Monday, July 08, 2019

When did you last tell your singers how grateful you are?

Your singers turn up to choir week after week without fail. It’s very easy to get caught up in the music-making and forget that they don’t have to be there.

It’s good to show your gratitude to your singers from time to time. Don’t take them for granted!

We all have busy lives and there are countless diversions vying for our attention. Yet singers in choirs, especially community choirs, turn up every week, sometimes for 10 or 20 years.

Because of this loyalty and dedication, it’s easy to become complacent and take their attendance for granted.

Sometimes we may even get cross with individual singers because they’re late or miss a rehearsal or can’t make a particular gig.

But they don’t have to come!

A common mistake is to lose sight of each individual’s contribution and to consider the choir as a single entity. Yet it’s each and every individual voice that makes up the overall sound. If it weren’t for each singer, there would be no choir.

If a singer thinks they’re not valued, they will stop coming. And if every singer thinks that, your choir will disappear. See You are the most important singer in your choir

As time goes by and your choir grows and develops it’s also easy to forget that singing can be scary and make people feel vulnerable. As a group your choir may appear to be confident and competent, but there will always be individuals within the group who are outside their comfort zone. Yet despite that they are willing to share their voice with you.

If you focus too much on the music and getting it ‘right’ and being perfect on concert day, you can lose sight of why you wanted to do this job in the first place: because singing gives you pleasure. Hearing a group of singers in harmony singing for you is a delight and an honour. Try not to forget that.

The best way to remind yourself of all these things is to show gratitude to your singers.
It’s something you can do from time to time, but not too often or it will stop meaning anything. It could be just after a concert, or at the end of a season/rehearsal or at an important anniversary. Or, perhaps more meaningfully, in the middle of a rehearsal when least expected.

Make sure it’s real and heartfelt and you will see your singers glow and you will be rewarded in many subtle ways.

Here are four things you can say to your singers:
  1. point out that every single voice is important. You literally couldn’t do it without them!
  2. tell them how grateful you are that they turn up week after week and that you don’t take it for granted
  3. thank them for sharing their voices – it can be a scary and vulnerable thing to do
  4. remind them how much pleasure they give – both to you and to audiences
And this doesn’t just apply to regular choirs. I always show my gratitude at the end of a one-off workshop. It’s important to acknowledge your singers and their contribution whoever they are.

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Chris Rowbury




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