Monday, July 01, 2019

What do you do if you’ve not finished teaching a song before the end of the session?

Last weekend I ran one of my monthly drop-in sessions. I had underestimated the time it would take to teach a song so couldn’t finish it by the time the session ended.

What can you do in situations like that?

No matter how experienced you are and how much you’ve planned, it’s impossible to predict exactly how long it will take to teach a song.

A particular song with one group might take an hour, but with a different group it could take several hours.

In an ongoing group it’s not too much of a problem because you can simply pick up where you left off in the next session.

With a one-off workshop though it’s very different and you’re in danger of leaving singers high and dry and unsatisfied.

Here are some options for what you might do if you’re in the middle of teaching a song when the session ends.

ongoing group

Although you can continue teaching the song in the next session, it’s important to leave it at a convenient point.

What not to do is to rush to try and finish teaching it when you realise time is running out. Your usual care and attention will go out the window and singers may well not pick up the end of the song as well as the beginning.

As soon as you realise you might run out of time, decide on a convenient break-point in the song that is realistic to aim for. Don’t finish in the middle of a phrase for example.

Even if you think you can squeeze more teaching in the time left, stick to the break-point so you can leave the song at a sensible point. Go over the bit you have taught several times so the singers have a well-defined chunk of the song bedded in.

In the next session you can begin by revising the part of the song you have learnt before going on to the rest of it. But often I find it more useful to start with the part of the song you’ve not yet taught. Otherwise singers will end up having rehearsed the first part of the song far more than the second part.

one-off workshop

If you find yourself running out of time in a one-off workshop, there’s no possibility of completing the song at a later date. The danger is that singers will feel frustrated and dissatisfied (and may decide not to sing with you again!).

If you realise very early on that you won’t have time to teach the whole song, you can abandon it in the early stages and teach a simpler alternative.

If you’re fairly well into the song before you realise, as with an ongoing group, choose a suitable break-point. For example, it could be that you just do the verse and not the chorus. This will give some satisfaction to your singers.

Wherever you end your teaching, make sure you sing through a few times what you have taught. And make sure you end by singing through some of the complete songs from the rest of the session.

You can email a link to a recording of the entire song that you didn’t have time to teach fully so that singers see what they were aiming for.

other ideas

Have you found yourself in this situation? I’d love to know what you did when you found yourself running out of time. Do drop by and leave a comment.

Get more posts like this delivered straight to your inbox!

Click to subscribe by email.

Chris Rowbury




Monthly Music Roundup:

Chris Rowbury


Get more posts like this delivered straight to your inbox!

Click to subscribe by email.


found this helpful?

I provide this content free of charge, because I like to be helpful. If you have found it useful, you may like to ...

... to say thank you.





Monthly Music Round-up: