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Choir leaders: Look after your voice

Being a choir leader can be demanding on your voice, particularly if you are also a singer and like to demonstrate during rehearsals. Just as preparing repertoire and rehearsals is vital to what you do, so is looking after and maintaining your voice.

If you are always rushing around and your voice sounds tired and croaky this doesn't set the best example to your singers about looking after their voices!

The great benefit of being a singer and choir leader is that you understand and appreciate the …

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How to juggle family life with running a choir

When people ask me what I do for a living, I should say 'I'm a juggler'! Planning and running rehearsals, making sure weekend performances don't clash with any key family dates or even just squeezing the amount of prep and planning needed into the school hours - sound familiar? Pleasing everyone is a hefty task. Whether you're a parent, a wife, husband, partner, carer or friend, we all have responsibilities in our working and our personal lives.

The conclusion I've reached is that I can't do it a…

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Planning social events to boost your choir's team spirit

A choir that works together as a team is enjoyable and responsive to teach, which will improve their overall sound and performance.

In previous articles we've looked at teambuilding exercises which can be used in warm-ups to get everyone interacting. We've also focused on mixing up singers so that people get to meet each other and hear other voices around them. Another key way in which we can develop relationships and interaction within our choirs is to arrange social events. Not only are these l…

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The importance of focusing on one thing at a time in choir rehearsals

When we rehearse our choirs, we're using many skills, but perhaps the most important one is listening. Even if we're not conscious of it, we're listening to our choirs all the time. It's tempting to intervene every time we hear something that could be corrected or improved, but I want to counsel against that. Here are a few tips and ideas for keeping rehearsals focused.

The law of diminishing returns

If you try to change too much at once, it's quite likely that you'll get a negative effect overa…

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How to deal with singers who don't show up to choir

Poor attendance from choir members can be extremely frustrating for a leader. You take the time to plan rehearsals and develop repertoire over time, then someone rocks up who's missed all your carefully-honed tuition. But before you launch into a tirade about attendance and commitment, take a deep breath and consider a few things.

Is your perception correct?

Don't confront anyone about poor attendance unless you're sure that their attendance is, in fact, poor. If you take a register at rehearsal…

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Running choir rehearsals when you're not in the mood

When you run a choir week in, week out, it's inevitable that there will be times when you're simply not in the mood. It happens to the best of us; after all we're only human. You may feel tired or a bit grumpy. Whatever you're feeling, when you walk into your rehearsal room, it's vital that you put these feelings aside. But just how do you do this? Here are some tips and reminders of ways to keep your rehearsals consistently inspiring, no matter how you feel.

Practise what you preach

Always thin…

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Choosing choir warm-ups to solve problems in rehearsal

One of the aspects of leading my choir that I don't tend to succeed at all the time is making notes after rehearsal. I always have the best intentions, and I usually manage to jot down any tasks that really need to picked up, like emailing someone or ordering scores. Where I sometimes fall down is in making notes about what went well in rehearsal and what needs attention.

The 'I'm too tired' excuse!

When I get to the end of a session, I'm usually pretty tired - after all, I've just spent two hou…

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Boost your enjoyment of choir rehearsals with these easy confidence tips

We all get a bit nervous at times. Standing up in front of a group and giving instructions can be particularly nerve-wracking, even when we're doing something as enjoyable as making music. If you struggle with confidence in rehearsals, try these top tips to get your head in the game.

Know your stuff

Preparation is a big confidence booster. Having a clear rehearsal plan and doing your homework will help you to lead your choir in a professional and organised way. Of course, we all have to be react…

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3 Great reasons to run sectional workshops for your choir

When you work with a choir over a long period, you learn their strengths and their challenges. But not all vocal sections are the same. Sectional rehearsals allow you to focus on the needs of a smaller group, praise their strengths and encourage them to take repsonsibility for their own performance.

Teambuilding and solidarity

Working with a section individually can make some singers, particularly the ones who like to hide at the back, feel suddenly exposed. My mission for my sectional workshops…

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How to introduce new styles of repertoire to your choir

As choir leaders we always want to be looking forward, developing our choirs and creating exciting, memorable rehearsals and performances for our singers. One great way to do this is to try new styles of repertoire. Here are our top tips for introducing these to your choir and ensuring a smooth running experience as you embark on something new and exciting.

Know your music inside out

When attempting new styles of repertoire, or more demanding repertoire, it's vital to allow yourself enough time …

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