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date: 22 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines children’s musical cultures by focusing on the practice of songleading at American Reform Jewish youth summer camps. Songleading and its associated musical knowledge allow individuals to transition from childhood into positions of increasing authority. Many songleaders eventually assume positions of communal leadership in Reform Judaism, including several who trained to become ordained clergy. However, the transition to mastery did not always mean a transition away from childhood and into adulthood. Rather, the practice of songleading adapted to maintain a dual relationship with both youth experiences and the spiritual practices of ever-older peer groups. Even as the repertoire expended into the adult world, songleaders of all ages continually returned to camps for alumni weekends, songleading conventions, and religious and communal inspiration.

Keywords: American, Reform Jewish, summer camps, songleaders, youth, children, musical cultures

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