Blog

How to stay on track in mid-season choir rehearsals

There's always a tremendous feeling of enthusiasm at the beginning of a season, with new music to introduce to the choir, a fresh performance to work towards and perhaps some new warm-ups to throw into the mix.

However, in my experience, there's a tricky phase in the middle of the season where we have learned the basic elements of the songs but they are not yet performance ready. Feelings of doubt as to our being ready in time start to creep in and I feel uncertain about how to tackle the workloa…

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How to create a teaching plan for your choir's new music

Embarking on a new piece with your choir can be a little daunting for all involved. Often you have gone from weeks of rehearsals leading to a performance where everyone is completely sure of their parts and harmonies, to suddenly being right back at the beginning of the learning process.

I love starting on new pieces and watching my choir as I introduce them, as the first harmonies start coming together and as my singers grow to love it (or if they don't love it at the very least grow to apprecia…

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5 great reasons to warm up your choir

Creating new and exciting warm-ups to inspire our singers is a crucial part of our rehearsal planning process. Sometimes, when we're busy, it can be all too easy to throw in some old favourites without much thought. However, the warm-up session of your reherasal is the perfect opportunity to develop your choir. With careful planning, you can create confident, happy singers who thrive when learning repertoire. Here are five great reasons to remind you why warm-ups are so beneficial.

Focusing our …

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What makes a great choir leader?

You could be forgiven for thinking that being a choir leader is mainly about musical ability. While that's pretty high up on the scale, there are many other skills and attributes required to be a great choir leader. Here are my top five which will get you on the road to success.

Good communicator

Communication is a key quality in building a rapport with your choir. Good communication will gain their attention and get results. Think about the information you need to give to your choir, whether it…

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How to encourage your choir to sing with emotion

With our contemporary and chamber choirs, we spend a lot of time learning our repertoire thoroughly. We also spend a lot of time focusing on the physical aspects of technique - posture, diction, facial expression, breathing. Occasionally, I think that with all the focus on the detail of rehearsal and performance, we can lose the essential, emotional core of the music. We must never forget that the point of performing music is to communicate an emotional message to an audience. Everything else we…

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Community choirs take over the world!

It's never been more popular to sing in a choir. The choral landscape is unrecognisable to what it was only a few years ago. Choirs are springing up in communities all over the place and they look very different to the choirs of old!

We stopped singing

In bygone decades, choral singing was basically the preserve of churches. In the UK, there's also a long tradition of choral societies that were often associated with orchestras, but if you wanted to get involved, you needed to be able to read mus…

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5 ways to source the perfect choir rehearsal venue

If you're starting a choir choosing your venue can be exciting and makes everything feel very real! Making the right choice can be key to the success of your new venture. To help you here are five ways to ensure your venue is the perfect fit.

Location

Depending where you live you may have a choice of just one or two venues or you may have a vast array of options. Think about the singers you want to attract to your choir. Is the venue in a central location to the community you are aiming to reach…

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Creating a balanced warm-up session for your choir

Adding a good warm-up session at the beginning of your rehearsal can really help to focus your singers. By creating a well balanced selection of exercises you will ensure variety as well as working on different skills which will help your singers develop their voices and in turn also improve on aspects of their repertoire. Warm-ups are also great for bringing your singers together as a team developing their sound and relationships with each other.

So how do you go about ensuring you have a good b…

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Recharge your batteries! Enjoying time away from choir

For many choir leaders, summer sees a break from the routine of weekly choir rehearsals as regular activities quieten down during the long school holiday.

I try to actively embrace this time enjoying the fact that for five weeks I have an additional free evening! My advice is not to let these evenings pass unnoticed, make the most of them. For me, it's Thursdays but whatever day of the week you have free for a while, here are some fun ideas to fill the time:

Relax, relax, relax...

The constant re…

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4 quick tips for assessing whether repertoire will work for your choir

Choosing repertoire for your choir is a big part of your planning process. Of course, there are numerous things to consider and you'll want to spend plenty of time getting your choices right, but I thought it would be useful to set out a few essentials issues to ponder when you're trying to work out whether a piece would be suitable for your choir.

Vocal range

The first thing to consider is whether the ranges covered by the various vocal parts corresponds to the vocal ranges of your singers. The…

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