Monday, August 14, 2017

What singers can do when choir’s on a break

I know not all choirs take a break at this time of year, but many do.


What can singers usefully do whilst there is no choir?

When I first started out leading choirs, singers would panic when the long summer break came: “What will I do without any singing over the holiday??!!”.

So I set up mini four-week summer schools to keep singers busy. But I soon realised that I was running myself ragged, not getting any kind of break, and that the singers would still come back to choir any way without singing over the summer. I soon stopped. See Help! what am I going to do with no singing over the summer break?

However, many singers in choirs are at a loss of what to do over the long break. They might miss the singing, or the companionship, or the routine. What can they do?

  • more singing! – there are plenty of other singing opportunities around not connected with your choir. Here in Europe and the UK there are loads of singing camps which last a week or more. A great opportunity to camp out in the rain (!) whilst singing great songs and making new friends. There are also plenty of more formal music summer schools or residential singing weekends. See 10 reasons why your next singing workshop should be a residential one.
  • be different – a break from your regular choir is a chance to try something completely different. Or maybe take some kind of technique class or an individual singing lesson to work on areas that you feel need attention. See Get out of your singing rut and try something new – it will make you a better singer
  • practice at home – just because there’s no choir doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep your voice in trim. You can simply run through some of your favourite choir warm ups or check out some of the hundreds of YouTube videos to do with voice. Don’t worry too much though if you don’t sing a note over the long break, your voice will still be there when you get back to choir! See Has your voice gone rusty over the summer?
  • hook up with choir buddies – many singers miss the companionship and sense of community that come with being in a choir. That’s easily rectified over the break by hooking up with some of your choir friends. Your choir might even arrange some social events over the break such as picnics or walks. If not, ring round a few singing chums and arrange to meet up. This is a great opportunity for you to sing together in a smaller group. You can discover the joys of small group harmony singing and/ or get the chance to go over tricky bits of songs that you’ve never quite nailed. See Singing in harmony 2 – small group skills.
  • take a break! – one thing you can do over a long break is to actually take a break! Don’t even think about choirs or singing. Go to a music festival, go on holiday, repaint the house, hire a boat. When you finally go back to choir you’ll be refreshed and delighted to be back. See What I did on my summer holiday – why we all need a break sometime
  • and for serious singers … if you really, really want to become a better choir member or singer, there are plenty of things you can do over the break. See Use the long choir break to get better at what you do
I hope these few ideas help you make the most of your break. Have a good one!

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Chris Rowbury



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