Monday, October 20, 2014

Is one of your choir sections thin on the ground? 10 ways to find more singers to fill the gaps

Many of us are in choirs where a particular section needs bolstering. In my case it’s a lack of altos, for others it might be too few tenors.

mixed choir

Here are 10 ideas for beefing up a particular voice part.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Keep it to yourself! – why colds, singing and choirs don’t mix

’Tis the season to be poorly. A warm rehearsal room is the ideal place to spread coughs and sneezes, especially with all that deep breathing and standing close together.

Sneeze by James Gathany

So what should you do when you come down with a bug: soldier on or stay away? It depends how bad it is. Let’s look at your options.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

How to get your choir to pay attention to you (and stop chatting!)

At the beginning of each choir session it’s as if the singers have not seen each other for years. They’re chatting away having a fine time of things.

showing off
photo by barçalunacy

Trouble is, you’ll have to put an end to that in order to get started. How do you get their attention with all that noise?

Monday, September 22, 2014

How to sing – 10 habits of successful professional singers

In my recent post How to sing – the definitive guide, I pointed out that lots of people Google “How to sing” instead of just getting on and doing it.

Garoar Thor Cortes
Garðar Thor Cortes by David

If you’re serious about singing and want to get on with it, here are 10 habits you can develop which come from successful professional singers.

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?