When choir rehearsals don’t go to plan – Part 2

Last week, I talked about how to handle distracted singers, how to respond when the atmosphere hits a lull, and what to do about interruptions. This week, I look at time management issues.

Situation 4 – time rushes away with you

Sometimes your rehearsal plan can turn out to be too ambitious. Perhaps the choir has lots of questions, or they just don’t learn a section as quickly as you’d expected. This is where you need to respond in the moment to your choir’s needs. Is it more important to continue with the piece you’re working on or do you need to switch?

If the choir is working well, it might be a good decision to keep going and ditch whatever you were planning to move onto. You can tweak next week’s plan to make sure that you give that piece priority next time. Keep an eye on your overall season or pre-performance schedule to make sure that you’ll be able to deliver everything in good time. This situation isn’t too much of a problem when it happens occasionally because your season plan will ensure that you stay on top of your repertoire, but if it’s occuring every week you may want to review your rehearsal planning or teaching techniques to get you back on track. It might be that the schedule or amount of repertoire is simply too ambitious for the timescale.

Situation 5 – don’t be afraid to be spontaneous

A rehearsal plan is there to be a guide, to help you achieve what you want with your choir and to give you confidence that you know what you’re doing. However, don’t let it dictate to you completely so that you can’t respond in the moment to your choir. Perhaps an exercise or warm-up goes really well and creates a great buzz in the room, why not repeat it with a twist? Perhaps members request to sing one of their favourite songs – let them sing it at the end of the session when you have covered the work you have planned. Try to work with your choir. If there are things they enjoy that help them to focus and work together, this can only be a good thing. If you always respond to requests with ‘sorry, that’s not on my plan today’, you’ll be in danger of killing the mood.

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