Monday, February 23, 2015

If you don’t feel nervous before a concert or a singing workshop then something’s wrong

I never sleep the night before running a singing workshop and I always feel terribly nervous before a concert – whether I’m singing or conducting.

photo by Francesco

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. The day you stop being nervous is the day you should give up. Here’s why.

Monday, February 16, 2015

What if the singing session is a success, but you feel like a failure?

Sometimes we’re asked to lead a rehearsal or run a singing workshop or perform a song and we do our job very well. But afterwards we don’t feel particularly good about it.

success failure

What’s going on here? Is it possible to be successful, but fail at the same time?

Monday, February 09, 2015

What’s the best recording device to use in a choir rehearsal or singing workshop?

How long’s a piece of string?! There are so many options that I’m not going to specify any particular type or model.

tape recorder
photo by svennevenn

However, here are some of the things you need to consider.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Recording during singing workshops and choir rehearsals – why, what and when?

Despite my strong belief in the oral/ aural tradition, there is an increasing number of handheld recording devices appearing in my singing sessions!


People ask if they can record during a singing workshop; choir members record their parts on their phone whilst learning a new song; I record the songs we’ve learnt at the end of each workshop I run. But what’s the best, and most appropriate way of recording during singing workshops and choir rehearsals?

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?