Monday, October 30, 2017

8 reasons why choir leaders should go to more singing workshops

Recently I went to an amazing weekend for choir leaders led by Stephen Taberner of The Spooky Men’s Chorale.

Sing Africa (Africapella) Portsmouth 2017 (23)

I don’t spend enough time on the receiving end so found it thoroughly refreshing and stimulating. Here’s why it’s good for you.

There are many good reasons why choir leaders should attend singing workshops and other training courses as often as you can. It’s important to find time in your busy schedule to do so. Here are some of those reasons.

  1. continuing professional development – as reflective practitioners who are always trying to improve our craft, you need to take every opportunity you can to learn. Whether it’s reading blogs, subscribing to professional publications, meeting with your peer group or attending workshops. Being a choir leader is a journey of exploration and development which is ongoing.
  2. be on the receiving end for a change – from time to time it’s important to put yourself in the position of one of your choir members to see what it’s like to be on the other side. You may struggle to learn a song by ear, or find it hard to cope singing as part of a large section. It will give you an insight into what your own choir members experience and hopefully help you to help them better.
  3. see how other leaders work – there are, of course, as many different approaches to leading choirs as there are choir leaders. This is a chance to discover how others do it. Whether you agree or disagree with the methods, you are bound to learn something about your own approach.
  4. realise that you’re not that bad after all! – we all have crises of confidence from time to time and we can also become jaded if we’ve been leading a choir for a long time. Attending a workshop can allow you to realise that you’re actually doing a better job than you thought, and perhaps more importantly, can remind you why you started doing it in the first place. A good workshop can reignite your passion.
  5. get out of your rut and comfort zone – it’s good to be challenged from time to time. If you lead the same group week in and week out, it’s very easy to get stuck in a rut and stop growing. It’s very common to take the easy way out and do things a certain way because that’s always the way you’ve done it. Attending a workshop, meeting other choir leaders and being on the receiving end of new and different approaches can revitalise your own practice and get you out of a rut.
  6. be fed for a change – as opposed to always giving out energy. As a choir leader you spend an awful lot of time giving out energy and feeding others. It’s important for your own health and development to be fed from time to time.
  7. discover what works and what doesn’t work – being a choir member or punter in a workshop can be a great demonstration of what works and what doesn’t work. Here’s your chance to experience it first hand and see how it feels.
  8. put your own teaching into practice – being in a workshop gives you the opportunity to be taught the kinds of things that you try to teach your own choir. Here are those very teaching techniques put into practice and you’re on the receiving end! Do they work? Are they easy to understand? Can you actually put them into practice?

Here are some other posts that you might find useful:

What you can learn from singing workshops to become a better singer or workshop leader

Choir and workshop leaders: make sure you’re on the receiving end from time to time

singers can benefit too!

It’s not just good for choir leaders to go to workshops regularly. Even if you have the most brilliant choir leader, it’s always a good idea to experience different teaching and choir leading styles. You can also learn a huge amount by being in the audience from time to time.

You might find these posts useful:

Get out of your singing rut and try something new – it will make you a better singer
Singers should spend more time in the audience

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Chris Rowbury



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