The pros and cons of having a break in your choir rehearsal
Whether or not to have a break during a choir rehearsal is often a hot topic of debate among choir leaders. What I've learnt over the years is that whatever you decide, think carefully from the off because once you start something it can be difficult to then take it away again. If you're starting a choir or considering making some changes to your rehearsal structure, here are some pros and cons to help you along the way:
- If you run a choir that is community-focused, building relationships amongst the members can be a big part of why people join in the first place. A break gives singers a chance to interact and relax together.
- A break may reduce chatter and help focus your singers on the rehearsal as they know they will get an opportunity to catch up with their friends.
- An entire rehearsal can be a long time for people to focus on learning, particularly in the evening. It helps to break up this time and refresh singers ready to focus on the second half of the rehearsal.
- Having members who muck in and help out with organising a break can be a great way of boosting team spirit.
- As the leader, a break gives you a pause to collect your thoughts, make any relevant notes on the rehearsal so far and any changes you may want to make in the second half.
- A break may interrupt the flow of a concentrated rehearsal and move singers' focus away from the repertoire in hand.
- Depending on your venue and choir size, the break may prove tricky logistically.
- When singing, water is the best form of hydration. A tea and biscuit, while comforting, may not be so beneficial.
- If you have a break involving the preparation of refreshments, there's lots of clearing up to be done.
- If you provide refreshments, that's an added expense, plus you need to keep on top of and bring in fresh supplies.
If you do decide to have a break, here are my top tips:
- Have a strategic system so that the break runs smoothly, with people quickly able to get what they need without putting themselves in danger ie; bumping into others carrying hot drinks.
- Decide how long the break will be and stick to this. A fifteen minute break can easily turn into twenty to twenty five if you're not careful.
- Have a method of getting everyone back to their seats quickly (some music can help with this).
- Bulk buy supplies so that you're not left racing to the shops before every rehearsal. It's also more cost effective.