And so, sitting there in the office, I began to sing. It was strange following the keyboard while keyboard was also following me, the cantor changing tempi to accommodate my phrasing. I was nervous and self-conscious, and sounded horrible. I kept forgetting to breathe, and strained to hit the high notes.
He stopped playing. "Don't try to sound like me, " he said, and leaned back in his chair. Egads; I was probably doing a bad imitation without even knowing it, since I heard those prayers in his voice all the time. "I sing from the place I speak," he continued, and then demonstrated, vocalizing a low note. "But you sing higher than you speak. Use more air, have the sound come from your head." He made a light, floaty noise that seemed to emanate from somewhere around his ears.
Of course he was right. I stood up and started again; it sounded much better.
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