I’ve written before about strategies to help you get ready for your choir rehearsal but what about when it’s finished? In my experience choir leaders often walk away from rehearsals completely wired and if you run your choir in the evening this is certainly not conducive to sleep!
After teaching, interacting, keeping your rehearsal on track, bringing the voice parts together, answering queries and making sure everything runs smoothly your brain feels in overdrive. This is often quite the opposite to how you feel earlier in the day as you prepare yourself to go into the rehearsal
What I have learnt over time however, is that such thoughts are going to get me nowhere but a restless night’s sleep. So I’ve taken things into my own hands and have created some strategies to cool down and relax. For me this is work in progress and I’m not claiming to be perfect at this, but I’m determined to give it a good go and am already starting to see some success.
Make some notes
There can be so much to take in during a rehearsal. You have requests from members, thoughts about where you are with your music learning – what needs further work and what is going really well. You may also need to take stock of performance availibility information, what refreshments need stocking up or what you need to cover the following week that you didn’t get done that evening. Rather than have this all floating around in your head after the rehearsal, take five minutes to jot down some notes. Getting information out of your head and onto paper or your computer can work wonders to relax you as you know it’s recorded and won’t be forgotten.
Once you’ve noted anything down that needs action next time you work, it’s time to relax. Now this may be something different for everyone. You may like to pop for a drink with a few choir members after rehearsal, you may like to put your feet up and watch some TV. Or you could opt for a relaxing bath or a spot of yoga. Choose something which you know will help you unwind. Focus on this activity as part of your rehearsal process reminding yourself what your reward will be for your hard work.
Rehearsals are demanding on the voice, you might be demonstrating parts, giving instructions, speaking with members on a one to one basis and generally using your voice right through. Now is the time to be quiet and re-hydrate. I find tea or hot water (sometimes with honey and lemon) can be lovely and soothing after a choir rehearsal.
Get some rest
This point applies if your rehearsal takes place in the evening. When you feel wired it can be tempting to stay up really late but tiredness soon sets in from the physical nature of leading a choir rehearsal. Don’t get caught out snoozing on the sofa and waking with a bad neck or get so tired that you can’t be bothered to get ready for bed! (or is that one just me)? Once you’ve done your relaxing activity, try to get to bed swiftly. At this point I thoroughly recommend having a good book to read. The time you hit the pillow is often when you start asking yourself a million questions about how your rehearsal went! I can vouch that getting lost in a good book really can help divert this thought process and you’ll be off to sleep in no time!