Sunday, December 26, 2010

The 10 most popular posts of 2010

Since most of you will be too busy with Christmas to read this Boxing Day post I thought I’d revive an old tradition that goes way, way back to December 2009.

turkey carcass

The turkey carcass by Clevergrrl

Rather than a normal post, here is a list of the most popular posts from 2010 (and a few others that I think are worth a look) in case you missed them first time around.

the 10 most popular posts of 2010

  1. Why choirs shouldn’t sing pop songs
    It’s not big, it’s not clever and it rarely works – just don’t do it!
  2. Finding songs for your choir
    Tips and hints on finding song material for your choir.
  3. Why men won’t sing: a discussion
    This was the beginning of a series of posts on why men don’t (or won’t) sing and how we can get more of them to do so. Loads of comments with lots of good ideas.
  4. How to deal with unwanted talking during choir rehearsals without killing anybody
    Prompted by a (spoof) video of a conductor losing his cool and breaking someone’s violin, this looks at less drastic ways of trying to stop chatting during rehearsals.
  5. Men and singing 3: seven ideas to get more men involved
    Seven ideas that might help to get more men into your choirs and singing workshops.
  6. Men and singing 1: 15 myths debunked
    People come up with all kinds of reasons and excuses as to why men don’t sing. Here are 15 of them and I debunk them all!
  7. Don’t stress about things you can’t control
    Being a choir leader or choir member can get stressful when you get upset with things like lateness, people not turning up, singers not knowing their part, etc. But you can’t control any of these, so find ways of letting them go.
  8. Is all choral music religious?
    Prompted by a question from Bangladesh, the short answer is “No”, although a lot of choral music does originate from the Christian church.
  9. Becoming a choir leader – it’s a long story!
    My personal story of how I became a choir and singing workshop leader.
  10. What are rehearsals for exactly?
    A fresh look at why we rehearse and what we can expect from the process.

10 posts that generated lots of comments

  1. Audiences at choral concerts: who are they?
    Are they all over 60 and predominantly women? If so, what can we do about it?
  2. Tackling complex song structure without written music
    How complex can a song be and still teachable by ear? Plus some hints and techniques for teaching tricky songs.
  3. I’m a control freak and that’s exactly how I like it!
    I much prefer to teach or lead a choir on my own. I think one person leading is better than two or more.
  4. Over-rehearsed or under-prepared: which is better?
    I don’t like rehearsing, but some people love it. However, it’s possible to overdo it whichever way you think.
  5. Songs and copyright
    Start of a series of seven posts on how copyright affects the teaching, performing, arranging and distribution of songs.
  6. Why feedback is important when teaching and learning songs
    We all need feedback, both the teacher and the learner.
  7. The pleasures of the untrained voice
    What ‘untrained’ might mean and why I prefer it.
  8. It’s hard to teach songs that people already know
    People flock to my pop song workshops because they are familiar with the songs, but actually that makes it much harder to learn harmonies and other arrangements!
  9. The pleasures of being a choir member
    Never having been in a choir before, I raised the question and received lots of interesting answers.
  10. Know your place: singing AND moving!
    The difficulties of getting singers to line up. And stay in position!

the one post that I think got overlooked

One of my own favourite posts of the year arose because I realised that I’m often very ambitious both with my choirs and in my singing workshops.

I tend to teach lots of songs and often choose tricky ones with difficult harmonies. Yet everyone always seems to rise to the occasion.

I often get comments such as “I was amazed how much you made us achieve in such a short time; I enjoyed it way above my expectations” and “A wonderfully invigorating day. I’m amazed at what can be achieved in such a short time!” ... so I must be doing something right!

I realised that what I do is to never tell people how ambitious the programme is or how difficult the songs are and just get on with it. I wrote up my approach as:

How to get the best from your singers: don’t tell them it’s hard

I do believe this approach has many ramifications. If you behave as if everything is easy, under control and achievable, then you can achieve great things – whether you are a choir director or singer.

happy christmas!

Which only leaves me to say: 

A very merry Christmas and happy New Year to one and all and thanks for reading. I couldn’t do it without you!


Chris Rowbury's website:


Chris Rowbury


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