Monday, August 10, 2020

Choir leading as low-impact aerobics, or, how I gained weight during lockdown

Although I don’t have a regular choir, before the pandemic I used to lead one or two singing workshops each week.

I now realise that was my main exercise! Since lockdown, I’ve become a couch potato.

Many choir members know how much work we put in to leading a choir. But I’m sure, as they’re dozing off in the back row at an evening rehearsal, they don’t appreciate how physical it can be.

It’s not just the arm waving, or the limitless energy we have to beam at our singers, we also do a lot of walking about. The health app on my phone tells me that during a typical one-day workshop I might walk as much as three miles.

And if I’m teaching a rhythmic song I do a lot of bouncing and dancing around.

Being a choir leader is a bit like being the Energiser bunny.

We use every ounce of wile and energy to encourage our singers to give their best. On a cold, winter’s evening towards the end of the working week, most singers need a huge energy injection from us.

I started to notice over the long summer break that I would put a bit of weight on. I didn’t seem to be eating more, in fact, I’d be eating more salads and healthy fruit.

I then realised that when I wasn’t working, I didn’t get a lot of energetic exercise. Maybe the occasional walk in nature, but nothing like the low-impact aerobics of leading a choir.

During lockdown the situation has become worse. It’s been four months since I’ve led a singing workshop and my waist band is expanding. Just think of how big I’m going to be once we finally get back to singing together.

There is a solution: put your favourite recording of your choir on really loud and conduct like mad as if it were your most important concert ever. I’m hoping the pounds will drop off!


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Chris Rowbury




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