Monday, February 18, 2019

Does singing have to have an end goal?

Some people sign up for classes because there’s a goal to work towards.

But surely it’s possible to do things just for the sake of it? Does singing always have to have a goal?

There was a great article by Hadley Freeman in The Guardian entitled:

“When I took up yoga 14 years ago I was terrible at it. I still am – so what’s got me hooked?”

In it she says:

“I had never learned to think of exercise as something one might do simply because it’s fun: either it had to be for an end goal or you had to be good at it.”

There are many people who approach singing in the same way.

It’s not enough to enjoy singing together, there needs to be a goal, or you have to be good at it.

But just like yoga and other exercise, it’s perfectly OK to just sing because you love to sing!

It’s inevitable that you will get better the more you do it, but it’s not necessary to be ‘good’ at it in order to get something out of it.

Neither is it important to have a goal such as a performance (see Choirs that don’t perform and Should your choir perform live?)

There are many, many choirs and singing groups of different flavours which come together just to sing with no other agenda. They are open to anyone (you don’t have to be ‘good’ in order to join, and they often don’t perform.

They just sing for fun.

That doesn’t mean that they don’t take the singing seriously (see What’s the opposite of a ‘Singing for fun’ choir?), it’s just that the focus is on the process rather than the product.

At the end of her article, Hadley Freeman could equally well be describing a good choir leader:

“My ludicrously patient teacher ensures I make just enough progress each week to stay excited. He never singles me out as an example of how not to do something, even though I am, and he reassures me that just because something is hard doesn’t mean you can’t do it. After all, he says, you learn how to do something only by making mistakes.”

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Chris Rowbury



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