Sunday, May 15, 2011

What’s in a name? Creating good singing workshop titles

Like a newspaper headline, or title for a blog post, a good name for a singing workshop can make all the difference.


Queue for the Banksy Exhibition (Nigel Mykura) / CC BY-SA 2.0

I’m constantly wrestling with titles for new workshops. I’m always on the lookout for that killer title that will get the punters flocking in. In the process I’ve discovered a few guidelines that I’d like to share with you.

how to come up with a good title for a singing workshop

Here are several things that you need to bear in mind. This list is by no means exhaustive, so I’d love to hear from you if you’ve anything to add.

A good singing workshop title should:

  • describe accurately what to expect – you don’t have many words to do this, but somehow you have to capture the flavour and content of the whole workshop. Otherwise people who come will be disappointed and won’t come back!
  • catch people’s attention – and be easy to remember. You need something catchy that will stick in people’s minds. Unless it’s totally inappropriate, it should be fun, witty and memorable.
  • not be too long and complicated – or people won’t understand it or remember it. Plus it won’t fit well on a poster or press release!
  • try to use branding – if you have a strap line (e.g. “Sing your socks off”, “Singing for larks”, “Sing yourself free”) that represents your ‘brand’ as a workshop leader, then it’s a good idea to fit it into the title somehow
  • never contain specialist jargon – unless the workshop is aimed at specialists who understand the jargon. So try not to use big, specialist words like polyphony, acappella, SATB, etc. or people may well not understand what you’re offering
  • avoid ambiguity – just because we’re in the business and bandy these words around all the time, it’s easy to forget that ‘civilians’ might have different meanings for some words, or a very particular expectation. For example, ‘harmony’ might refer to world peace, ‘acappella’ may imply barbershop
  • be easy to spell – if you have some fancy name (e.g. I’ve used ABBAcappella in the past – thanks Beth) you may end up having trouble spelling it over the phone or ensuring that it gets spelled correctly in the press
  • not assume that people have the same reference points – for example I know and love songs from Eastern Europe. For me it conjures up Bulgarian women’s choirs, Russian orthodox church music and Georgian polyphony. BUT for many people their only reference point may be cheesy Eurovision song entries!
  • be aimed at its intended audience – that will determine what (if any) jargon you can use, whether you should focus on the fun nature of the workshop, or its serious aims, etc.

I like a little alliteration lately!

And finally, and maybe a very personal preference, but I believe that a little alliteration goes a long way! It can make workshop titles easy to remember and it gives you something to aim for to help narrow possibilities down. Don’t overuse it though.

what do you think?

Are you a workshop leader who has come up with some great titles? Have you found that some title bring in more punters than others? If you attend singing workshops regularly, which titles have attracted you and which have put you off? I’d love to hear some specific examples! Do drop by and leave a comment.


Chris Rowbury's website:

Chris Rowbury


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