Monday, April 10, 2023

10 ideas to help you balance stress with enjoyment when putting on a singing event

A little stress can be good for us. It helps us to get things done or to focus on something that needs our attention. 

But too much stress can affect our mood, our body and our relationships. How can we put on a successful singing event without getting too stressed out?

Putting on any kind of singing event (concert, workshop, rehearsal, demonstration, etc.) is bound to be stressful to some extent. But if it’s too stressful, it will take away all the joy and pleasure that we normally expect. How can we balance stress with enjoyment?

A certain amount of stress is needed for us to grow. We need to work just outside our comfort zone in order to develop, but not too far or we’ll suffer. It’s a fine balance to strike.

There are two extreme approaches to putting on singing events.

1. the end justifies the means

This is when the event goes ahead regardless of the amount of stress, anxiety, tiredness, confusion, over-work, late nights, and so on. The job gets done (in a fashion), but most people won’t enjoy it, the end result may not be as good as it might be, and everyone will come away feeling pretty awful (and very tired!).

2. the path of least resistance

In order to make the event as stress-free as possible, no attempt is made to do anything challenging. Easy songs, easy harmonies, easy arrangements. Not too many rehearsals, not many demands made, not many songs learnt. If anything tricky crops up, then it is simply avoided or dropped. The show will go on, but there won’t be much sense of achievement felt by anyone, nor will it be a particularly interesting event.

the third way

We need to find a third way. A Goldilocks way that is not too stressful, not too simplistic, but just right and satisfying for all concerned.

Here are a few pointers, in no particular order, that might help.

  1. keep a sense of humour — the easiest way to keep things stress-free is to make light of things. Take the work seriously, but don’t be too serious about it all.
  2. it’s only a singing event — maintain a perspective. It’s not life-saving surgery or a solution to world peace. The week after the event, it will simply be a memory.
  3. keep pushing, but not too hard — we all want to grow, develop and feel a sense of achievement. Which means we need to be pushed or push ourselves to a point where things will initially feel a little difficult. Don’t go too fast too quickly though.
  4. get feedback — keep asking your participants how they’re feeling. Check in on any vulnerable individuals. Learn to read the room to see if things are getting too stressful. You might want to enlist the help of a few monitors amongst your participants who can feedback to you in private what’s going on around them.
  5. be realistic — work with what you’ve got, not what you imagine (or hope) you’ve got. It’s all too easy to have an ambitious idea that is just beyond the people you’re working with. Make sure your event is within the realms of the possible.
  6. take time out — sometimes, despite our best intentions, things will get a little fraught. As soon as that happens, do something different: take a tea break, go for a walk, reconvene the next day, sing something simple, do some mad dancing.
  7. don’t be afraid to change plans — if something’s not working, then you might want to drop it. You’ll get a sense of whether you’re flogging a dead horse, or a little more work will make things right.
  8. you can always cancel — occasionally, no matter how hard you try, preparing for a particular event can become too stressful to continue. For example, illness may hit several participants or leaders, a problem might arise with your venue, weather extremes might make meeting up difficult. It is neve too late to cancel the event, and maintain everyone’s sanity.
  9. plan, plan and plan againmake a detailed plan of how the process leading up to the event is going to work. Think of all the things that can go wrong. Make sure you have enough time and people. Rejig the plan with plenty of wriggle room for things that might go wrong. Be prepared to change the plan as you go along.
  10. get help — sometimes events become stressful because there aren’t enough people (or not the right people) on the team. Be clear about where your own strengths lie, and get others to help out in your weaker areas.

I’m sure you have lots of other useful ideas of your own. Do leave a comment and share them with us.


Chris Rowbury


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