All I knew back then was that I was taking precious time away from tennis and rec room parties to listen to my elderly tutor (who was probably no older than 60) sing my Torah portion the way I was supposed to sing it.
Not only did he record the tune for me on a handy cassette, but he also gave me a notebook with my Torah portion in Hebrew using hieroglyphics. No kidding. It was like an Egyptian wall filled with swirls and arrows to help me remember how to pronounce a certain word, when to hit it hard and when to keep on going.
Somehow I made it through the big day, singing and all. And then, much later, after years of college, grad school, and jobs in radio, a crazy thing happened. I started to use the very same hieroglyphics I was taught at 13 to help me read news copy and record client PSAs and audio tracks for video. I literally didn’t realize I was doing it until I looked down at a script one day and saw I was using the same arrows and circles and swirls I was taught at 13.
Here are a few of the symbols I pencil in to my scripts when I go into the audio booth:
So, what have I learned from this? That I probably should have paid more attention to what I was taught in grade school, and that you never know when you might pick up a lesson that’ll last you a lifetime.