Monday, July 08, 2024

Vital information when using a new space for singing

I used a new space for a singing workshop recently and realised (too late) that I’d forgotten a few practical things.

photo by Joshua Morley

I thought I’d list some of them here to you can avoid the same mistake.

It’s important to visit any new rehearsal or workshop space before you use it. You’ll note the obvious things such as accessibility, capacity, heating, light, etc. But there might be a few things that you miss. This is especially important if you’re doing a one-off session away from where you live.

Here are some of the things that I forgot:

a sign for the door – if the venue is new to the singers, then they need to be reassured that they’ve come to the right place. Put a big sign at the entrance so people know it’s the right place.

put the kettle on 1 – the new venue I used had large urns to heat the water. They automatically refill. However, they take a good 30 minutes to warm up so I couldn’t offer a hot drink to people as they arrived. Next time I’ll ask the caretaker to put them on for me in plenty of time.

put the kettle on 2 – since the water in the urns wasn’t hot, I managed to find a large kettle. Unfortunately I couldn’t find out how to turn the gas ring on as it had a safety switch! Too late, I found a notice on the wall in a really unexpected place. Make sure you know how the kitchen works and what equipment, crockery, cutlery, etc. it has.

where are the toilets? – you may have visited the venue before, but not the toilets. It’s easy to forget where they are. Especially important when you need to tell the singers.

emergency contact – if something goes wrong at the venue, do you know who to contact? At my workshop the water suddenly went off and I had no idea who to contact. Luckily I had the phone number of the woman who had unlocked and she could pass a message on.

how to access the venue? – is there going to be a gate with a code to get into the car park? Where exactly is the ramp for wheelchairs? Is the main entrance obvious? Where do people park? Is the bus stop near?

make a checklist – it’s always useful to make a checklist of all the above (and more) for when you next check out a possible new venue. I have one, but I’d missed some of these things off. I’ve now updated it!

further reading

You might find these older posts useful.

It’s too hot to sing! – choosing the right space to work in

Making the space work for you – how to cope with unusual venues

How to squeeze singers into a rehearsal space that’s too small

Chris Rowbury


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