Monday, August 18, 2014

How many breaks should you have on a singing weekend?

People pay good money to come on a singing workshop and want to sing as much as they can.

But everyone needs a break. How do you find the balance between singing and time off?

singing weekend timetables

When I first started to work at Farncombe Courses I was asked to create a timetable for my singing weekend. In every spare slot between meals and sleeping I simply put “singing”.

One of the tutors then said to me: “Aren’t you going to give them a break?”

My response was that people had paid a lot of hard-earned cash to come away on a singing weekend so I needed to give them as much singing as possible. But there is a balance.

People come away, often to a beautiful location, to sing but also to to have a break. It would be a shame to come to such a lovely place and not explore it. You have to realise that for most people a weekend away is a treat, a time for leisure.

Social time is also very important for singers to bond and get to know each other. The better a singing weekend is going, the more talking there is in the tea breaks!

longer singing courses

The pattern for longer singing holidays can be just two hours of singing each morning with the rest of the day off for swimming, lazing and sightseeing. That doesn’t seem much on the face of it, but over six days or so that’s quite a lot of singing.

Other courses might do two hours each morning, then an hour or so less formal singing in the early evening. Or maybe another two hour session late afternoon before supper.

It depends partly on the context of the weekend (how it’s advertised, what the goal is, what level of singing experience is required) and also on the participants.

On my singing weekends I try to cater for different needs by having an optional session on the Saturday afternoon. This is a self-contained session so if people don’t want to join us they won’t be missing anything important. That gives people the opportunity to either do some more singing or to take most of the afternoon off.

When I first tried this I assumed that most people would want to take a longer break, but it turns out that the majority of people like to do more singing!

what do you think?

How about you? If you run singing weekends, what does your timetable look like? And if you regularly attend singing weekends: how much time off seems reasonable?

I’d love to hear your views!

you might also be interested in ...

The social side of singing: any excuse for a tea break!

If there’s too much talking in your choir, something must be right

How to get people back after the break

Chris Rowbury




Chris Rowbury


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