Sunday, March 02, 2014

What’s the opposite of a “Singing for fun” choir?

Certain people are rather dismissive of “Singing for fun” choirs. If it’s for fun then it can’t possibly be of any quality.


Then I got to wondering: what are their choirs like? What’s the opposite of “Singing for fun”? — “Singing for boredom”? “Singing for misery”? I know which choir I’d rather be in!

fun vs. serious

I don’t take my work too seriously, but I’m very serious about my work.

I run all my workshops and choirs with the same light-hearted, fun (there’s that word again!), relaxed approach and I find that people respond well and I get great results.

I took over a choir once from someone I referred to in last week’s post (Avoid toxic choir leaders – the end does NOT justify the means) and a few people left because I didn’t shout at them or tell them off enough.

Some people associate ‘serious’ with disciplined, hard work, strict, joyless, perfection, drill, getting it right, school, important, suffering, and so on.

Of course, some of these are important if we want to make great music.

We all want to “get it right” and we all strive for ‘perfection’ (whatever that might mean). But it doesn’t have to be done in a po-faced, miserabilist fashion.

It’s also so easy to lose sight of the context and believe that what you are doing is really important (so we put our ‘important’ faces on and get very, very serious).

That’s when the stress and fear creep in. See the bigger picture and get a perspective (see Calm down dear, it’s only a song!).

You will get the best out of your singers if you create a relaxed and supportive environment where people can explore the music in a safe space.

You can be serious about the music, but do it in a fun way and you’ll still get great results.

How about you? Do you sing for fun or sing to be miserable?

Chris Rowbury