Sunday, September 23, 2012

Planning for a new choir season

It’s that time of year again. Summer is over and choir starts back very soon. We choir leaders will be thinking about which songs to teach for the next season.

song book

How do we go about planning each term? What guidelines are there for choosing songs?

Here are some things I consider when planning a new choir season:
  • keep them on their toes – I hate complacency (see Breaking the habit of a lunchtime). When people get into habits they stop listening and learning. So I try to come up with warm ups, exercises and songs which the choir might not expect, so it’s not the “same old thing”
  • vocal development – I might have noted particular areas that the choir needs to work on vocally, so I’ll work out some new exercises and songs that might help.
  • familiar vs. new – too many new songs can be overwhelming, so I always make sure there are some familiar songs brought back from our existing repertoire. Sometimes in a different guise or with a different approach (see 10 ways to breathe new life into old songs).
  • something to aim for – people like to have something to work towards. Even if you don’t have a concert lined up, try to create some event or challenge that the choir can build up to.
  • mix it up – make sure the new songs you introduce have sufficient variety. A mix of simple/ complex, long/ short, slow/ upbeat, loud/ quiet, etc.
  • don’t repeat – as well as keeping a good mix of new songs, make sure that you’re introducing countries of origin and genres which are not just a repeat of last season.
  • concert coming up? – make sure you don’t introduce too many new songs so you can leave plenty of time to freshen up the repertoire you’ll be singing in the concert.
  • seasonal songs – always a handy way of choosing repertoire. Spring songs, winter songs, summer songs, Olympic songs, songs about ice, etc.
  • themed season – another way of coming up with a season of songs is to choose a particular theme (maybe tied in to a forthcoming concert). Songs about trees, songs from Mexico, water songs, love songs, rhythmic songs, etc.
  • know your material! – (NOTE TO SELF) whichever songs you choose, make sure you know them well before you teach them.
Do leave a comment if you have any other suggestions for helping to choose songs.

I hope you have a great autumn season (or spring if you’re in the southern hemisphere) and discover some fantastic new songs.

Chris Rowbury's website:

Chris Rowbury


Get more posts like this delivered straight to your inbox!

Click to subscribe by email.


found this helpful?

I provide this content free of charge, because I like to be helpful. If you have found it useful, you may like to ...

... to say thank you.





Monthly Music Round-up: