Monday, January 26, 2015

The singers who didn’t like warm ups (and what became of them)

Once upon a time there were two singers: Olga and Little Erik. They  did not like choir warm ups. Olga always came late so she could avoid them. Little Erik did them in a half-hearted way with a scowl on his face.

boy and girl

What became of these two reckless singers? Read on to find out.

Monday, January 19, 2015

10 exercises guaranteed to get your singers listening more carefully

I went to a workshop recently run by the amazing Su Hart who has spent around 25 years working with the Baka people of Central Africa. Living in the rainforest as they do, listening well is literally a matter of life or death.

ear to the ground
photo by Rex Bennett

Su’s workshop reminded me yet again that singing is all about listening. But how can we get our singers to listen to each other better? Here are 10 exercises to get you started.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Build it and they will come – why you can never have too many choirs

I had a friend who moved to a new town and set up a new choir, blissfully ignorant of the 100+ community chorus that already existed there.

Estonia choir festival
photo by ToBreatheAsOne

What was amazing was that the new choir quickly attracted 40 or so new singers, none of whom were from the rival choir. How is that possible?

Monday, January 05, 2015

Increase your enjoyment of singing in the choir in the coming year

I wrote a post a while back called Ask not what your choir can do for you – ask what can you do for your choir. The more you put in, the more you get back!

The OK Chorale, Woodbridge
The OK Chorale, Woodbridge, Suffolk

There are plenty of practical things you can do to help you get more out of your choir. Here are a few. Why not try them in the coming year?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Busily doing nothing – 5 reasons why downtime is important for singers and choir leaders

Feel like you’re on a treadmill? Constantly learning and practising and planning but never arriving? Not enough time to catch your breath between concerts?

photo by Roger Gordon

Then you need some downtime! That is, time spent doing things completely unrelated to singing and choirs. Here’s why.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas carols are dying out – but are they really?

There have been two articles in the UK national press this week, one bemoaning the fact that we don’t sing Christmas carols together as much as we used to, and the other celebrating the thriving culture of pub Christmas carols in Yorkshire.


The truth lies somewhere between these two extremes. Let’s look at the evidence.

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.