Sunday, November 25, 2012

Polished songs or deeper learning experience – which is better in a singing workshop?

At the end of each workshop I now record the group singing through all the songs I’ve taught. I then make the recording available to the participants.

mixing console
Photo by Dennis AB

But I’ve been getting comments about the quality of the recordings. People are asking me to record the songs as soon as we’ve learnt them rather than at the end of the day when people are tired.

There are two reasons why I started recording the songs:
  • for people to realise how good the overall group sound is
  • to have something to sing along to and remind people of what they’ve learnt
I was amazed when one person told me that she’d been coming to workshops for years, but had never realised how good the singing sounded! It’s very easy to get lost in your own part and not get a sense of what the overall effect is.

Since we learn the songs relatively fast, they are quickly forgotten, so it’s nice to have a recording that people can refer to afterwards and remember how the songs go.

But do these recordings need to be polished?

There is a third reason why I started recording at the end of each workshop:
  • as a way of revising the songs and having a little ‘performance’ at the end to cement what people have learnt
Sometimes we invite friends and family to hear what we’ve learnt in the workshop. But often this is not possible, so I thought we could ‘perform’ for the microphone instead.

If we leave a song just after we’ve got it right, then it won’t stay long in the memory – quickly learnt, quickly forgotten. It’s good practice to re-visit the song some time later to make sure it really beds in.

The final recording of the day may not be the best version of the song. We may well have sung it better earlier on. But the process of making the recording, revisiting each song, and making it into a little ‘performance’ has enormous value and helps the learning process.

What we lose in quality, we gain in deeper learning.

So next time you’re at one of my singing workshops, remember this article when I make you sing through the songs at the end even though you’re really tired and want to go home!

Have you found that going over songs at the end of a workshop helps to bed the songs in more deeply? Have you found recordings of workshops to be useful? Do leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Chris Rowbury's website:

Chris Rowbury


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