Monday, September 15, 2014

Your singing experience depends on how you feel, not just on what you do

On the face of it, a workshop or concert can be a resounding success.

glum dog
photo by Andy Armstrong

But ask individuals about how they think it went and some people will think it was terrible.

Sometimes I have to run a workshop when I’m feeling less than my best. I often don’t sleep the night before and I seem to get colds and other bugs quite regularly.

Which means that many choir sessions and singing days are a real struggle for me (as I’m sure they can be for other choir and workshop leaders).

When I’m feeling less than 100% I know I’m not giving my best. Because of this I sometimes apologise after a singing session because I know I’ve not delivered what people have expected.

Yet it’s always surprising that the feedback on these occasions rarely reflects this. Most people don’t notice that I’m under par. That’s not to say that I couldn’t have done better if I’d been well, but my perception has been clouded by how I feel.

In the same way I know of singers who’ve attended workshops and afterwards have beaten themselves up because they’ve got things wrong or not picked a song up as quickly as others or felt they kept making mistakes or believed that they let their section down.

But again, nobody else usually notices. The singer’s perception of how their singing was has been affected by how they were feeling. If we’re a bit down (or feeling ill) then we’ll notice all the things that go wrong and come away thinking it was a disaster.

So remember, next time you come away from leading or attending a singing event, be aware that your judgment of it will be affected by how you feel.

It’s never as bad as you think, and don’t ever let it put you off doing it again.

further reading

You might also find these posts of interest:

Just one of those days
How our mood affects our experiences

Wot, me worried?
About not sleeping before a workshop

Taking care of ourselves as choir and workshop leaders

Not everyone experiences a concert in the same way

No energy? Sing different, sing better!

You are not alone – most people in your choir think they can’t sing well

Why the singers in your choir still love you even though they look bored

Chris Rowbury




Monday, September 08, 2014

Keeping choir attendance up – stick or carrot?

As I wrote recently (It’s summer – where have all the choir gone??!!), patchy attendance at regular choir sessions can be very frustrating.

stick and carrot
donkey photo by Clay Junell

If you’re a community, or amateur, or singing for fun, or casual choir, how can you keep attendance levels high?

Monday, September 01, 2014

If not now, when? – start singing NOW!

“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready.” Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie
photo by Fido

Especially when that day may never come when you truly feel ‘ready’. So start singing now!

Monday, August 25, 2014

How to sing – the definitive guide

“How to sing” is one of the most common requests I get. The answer is simple: open your mouth and let the sound out.

The_Idea_of_North FLIPPED
photo by Spekoek

I’m not being facetious, it’s as simple as that. But when someone asks that question, they’re usually hiding a deeper one. Let’s look at what they really want to know and see what the answers are.

Monday, August 18, 2014

How many breaks should you have on a singing weekend?

People pay good money to come on a singing workshop and want to sing as much as they can.

But everyone needs a break. How do you find the balance between singing and time off?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Where do you find all your songs?

This is a question I’m often asked at my singing workshops, especially by people starting out as choir leaders.

listening device
photo by James Vaughan

There is often the assumption that I must have travelled to all the countries that I teach songs from and maybe even speak the languages. Not true!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Your job as a choir leader is to disappear

In David Zweig’s recent book he talks about Invisibles: people who are unseen when their job is done perfectly (who only draw attention to themselves when things go wrong).


It got me thinking that most of a choir leader’s job is invisible to the wider public. So why not just disappear when the next concert rolls around?