Monday, September 11, 2023

How to finish a choir rehearsal well

Everybody talks about the importance of warming up and properly preparing to sing before each rehearsal.

photo by spelio

But what about ending a rehearsal? Not as much attention is paid to that. How do we end so singers go away feeling great?

I wrote last time to remind everyone that singers have come to SING and not just learn or note bash at each rehearsal.

Even with a big concert coming up or with particularly demanding repertoire, it’s important to include an element of fun in every rehearsal and to leave singers with a feeling of achievement.

sing something well known

After all that learning, it’s good to remind singers what they’re capable of. Don’t continue to learn new material right up to the end of the rehearsal. Sing something from your back catalogue that everyone knows well to give singers a sense of satisfaction and achievement. And it gives everyone a chance to have a good old sing!

leave ’em wanting more!

Rather than wrapping everything up nicely at the end, maybe leave some loose ends for the next rehearsal. A promise of something fun and interesting to look forward to helps to motivate singers each week.

let go of the reins

Any singing that you do at the end of a rehearsal should be pretty free-form. Try not to direct or give notes or pick singers up on any mistakes. Make a note and leave it for another time.

remind singers how good they are

A little praise goes a long way. Point out how far singers have come, that the well-known songs they’ve just sung were once unknown and daunting to learn. Say well done and thank you for their patience and all the learning they’ve done in that rehearsal. Remind them how good they are, certainly compared with when they started.

we warm up, why not cool down?

We all know that feeling of not being able to sleep after choir night! Rehearsals can be buzzy once we’ve got going. Maybe we should pay some attention to cooling down at the end.

Slowly ease your singers back into real life by singing something simple and gentle. A slow number in your repertoire perhaps, or an easy round. You gradually get quieter as you sing, and maybe even start to move away from other singers. This can have a calming effect and also put you back in touch with yourself rather than as part of a group.

Chris Rowbury


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