Choir leaders - do you practise what you preach?

I woke up yesterday morning with sore ribs. It was the kind of soreness that you get from doing something strenuous, like carrying heavy shopping. I racked my brains. I hadn't lifted anything particularly heavy in the preceding 24 hours, so what had caused the strain? Then I realised - it was from conducting my choir the evening before. That was the only explanation.

I hadn't felt like I was overdoing it, but I must have been. This got me thinking about what I do, week in, week out with my choir, and how it relates to what I talk about on Total Choir Resources and what I teach on our new site, Choir Leader Academy, where we've just launched our first training course for choir leaders.

Christine and I have never held ourselves out to be "experts". We're working choir leaders who've benefited from good training and gained a lot of experience. We've tripped up along the way and learned a thing or two about leading choirs. We're further along that journey than many of our audience and we're passionate about helping them.

The very least our audience should be able to expect of us is that we follow our own advice, right? And clearly I hadn't - I'd conducted with sufficient stress and tension that I was feeling it the next day.

This realisation led me to a conclusion that I'd perhaps lost sight of during all the hard work and excitement of launching the Academy - we have to be our own auditors, and we have to audit regularly.

Even when we've been leading our choirs for years (perhaps especially then) we must take the time to review our skills and how we apply them. If we don't, we may end up with sore ribs, but we may also simply not be giving our choirs our best.

So I'm auditing. I'm going to run through my season plan and check that I'm on top of everything in terms of score preparation and rehearsal planning. And, re the sore ribs, I'll be videoing my next rehearsal to see if I've got into bad habits and to check that I'm practising what I preach.
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Incorporate conducting practice to boost your skills and confidence


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