5 great ways to finish a choir rehearsal

Developing well-planned, balanced rehearsals is an important part of the choir leader’s role. At the beginning of a season there will be more music learning or note bashing to cover as your singer’s become familiar with new pieces. Further on in the season the focus may be more on fine-tuning those pieces. Wherever you are in the season it’s important to keep your singers engaged, to offer enjoyable rehearsals that cover the learning required, while¬†avoiding them feeling overwhelmed. How you end a rehearsal is an important part of this. Here are some top tips for a positive finish to every rehearsal.

1. Leave on a high

When you are learning new music, especially if the choir are picking it up well, it can be tempting just to plough¬†on with it and get as much done as possible. However, as the rehearsal goes on, especially if it’s in the evening, chances are that concentration levels will start to dip. Shorter sections of learning across a well planned term of rehearsals will most probably prove far more beneficial than a lengthy slog where little may be retained. Avoid learning new pieces right up to the end of a rehearsal. Instead, get the choir standing and have a good sing through what you’ve got so far. This will leave them feeling on a high about their achievements rather than overwhelmed about what they still don’t know.

Bring out some old favourites

It’s always good to remember that people come along to a choir because they like to have a good sing. A great way to end a rehearsal is to bring out a couple of old favourites which your singers know inside out. This can be particularly benefiicial if you’ve been doing a lot of new learning in the rehearsal. Don’t be tempted to direct parts, point out issues or make corrections, just let them sing. If you do notice things that need work jot them down and return to them earlier in another rehearsal.

Don’t overrun

Just as you expect your singers to be at the rehearsal on time, don’t forget they have other things going on in their lives and running over may cause them frustration and inconvenience. Plan your rehearsal to end on time and cut things out if necessary to do so. Just make a note to yourself so that you can incorporate what you missed into a subsequent rehearsal. Starting and finishing on time is not only courtesy to your singers, it also reflects well on you and your organisation of the rehearsal.

Say thank you

It’s a simple thing but thanking your singers at the end of a rehearsal for their hard work goes along way. Showing your appreciation will make them feel valued and that their work within the choir is appreciated. You may also want to thank anyone who has helped you with the rehearsal admin, and of course your accompanist if you have one.

Have a cool down

Just as you would at the end of a hectic aerobic session, a cool down is a lovely way to finish a rehearsal and helps to relax singers. This only needs to be a couple of minutes. You could sing a slower piece from your repertoire or a gentle round getting quieter and quieter each time.

Comments on 5 great ways to finish a choir rehearsal

  1. Avatar Tina Reibl says:

    I really would like to finish the choir session with a round of applause as we do in our yoga and Pilates sessions but each time I suggested this it got a lukewarm response. Any ideas how to get that going?

    1. Avatar Victoria Hopkins says:

      Hi Tina. I think that’s a great idea. I always finish by thanking our accompanist, who gets an enthusiastic round of applause. Why not try something like, ‘would you show your appreciation for your fellow singers with a round of applause please’.

  2. Avatar Doreen Philip says:

    That is good advice. I learned it the hard way though. I did tough it out and the whole thing was a downer. I now have several pieces that they know very well and sing beautifully and I always use one of them at the end. I am glad to see this as it reminds me to keep it going this way. I also like the idea of a round at the end and bringing the sound down. I ‘ll try that too. Thanks.

    1. Christine Mulgrew Christine Mulgrew says:

      Thanks Doreen, glad to hear the article was helpful. Hope you enjoy the rounds cool down. I always find it relaxes me after a busy rehearsal.

  3. Avatar Corryn says:

    Just getting things ready for my choir after our break! Love this advice ! As always , I’m going to put it into practice!
    Thank you Christine ?

    1. Christine Mulgrew Christine Mulgrew says:

      Thanks Corryn,

      Good luck with your new choir season.

  4. We always cool down and as you say, we use something familiar or something brand new but very well known! It’s fun, leaves them smiling and going through the door on a high.

  5. Avatar Sian says:

    I must admit although I know I shouldn’t keep them learning new rep right to the end- just to “finish this line”- I am guilty of ignoring my own better judgement. But I adore a round more so I love the idea of a round to warn down to zero. We’re working on your Tallis and Cakes and Ale rounds at the moment, ready for Xmas.

    1. Avatar Victoria Hopkins says:

      We’re all guilty of that from time to time Sian. Glad you’re enjoying the rounds.

  6. Avatar Sue says:

    Thanks for tips, really helpful. I record the group when they are just starting a new piece and then when they have mastered it. I then play it back to them so that they can hear how they have improved. Excellent morale booster.

    1. Avatar Victoria Hopkins says:

      That’s a really interesting tip Sue. Thanks.

  7. Avatar Ronaldo Dioneda says:

    Very nice. This is a sort of reminder as we try to build the ensemble around best practices.

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