Monday, July 07, 2014

Regular weekly choir or drop-in singing group? – the pros and cons

Some choirs and singing groups meet frequently, often once a week, requiring a high level of commitment. Others meet less frequently and work on a drop-in basis with no requirement to attend every session.


There are advantages and disadvantages to each kind of group. Here are some pros and cons.

Most choirs meet regularly and require a high level of commitment, especially if they are performing choirs. Members tend to stay for many years and the choir as a whole grow and develop over time.

Other singing groups require far less commitment and allow people to drop in as and when they want. Each session is self-contained and often consists of different singers each time.

Let’s look at the advantages of each of these two kinds of singing group.

advantages of regular sessions

  • vocal technique and confidence can build over time
  • more complex songs can be tackled over a number of sessions
  • songs can be revisited in depth and polished at any time
  • members get to know each other really well

advantages of drop-in sessions

  • no commitment required – good for people with busy lives
  • energy levels stay high as it’s new and fresh each time
  • get to meet lots of different people over time
  • no time for song-fatigue to set in
Now let’s look at the disadvantages of each approach.

disadvantages of regular sessions

  • high level of commitment required – hard to fit in with people’s busy lives
  • songs can go stale with constant repetition
  • novelty wears off over time and energy levels can drop
  • if you miss any sessions it’s hard to catch up

disadvantages of drop-in sessions

  • no scope for developing vocal technique as always starting from scratch
  • can only teach relatively simple songs as sessions need to be self-contained
  • singing with different people each time makes it hard to build trust
  • difficult to create a sense of team

other alternatives

There are other alternatives to these two extremes.

I run short projects over a number of weeks (these run for six rehearsals and I call them Singing Safaris). Regular weekly commitment is required, but it doesn’t last too long. This gives us the benefits of both regular and drop-in sessions: there is time to build from session to session whilst energy levels stay high with the constant novelty (and approaching performance at the end!).

There are also long-standing choirs which meet every week but don’t insist on a regular commitment. They are essentially a kind of drop-in group, but with some members coming more regularly than others. These kind of groups bring their own problems! It’s hard to prepare for performance and it doesn’t guarantee a steady income stream for the choir leader.

What kind of singing group do you belong to? Can you relate to the advantages and disadvantages I’ve outlined above? Are there any that I’ve missed out? Or do you have another alternative that I’ve not mentioned?

I’d love to hear from your experiences. Do drop by and leave a comment.

Chris Rowbury




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: