Part 2 - Teaching and Leading

Participants will dive deeply into their communal work, supported by their Sponsoring Staff Member on the ground. Each month, the participants will work on one “action assignment,” take part in preparation, execution, reflection, and evaluation in partnership with their Sponsoring Staff Member. Action assignments include things like participating in leading or co-leading services, leading a song a group already knows, teaching a new song, leading a song for an age-group you have not previously worked with.

The teen fellows will be divided into small groups for the year and assigned a college or post-college aged songleading Mentor. These mentors have themselves learned songleading in our system, work as active songleaders, and continue their own professional development and honing their craft of songleading. The teens will work in interest groups with focus on teen songleading (youth group), religious school music, worship, or early childhood. Each month at the virtual check-in with their small groups and mentors, participants will have the chance to unpack the experience, support each other and hear the best principles learned from each. For an area cohort (like Chicago) the teens will have a local mentor who will work with them on their skills whatever leadership or demographic focus they may have.

Three or four times during the year all of the fellows will gather virtually to learn from experts in the field on topics useful for all songleaders as well as share repertoire, talk about ways to reach more people in our work, and assess how the Fellowship is meeting benchmarks.

The Sponsoring Staff Members and the Mentors will share with the Program Director progress at select check-in points along the way, and ensure success for the participant through support and guidance.

Part 3 - Next Steps

In the final stage of the Fellowship, teens will consider the next opportunities to learn and grow in their songleading leadership skills. With the support of the Staff Member in the congregation and the Program Director, teens will be guided to summer programs, ongoing training opportunities, or deeper congregational work to continue their songleading journey.

Though building a social network and personal growth is critical to our Fellowship, our focus is on empowering teens to catalyze community through song. Our Fellows will walk away not only able to raise up their own voice in song, but also able to use their voice to inspire a room to sing in unity with them.

Program Leader

Cantor Rosalie Will is the Program Director of this Fellowship.  As the URJ Director of Worship and Music, she brings over 20 years of experience as a professional songleader, cantor and teacher of songleading and music leading, as well as years spent as a congregational cantor and mentor to students in congregations and NFTY. She will bring the best practitioners, teachers and musicians to share their expertise with our Fellows and support our teens and mentors in the field to mobilize more capable music leadership in our communities.

FAQs

Who should apply to this Fellowship?
The URJ Teen Songleading Fellowship is for 10th-12th graders who are ready to take their song leading to the next level. Different than the URJ Nashir program which provides a single weekend of training for song leaders at all different levels, this is a year-long fellowship meant to delve deeper into the craft of song leading for a community. Teens who have some experience leading music – whether it is in their congregation, at school, at camp, in NFTY, or in other youth programs – are best suited for this Fellowship.

Do I have to play the guitar to be in the Fellowship?
You do not have to play guitar to be in the Fellowship, though it is desirable.

How much time will it take to be in this Fellowship?
In addition to the retreat in November, participants should plan on spending approximately 3-5 hours a month on this Fellowship including:

  • One hour with the full cohort on a video call a few times a year
  • One hour with their local Sponsoring Staff Member
  • One hour with their Mentor
  • One to two hours preparing and completing the action assignment

Though of course conflicts occasionally come up, we expect that Fellows will make every effort to be on every call.

What is a Sponsoring Staff Member?
In addition to the Program Director and song leaders, participants will also work with a Sponsoring Mentor. A Sponsoring Mentor is a local support person who helps participants both reflect on their learning and helps them find opportunities to complete their action assignments. Participants will choose their own Sponsoring Mentor from the adults they already know in their congregation or community. Applicants will have until September 1st to provide the name of their Sponsoring Mentor. A letter and materials will be sent to you after you apply to help you ask a local adult to fulfill this role for you and our team will support you if needed.

Your Sponsoring Staff Member should be someone who:

  • Is local
  • You would like to work with
  • Can give you access to a community to song lead for (religious school, youth group, synagogue worship) so you can complete the action assignments
  • Someone who knows you and can write a recommendation for you to the Fellowship

How will you decide which applicants are accepted?
While this Fellowship is a very exciting opportunity, we are unfortunately unable to accept all applicants. We look forward to creating a diverse cohort and will be considering:

  • Past general leadership experience
  • Past songleading experience
  • Knowledge of vocal and instrumental music & past performance experience
  • Excitement for the Fellowship
  • Opportunity for completing action assignments
  • Recommendation from Sponsoring Staff Member

What happens after the Fellowship?
Participants will receive a certificate of completion after the Fellowship, as well as language that can be used on job applications and resumes. In addition, Fellows will have the opportunity to song lead at various URJ programs including national gatherings such as NFTY Convention and URJ Biennial, camp and NFTY.

Know someone who might be interested? Nominate a teen »

Thank you for your interest in being a Sponsoring Staff Member and helping a new songleader develop their songleading skills, deepen their knowledge of repertoire and communal singing technique, and build meaningful relationships with you and other professionals, as well as with young people and adults within our community.

A Sponsoring Staff Member is a local support person who helps participants both reflect on their learning and helps them find opportunities to complete their action assignments. Participants choose their own Sponsoring Staff Member from the adults they already know in their congregation or community.

By agreeing to be a Sponsoring Staff Member, you will be agreeing to:

  • Attend the opening webinar with Cantor Rosalie Will to learn about the full structure of the program
  • Meet monthly with your mentee to:
    • Help them complete action assignments (such as observing a worship leader or teaching a song) and support with logistics, calendar, and staff support to ensure that they are set up for success. You will receive monthly emails so that you know the assignments and needs.
    • Process, debrief and reflect on each project and offer feedback and success metrics along the way based on metrics provided by the program leaders.
    • Share in their excitement, commitment and developmental needs as they move through the fellowship as the learning and growing deepens.
  • Fill out 2 questionnaires during the year to let the Program Director know any suggestions for how to help me continue my Jewish songleading journey.

Once you have spoken to the teen applicant and feel comfortable serving as their Sponsoring Staff Member, please fill out this form. Please note that teens will need a Sponsoring Mentor in order to participate in this program.  We are grateful for your partnership.

Cost

The cost of the Fellowship is built into the cost of the Songleading Track at the Teen Leadership Summits.

Dates

Participants will need to attend monthly Zoom meetings from November through May

Application

Applications for the full Fellowship will be available soon! Let us know you’re interested »

                        

 

NFTY - the Reform Jewish Youth Movement:

NFTY is a movement that builds strong, welcoming, inspired communities through teen-powered engagement. Together, we pursue tikkun olam, personal growth, youth empowerment, and deep connections, all rooted in Reform Judaism. Teens from all streams of Judaism are welcome and encouraged to participate. 

American Conference of Cantors:

The American Conference of Cantors, through its support for and cultivation of excellence among cantors, strengthens Reform Jewish life in North America. ACC cantors are equipped to be attentive to the joys and challenges that members within a congregation face over the course of their lives, using both their unique calling to music and prayer and their shared responsibilities for offering spiritual leadership to congregations. ACC members also can help lead their congregations and by extension, the Reform Jewish movement in North America, to a bright future. The ACC maintains rigorous standards for ordination/certification, offers deep support for the professional needs of cantors, advocates with passion for the evolving role of the cantorial vocation, and cultivates ever-increasing professional excellence among its members.

The ACC is thrilled to partner with the URJ to support the training and development of young songleaders, fostering in them leadership skills and a love of Jewish communal singing which will enhance our community for years to come.

 

 

Know someone who might be interested? Nominate a teen »

Thank you for your interest in being a Sponsoring Staff Member and helping a new songleader develop their songleading skills, deepen their knowledge of repertoire and communal singing technique, and build meaningful relationships with you and other professionals, as well as with young people and adults within our community.

A Sponsoring Staff Member is a local support person who helps participants both reflect on their learning and helps them find opportunities to complete their action assignments. Participants choose their own Sponsoring Staff Member from the adults they already know in their congregation or community.

By agreeing to be a Sponsoring Staff Member, you will be agreeing to:

  • Attend the opening webinar with Cantor Rosalie Will to learn about the full structure of the program
  • Meet monthly with your mentee to:
    • Help them complete action assignments (such as observing a worship leader or teaching a song) and support with logistics, calendar, and staff support to ensure that they are set up for success. You will receive monthly emails so that you know the assignments and needs.
    • Process, debrief and reflect on each project and offer feedback and success metrics along the way based on metrics provided by the program leaders.
    • Share in their excitement, commitment and developmental needs as they move through the fellowship as the learning and growing deepens.
  • Fill out 2 questionnaires during the year to let the Program Director know any suggestions for how to help me continue my Jewish songleading journey.

Once you have spoken to the teen applicant and feel comfortable serving as their Sponsoring Staff Member, please fill out this form. Please note that teens will need a Sponsoring Mentor in order to participate in this program.  We are grateful for your partnership.