Freshen up your choir for the year ahead
There’s nothing like a new season for reflecting on your choir and how you will inspire and excite your singers (and yourself) in the months ahead. Here are five areas to consider as you go into a new phase with your choir.
Building your skills
Running a choir takes lots of time and energy. Is your own development and learning getting neglected because of this? Think about the things you’d like to know or experience and put them into action. Perhaps you want to develop your knowledge of a particular area of music. You may want to learn more about the anatomy of the voice. Maybe you want to try a different style of music. Whatever your ambition spend a little time researching workshops, online courses or books which can help you develop and expand your knowledge. This will be a great confidence boost to you and inspire you for new projects which in turn will enrich your singers’ experience in the choir.
Without the pressure of rehearsals during the holidays, have a think about how they run, how they feel and take into consideration any feedback you’ve been given. Are there areas upon which you can improve? Does something not quite work that could be easily changed to make things run more smoothly? It’s very easy to just keep on doing things the way they’ve always been done but sometimes a few changes can add a fresh new feel to a rehearsal. Think about the room layout in your venue, any breaks you have during the session, the way you carry out administration, the way you teach repertoire. Developing new ideas can create new enthusiasm and make your job as choir leader all the more easier and enjoyable.
Now is the time to have a look at new repertoire whether that’s online, from your own music collection or suggestions from choir members. Have a good listen to some music and plan ahead. It may be you want to take your choir in a new direction even if this is only for a one-off project. Challenge yourself and your singers and help them to expand their musical repertoire with different styles. Think about what your choir has achieved in the previous year and what the next step is. For example, you may have worked hard developing harmony skills – why not try an unaccompanied piece this year to build upon that?
Inspiring your singers
Now is definitely the time to think of new ideas and performance opportunities for the year ahead. Don’t just automatically opt for the same events you have taken part in in previous years, or if you do think of ways to change things so that there is a fresh approach. Remember, just because you have always done a certain event doesn’t mean you always have to. Feel free and think about what would really excite you and the choir. It may be you want to perform further afield, do an exchange visit with another choir or a spontaneous flash mob. Think big and think outside the box.
Looking after yourself
If you felt exhausted at the end of the previous year, think of ways you can prevent that from happening going forward. Take time to do activities you enjoy that will keep you happy and focused when it comes to working with your choir. Perhaps you can ask for some help with administration, dealing with enquiries or other tasks. You may have overloaded yourself with performances in which case maybe your singers felt the same. Less can definitely be more and fewer carefully selected events may be the best option.
Whatever changes you decide to make, good luck!