Monday, December 15, 2014

Why a choir can never be truly democratic

Ever asked your choir members how they think things are going? Is there a large committee helping to run your choir? If so, you’ve realised that a choir is not a democracy!

show of hands

A choir is more like a benign dictatorship. Here’s why democratic choirs don’t work.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Songbooks and other resources for choirs (that will also make great Christmas presents)

I’ve written before about finding songs for your choir (Where do you find all your songs? and Easy songs for your choir and Finding songs for your choir). But times move on and new books get published all the time.


Here’s a round up of songbooks and other resources that are either fairly new or which I haven’t mentioned before.

Monday, December 01, 2014

The differences between a ‘natural voice’ choir and all the rest

You may have come across the term ‘natural voice’. You may also have realised by now that I am a member of The Natural Voice Practitioners’ Network.

Caroline's book

But what exactly is the ‘natural voice’ and how do choirs run on ‘natural voice’ principles differ from other choirs? You’re in luck! Caroline Bithell has just written an amazing book that answers all your questions. Let’s look at what’s in it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Using world songs in the classroom: a teacher’s guide to sourcing songs and how to teach them

Some teachers find themselves having to lead singing sessions at their school, but don’t have that much experience of using songs from the world music repertoire (‘world songs’) or of teaching songs by ear.

children singing

Here is a short guide to using world songs in the classroom with some handy references to warms ups, song sources, and how to lead choirs.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Choirs and copyright: a beginner’s guide for the bewildered

[NB this post is about UK copyright laws. Although the situation will be similar in other countries, the various copyright and performing rights agencies and websites will obviously be different]

I wrote extensively about copyright way back in 2010 (see my series of seven posts Songs and copyright), but I still get emails every week from choir leaders asking me questions!


I’m certainly no expert, especially since I don’t use sheet music, but I thought I’d revisit the topic and try to spell it out in simple terms. Here goes!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Is how you label yourself as a singer holding you back?

We all have an image of the type of singer (or musical director or choir) that we think we are. There are things that we can do and things that we can’t (or won’t) do.

labelled person
photo by iamstarbuck

But what if the way we see ourselves is out of date? What if we’ve given ourselves the wrong label? How can we move forward?

Monday, November 03, 2014

Want to sing but are scared of being judged? Here’s what to do

Sarcastic remarks from X Factor judges. Teachers telling kids to “stand at the back and just mime”. Being made to stand up and sing solo to get into your workplace choir. Scary!

judges scores

And enough to put anyone off singing! However, there are plenty of other ways of singing with others without the fear of being judged or ridiculed. Here’s what you can do.