Going the extra mile for your choir

I've talked in previous posts about how important it is to bring your own unique leadership style to your choir.  In this post, I want to develop that idea by looking at things you can do to make your choir stand out and be something to which people want to belong.

It is vital to try to look at your choir from your singers' point of view - what is great about this choir?  Why would I want to join?  How will it keep my interest?  Consider the things you would find attractive about belonging to a choir, what would really drive you to stay involved?

Here are a few actions you can take to make your choir as singer-friendly as possible:

1.  Have a great website that gives members all the information they need about rehearsals and performances. You could also provide rehearsal tracks to help with their learning. But why stop there? Add a "members only" section where singers can suggest repetoire ideas or a blog with interesting choir or voice-related stories.  On our choir blog we have just started posting "audio chats" where I interview choir members about their favourite singers and songs.  This has proved a great way to get members interacting and has given them a chance to express themselves about music to their fellow choir members.

2.  Arrange social events for the choir. We usually hold summer and Christmas events for our choirs.  This summer we have hired our community hall, stage, sound, lighting and all, for an open mic night.  This is an inexpensive (always cover your costs) way of bringing everybody together, particularly as many members are now busy working together on songs to perform.  These events are a great way to strengthen the choir's bond and making your choir an attractive prospect for new members.

3.  Ask their opinion.  Why not have a competition to choose repertoire for the choir? Ask members to suggest songs or pieces either by email or paper slips given out at rehearsal.  Then choose a winner and perform their piece at a future next concert.

4.  Offer something additional for those who want to further their skills.  Workshops and private tuition are a great way of doing this, plus they bring you additional revenue.  This is a whole topic in itself which we will be looking at in further detail in the near future.

5.  Offer great customer service!  As well as being helpful with queries and suggestions during rehearsals, make sure that you acknowledge and promptly reply to queries that come by email or phone. That way your members will know that you value their opinions. Replying promptly also means that you keep on top of your workload and aren't faced with a mountain of emails all at once.

As you can see all of these ideas take some effort and time and not all of them offer financial reward.  However, I firmly believe that the more dynamic and interesting you can make your choir, the more people will want to be and remain a part of it, which in turn will feed your motivation and commitment.
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