Monday, March 16, 2020

Ought choir leaders to be making health decisions for their singers?

We are living in “interesting times” (according to the old Chinese curse). Many of us are finding ourselves in the uncomfortable position of having to make health decisions for other people.

But is it our responsibility as choir leaders?

I don’t believe that choir leaders should be taking responsibility for other people’s health.

The responsibility should be mutual. It’s easy to forget that, so I’ve given some examples of what can be expected from each side.

choirs leaders’ responsibilities

We provide opportunities for people to come and sing with others. If the singers are adults, they can choose whether to attend or not.

The space for singing should be safe, both physically and mentally/emotionally.

We should treat our singers with kindness and respect.

We should always do everything we can to safeguard singers’ health. For example, by not leading choir if we have any kind of bug that can be passed on (see The choir leader’s guide to catching a cold). By making sure the space we work in is clean, at a comfortable temperature and is well-ventilated.

The space for singing should be accessible, have seats for those who need them, have a source of drinking water, and toilets with somewhere where people can wash their hands.

We should never ask singers to do anything they find uncomfortable.

singers’ responsibilities

If you have any kind of bug that can be passed on, don’t attend. And not just when there’s a new virus in town – see Keep it to yourself! – why colds, singing and choirs don’t mix

Be kind and respectful to your choir leader and other singers.

Adhere to any rules put in place by your choir leader.

If you know that something is not good for you (e.g. particular movements during the warm up, attending a group when you are in an at-risk group), don’t do it.

Turn up on time and participate fully in the session.

Practice at home if asked too.

other responsibilities

I’m sure there are plenty of things I’ve missed out. Do feel free to let us know!

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Chris Rowbury




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