Monday, December 31, 2018

Taking stock – self-reflection for choir leaders and singers

In order to develop as a singer or choir leader it’s important to take stock from time to time.


People often use the New Year as a time for reflection, but you can take stock at any time.

why take stock?

It’s not possible to grow and develop unless you reflect on your own practice.

There are posh terms for this like “continuing professional development” or “reflective practice”.

Simply put, it means taking stock from time to time.

“Taking stock” can mean:
  • reflecting on your skillset and finding gaps that need filling
  • looking back on your achievements and realising how much you have progressed
  • noting things that have gone wrong and finding ways of avoiding those pitfalls in the future
  • making plans for future developments in your own practice
  • listing all the things that have gone really well and giving yourself a pat on the back
  • standing back from your practice to get an overview in order to not get stuck in a rut

when to take stock?

You can take stock at any time, and decide what period to reflect on.

Many people use the New Year as a fixed point to look back over the previous year and make plans for the coming year.

But you can take stock:
  • after a choir rehearsal or singing lesson
  • at the end of a choir season
  • when you have just learnt or taught a new song
  • at the end of a warm up exercise
  • with your choir committee over a five or ten year period
  • at the end of singing a particularly difficult phrase
  • after a concert
You can choose to take stock at several different times.

Taking stock at the end of the year gives you a greater overview than taking stock at the end of each concert for example.

Each type of stock-taking will give you different information.

when not to take stock

Although you can take stock at any time, there is one time when you should never do so:

when you are in the middle of something creative.

That is not the time for the analytical mind to be engaged. The inner critic can destroy creativity.

Which is why you should never try to consciously apply singing techniques in performance or think about how you have conducted the last phrase.

It’s a bit like trying to describe how you walk whilst you’re walking. As soon as your conscious, analytical mind comes to bear, you will find that you can’t actually walk!

how to document your stock taking?

When you take stock there are many ways to record your thoughts.

Some people keep a journal, which can be useful to note your development and to go back over older ideas.

Some people simply make an internal note so they can do something different the next time.

There are a range of possibilities, just use the ones which suits you best.

other useful posts

You might find these other posts useful.

What is your measure of success? – choir leading and self-reflection
Getting the best out of your choir 6: self-reflection

The secret to great singing that teachers don’t tell you

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

Singers and choir leaders: what bad habits have you got into?

What single thing will make you a better singer this year?

New year, new plans – how to get what you want

What would you do differently if you were starting your choir today?

What small changes will make you a better singer or choir leader in the coming year?

Achieving your singing goals for the year: 7 fool-proof steps

Setting your goals for the coming year (guaranteed to work!)

good luck for the coming year!

Even if you don’t decide to take stock at this time of year, I wish you every success with all your singing ventures in 2019.

Happy New Year!

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Chris Rowbury



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