Monday, October 21, 2019

Not done it for a while? Can you still do it? – the worries of singers and choir leaders

We’ve all been there. We don’t do something for a while, then start to believe that we’ve lost the knack.

It applies to singers, workshop leaders, song arrangers, choir leaders, song writers – in fact, pretty much all of us! How do we deal with this worry?

It usually hits me after the long summer break. I’m due to run a workshop or lead a singing session and suddenly realise that I’ve not done it for a while. I begin to think that I won’t be able to rise to the challenge.

What will I do with all those expectant faces looking at me? Will I go blank? Will I remember the songs I’m teaching? How does one lead a warm up? What if they see right through me?
Of course, as soon as I’m there in front of the singers, it all comes back. I might be a little rusty and slow off the starting block, but it’s still there.

The same applies if you’ve not sung for a while (see Has your voice gone rusty over the summer? and Coming back to singing after a long break or bad experience).

The secret is to trust your experience and abilities. If you’ve been able to do something before, there’s no reason to suppose you won’t be able to do it again.

It’s one of those “feel the fear and do it any way” situations. Just because you might have years of experience doesn’t mean that doubts won’t arise and you won’t worry.

Notice those feelings and accept them.

The feelings won’t go away, but they also won’t stop you doing what you need to do. Just acknowledging them (“I always feel like this at the beginning of a new season”) makes them less frightening.

Realise that you’re not the only one who has these feelings. Even experienced professionals go through this.

And it makes no difference what anybody else says.

I get nervous before every concert that I conduct or every performance I sing in. People say “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.” That is of no help whatsoever, because I still have the same feelings. It’s just part of the job.

I’ve got a singing workshop to lead this Saturday and I’ve not done one for a few weeks. I’m really nervous. Wish me luck!

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Chris Rowbury




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