Monday, April 24, 2017

Is there an alternative to being patient when leading a choir?

I’ve been praised many times by the singers I work with for being so patient.

relaxed

Which makes me wonder: what’s the alternative?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Do you need to practice outside choir rehearsals?

Many singers come to choir – especially “singing for fun” groups – to get away from the stresses of regular life. They love to sing and find it a relaxing escape from the daily grind.

singing in car
photo by Aka Hige

But if your choir performs, there comes a time when you need to be “off the book”, know all the lyrics and be totally familiar with your part. Can that all be done within the rehearsal sessions?

Monday, April 10, 2017

What singing subjects would you like me to write about?

I’ve been writing this blog since December 2006 and have written over 600 posts. I keep thinking I’ll run out of things to write about, but I’ve not done so yet!

writing
However, there may well be subjects that I’ve not considered or haven’t got around to yet. Which is where you come in.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Why I don’t use name badges at my singing workshops

I’m just back from leading a singing weekend and one of the feedback comments was “It would be good to have name badges.”

name badge

I don’t use name badges at my singing weekends, nor in the choirs that I run. Here’s my reasoning.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Why you should stand front and centre if you’re not a confident singer

When we try something new, we are tentative and like to hide until we feel we know a bit more about what we’re doing.

seagulls

However, if you’ve not sung in a group before then this is the complete opposite of what you need to do! Here’s why you should stand front and centre instead of hiding at the back.

Monday, March 20, 2017

7 ways to hold onto your choir members: why retention is more important than recruitment

I often hear choirs asking how they can recruit more members.

holding on
photo by Laura LaRose

But if you hold onto your existing members, you won’t need to recruit that often. Here are some of the reasons why singers might leave your choir and what you can do to stop it.

Monday, March 13, 2017

How to sing songs from other cultures more authentically

The other week I wrote about why you shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss songs that aren’t in English.

Lawrence_of_Arabia
T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

This week I want to consider how you might make songs from other cultures sound more ‘authentic’.

Monday, March 06, 2017

How to develop perfect warm up exercises for your choir

The choir leader’s (and singer’s) lament: “I’m bored with the warm ups and want new ideas.”

IMG_9507 June 2003

It’s very easy to create your own exciting new warm up exercises. I’ll show you how.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Don’t be too quick to dismiss songs that aren’t in English

Some people are put off when they come across a song with foreign words. They prefer to sing songs in English.

Xhosa singers
photo by Chell Hill

Not only are they missing out on so much great music, but it also widens your cultural horizons. Here’s why you should consider songs that aren’t in English.

Monday, February 20, 2017

How to give and receive starting notes 3: all the ways it can go wrong

There are many ways that starting notes for a song can be given out. There are also plenty of ways that starting notes can be confusing or misheard!

out of tune

Here are some useful tips for making sure you start off on the right note. In Part 3 I look at all the ways in which giving and receiving starting notes can go wrong.

Monday, February 13, 2017

How to give and receive starting notes 2: receiving your note accurately

There are many ways that starting notes for a song can be given out. There are also plenty of ways that starting notes can be confusing or misheard!

recording_Mountain_Chief

Here are some useful tips for making sure you start off on the right note. In Part 2 I consider how starting notes are received by the singer.

Monday, February 06, 2017

How to give and receive starting notes 1: giving notes out

There are many ways that starting notes for a song can be given out. There are also plenty of ways that starting notes can be confusing or misheard!

chromatic pitch pipe

Here are some useful tips for making sure you start off on the right note. In Part 1 I consider how starting notes are given out.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Should you pander to your choir or just run things your way?

Many choir leaders have a strong style and particular choice of repertoire. They lead large, thriving choirs which have a strong vision.

We_Want_Beer

Other choir leaders involve their members more and ask their opinion on repertoire, warm ups, performances, etc. Is one approach better or more successful than the other?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Do your singers know what kind of choir they’re in?

When you lead a choir you have a clear idea of what you want that choir to be. But have you made sure that your choir members are on the same page as you?

animal choir

Everyone makes assumption and you may be surprised at how many different views there are within the same choir.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Before you use songs from other cultures check your sources!

Just because a song is in a foreign language, you still need to respect its origins.

sami
Sami family by Morten Oddvik

There is a huge amount of misinformation out there when it comes to songs from other cultures. Before you pass a song along, make sure you know as much about it as you can – and make sure the information is accurate.

Monday, January 09, 2017

New choir season, new ideas – but how much can you really change?

It’s the time of year when many people decide to change things, to try something new.

good idea

But the problem is that you’re still the same person. How much can things really change?

Monday, January 02, 2017

Why you should start the year singing – and then sing some more!

Those of us who sing regularly or who work with singers know how beneficial singing together is. There is now a growing body of research to support our beliefs.

community choir
photo by Garry Knight

Why not start singing regularly this year – you might even persuade a friend to join you?! You don’t even have to be able to ‘sing’ – there are plenty of choirs out there which don’t require you to have any experience. Here are some good reasons why it’s time to get singing.