Musings from the Bay by Rita Glassman
It seems to me that composing and praying are very similar. There is an individual component, as well as a collective one. Our focus and "kavanah" (intent) must be very deep and sincere whether in a moment of inspiration or not.
Even though the prayers are set before us as are the musical scales, rhythms, keys, we must find a way to make them new, to give them life, breath and meaning. It's a matter of entering the unknown with brazen courage, faith and commitment.
Only one thing is certain- once engaging in that creative realm of indescribable beauty, holiness, and infinite possibilities, not only is there something new on the table to taste and to share, we, ourselves are transformed. The Max Helfman fellows with great skill, talent, warmth, patience and humor (and Michael Isaacson's generous teachings and genius) have made it possible to be vulnerably human in our composing giving all of us the best chance to create music for the synagogue which will allow for the hearts of listeners/fellow prayers to open and receive.