Last weekend, I ran a workshop for twenty singers called Contemporary Singing for Beginners. I made the workshop a combination of basic vocal techniques as well as some group singing because I knew that those taking part would be anxious about solo singing. At the end, some of the participants told me what a revelation these techniques had been to them and how they had never realised there was so much scope for improving their voices. Like many novices, they had assumed that you can either sing or you can’t.
I realised that because I’ve been teaching vocal techniques for a long time, I had forgotten myself what a difference they can make to singers, particularly those just starting out and exploring their voices. I think I had even become a little concerned that when I ran these kinds of workshops, I was stating the obvious. I went away from the workshop feeling extremely really positive, knowing that the knowledge and experience I have gained is helpful to others.
We all have our own unique expertise. It might be vocal technique, music theory, a particular style or genre, or the ability to nurture team spirit. Take some time to think about your own skills as a choir leader and note down the things you can offer your singers already. You may be surprised at how much knowledge you already have that you might be taking for granted. You can also jot down areas you’d like to improve on, whether that’s building on existing knowledge or tackling something completely new.
Once you have identified what your specialist areas are, think about how you can apply them in choir rehearsals or workshops to help your singers develop. For example, when was the last time you went back to basics and spent some time with your singers on posture and breathing? Perhaps you could include some exercises to renew your choir’s focus on their breathing, then apply those exercises to some of your repertoire. The result may be an absolute lightbulb moment for your singers. Developing your singers will not only improve their voices and sound as a choir, it will also be more rewarding for you and will keep singers coming to your choir as they learn and develop with you.