Monday, December 19, 2022

“It’s only a show!” – keeping perspective when preparing for a concert

Rehearsals can become somewhat fraught when a concert is coming up.

It’s easy to become fixated on the work and to lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s only a concert after all. Here’s how to keep a sense of perspective.

When preparing for a concert, both singers and choir leaders (usually!) take the task seriously (although with fun thrown in of course). There is a lot on the line: a paying audience expect a good show, the choir’s reputation is on the line, individual singers don’t want to look (or sound) foolish, choir leaders have a standard to maintain, and so on.

Sometimes rehearsals can become all-consuming, the fun elements get pushed to one side, and everything becomes rather stressful and too much like ‘work’.

At times like this, it’s important to step back and get the whole thing in perspective.

It’s only a concert.

There will be plenty more in the future. It will be over (and forgotten) in a day or so. It’s not saving the world. Most people out there don’t care and won’t even notice.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try your best and put the work in. Just keep a balanced view of the whole endeavour. It is possible to present an excellent performance without losing the fun side and without getting stressed.

In fact, the more you approach the concert with a sense of lightness and fun (and don’t get too ‘serious’ about the whole thing), the better the results usually are.

And remember, not everything is in you control.

The choir leader may get sick; the venue might have to close (no heating, flood, power cut); the weather might prevent your audience from coming; there might be a nasty bug going round one section of singers and they don’t turn up for the show; for whatever reason you might get a very small audience; there might be a train strike or a road closure preventing singers and audience from getting to the venue. You get the idea.

If you invest too heavily in the importance of your concert, you will be devastated if any of the above happen.

Better to shrug it off, chalk it up to experience, and look forward to the next one.

As the theatre director Peter Brook once wrote:

“Don’t take it too seriously. Hold on tightly, let go lightly.” The Shifting Point

Which means take it as seriously as you can, but be prepared to let go if things aren’t working out. A great balance to strike if you can!

May all your concerts be huge successes, and may all your rehearsals be full of creative fun. But remember: “It’s only a show!”

Chris Rowbury


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