Running a choir rehearsal takes focus and energy. We need to inspire our singers, lead them through learning repertoire, use and teach techniques to make that repertoire sound amazing and balance a rehearsal so that our choir enjoys it.
Of course, when we are revved up, full of energy and ready to go that’s fantastic, but over the choir year we need some tried and tested strategies to enable us to confidently lead our rehearsals however we feel. I have always found small rituals can make a big difference on choir days.
Take time out beforehand
On choir day I am always conscious that come the evening I need to try and be my best self and not feel too overtired. With this in mind I plan my work day to allow me a gap of time between finishing work and going to choir. For me this means a nice long walk with my dog after lunch before the chaos of the school pick up, preparing dinner and making sure homework is done..
Anything is better than nothing – even five minutes beforehand to do some relaxation and breathing will make a difference to how you feel when you step out to your rehearsal.
The benefits of good hydration are great on any day but on a choir day I’m always conscious that I need to keep hydrated. In a rehearsal, we talk not only to the choir as a whole, but also to individual members during a break or at the end. We are also often demonstrating parts and using our voices a lot. By staying well hydrated we are instantly making this task easier for ourselves and helping ourselves to feel better, more focused and energised.
When we’re busy, dashing around and on the go all day, it can seem so much better and more convenient to reach for tempting sugary snacks and food which offer instant pleasure but no lasting energy benefits. Planning meals ahead can be a tricky task and certainly is one that I am constantly working hard to strive for – some weeks I do better than others. What I will say is that those weeks where I manage to choose healthy snacks and plan meals giving me lasting energy, I feel so much better.
Stay in the moment
This point sounds obvious and maybe it’s just me but sometimes in rehearsal I find my mind wandering. I might be thinking about what’s coming up next in the rehearsal, I might be worrying if my singers are enjoying themselves, I might be contemplating something that has absolutely nothing to do with my choir! In these moments I may have completely lost contact with what my choir are doing in that single moment. On these occasions, I quickly jolt myself and focus on what is happening in the now as that really is what matters.
Plan, plan, plan
This last point links to the previous one. The more we are planned and ready for a rehearsal, the less time and energy we need to worry about what’s happening in that rehearsal. If I have my plan in front of me, I know where I’m going next, it’s written down and I don’t need to use my head space worrying about this, I can just stay in the present and stay focused. Preparing your rehearsal plan and repertoire ahead of your rehearsal day will mean you don’t have to worry or stress about it at all, you know everything is in place for you to turn up, lead and inspire your singers.