Singing in a choir is one of the most enjoyable experiences of life! Celebrating the comradery of shaping sound and responding as a team can be very rewarding and truly satisfying. However, along the way, there are many challenges to maintaining a positive environment in rehearsals. Negativity, and even bullying are common problems faced by many choir directors today. And, these issues are not unique to educational settings; they also can creep into church and community choirs.
As directors, working to keep a positive atmosphere among our singers can be challenging. So, here are four simple and timely reminders to help us all maintain a positive and affirming environment within our ensembles.
CRITIQUE WITH AFFIRMATION:When working through the tedious details of sound-shaping and score preparation, criticize with affirmation. For example, “Altos, your vowel shape is improving, but we need to continue to add vertical space.” Leading with an affirming word sets a great example for your singers and creates the mood for positive reinforcement within your ensemble.
ENJOY LITTLE CELEBRATIONS:
It’s the little things that matter most. Taking time in rehearsal to celebrate small life-victories will generate positivity in rehearsal, keep the mood light and serve as a wonderful life example to singers they can carry with them throughout their journey. A few good examples of ‘little celebrations’ are birthdays, academic achievements, athletic achievements, job promotions, etc. Celebrating the lives of your choristers along the way will make a world of difference in rehearsal atmosphere.
LAUGH & PLAY TOGETHER:
Rehearsals can become focused and intense at times, especially right before a big performance or event. Scheduling time to laugh and play together as an ensemble is a great way to “let of steam” and build your singing team. The more time singers spend socializing, the more likely it is that they bring the strength of their relationships into the rehearsal room. Singers who play together, stay together.
LOVE YOUR SINGERS:
Love is best revealed by actions. Take deep interest in the lives of your singers. Care for them. Know their families. Invest in their lives. Although there are no guarantees, love is the best insurance policy toward protecting the spirit of your choir and creating that wonderful experience we all cherish when we sing in a choir.
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