Sunday, August 19, 2012

It’s too hot to sing! – choosing the right space to work in

Summer has finally arrived in the UK. We’ve been praying for sunshine for so long, but now it’s just a little TOO hot (30deg C)!

too hot
Photo by enfad

Too hot to do anything really other than lay under a shady tree sipping Pimms. Certainly too hot to sing.

Which reminded me of a singing weekend I ran recently in the Lake District. There were about 25 of us crammed into a small, low-ceilinged conference room. It was a sunny day and the windows didn’t open. Too hot to sing!

When choosing a rehearsal space or room for a workshop it’s important to get it right. People need to feel completely comfortable so there are no obstacles to singing freely.

Here are some things you might want to consider:
  • acoustics – if it’s too boomy or echoey then the harmonies will become a muddy mess. If it’s too ‘dry’ then it won’t be very flattering and will show up all the imperfections of tuning and blend.
  • space – a large open space is best with no pillars or other obstructions. If  you need chairs, make sure they are available, but don’t intrude on the space too much. If you’re going to do a lot of physical warm ups or choreography, make sure there’s enough space for people to move around without bumping into each other.
  • floor surface – parquet and other wood floors are lovely to work on, but might make the space echoey or people can slip easily when they spill their tea (which they will!). Thin carpet or cushioned vinyl are good, especially if people want to work barefoot.
  • temperature – if it’s too cold in the winter then people just can’t think. If it’s too hot in the summer then everyone becomes sluggish. Make sure there is sufficient heating for the cold, and cool ventilation for the heat.
  • fresh air – make sure the room is not airless. People need to keep warm, but there should be a good supply of fresh air coming into the room.
  • airy and light – does it have the right ‘vibe’? This usually means plenty of light and space. High ceilings, large windows, light-coloured walls.
  • water supply – not everyone remembers to bring water bottles. Make sure there is a drinking tap nearby.
  • toilets – a vital consideration! Better if they’re clean, lots of them, and not too far away.
I’m sure there are plenty of other things to add to this list. Do leave a comment and add your suggestions.

I’m off to have a cold bath!

Chris Rowbury's website:

Chris Rowbury


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