Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and everyone is focused on showing that special someone just how much you care for them. It is also a great time for choir directors everywhere to show our choirs how much we care about them. May these “BE’s” be helpful to you as you think of ways to show your singers just how much they mean to you this Valentine’s Day and many days beyond.
BE PREPARED – Nothing says “I care about you” more to your choir than for you, the director, to always be prepared. Know your music inside and out. Prepare for rehearsals. Have long-term rehearsal plans and set goals for each rehearsal. Video-record yourself conducting. Periodically review these recordings to fine-tune your gestures and verbal directives.
BE ATTENTIVE – Stay attentive to the overall “pulse” of your ensemble. Learn to recognize when intensity is flagging and strive to keep things moving along. Be attentive to what each section might be thinking and feeling and respond accordingly. Don’t ignore small issues; left unattended, they often grow into bigger issues.
BE CONSIDERATE – A choir is like a family and we directors must give careful consideration to each member. Make it your priority to know what’s going on in the lives of your singers and show care for them individually. Singers bring a wide variety of life-issues into our rehearsals, and we should that in mind as we tackle daily musical challenges.
BE KIND – “A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath” (Proverbs 15:1 CSB). There are plenty of unkind things spoken daily in our culture, and the choir rehearsal room is no place for them. As choir directors we must strive to be proactive in our responses; not reactionary or defensive. Give thoughtful and kind answers to your singers. Showing kindness in your demeanor and attitude goes a long way toward peace in the family.
BE ENCOURAGING – As directors we are trained to hear imperfections and to correct them systematically and thoroughly. However, if we’re not careful, we can discourage our ensembles if we don’t balance our critique with positive reinforcement. Let’s all remember to give encouragement (without flattery) as we strive for choral excellence.
BE FAIR – One of the most effective way to show our singers we love them is by consistently treating everyone fairly. Perceived injustice can poison your rehearsal space and ultimately lead to singers dropping out of your choir. Take time to consider every detail of each incidence, and respond with love and fairness. Be sure to include other adults in your application of the rules during the most tedious challenges.
- BE YOURSELF – Your singers love you just the way you are! If we expend energy pretending to be someone we’re not, they’ll see right through it. Be professional, be wise, be courteous, be sensitive, and be so much more. But above all, be the best YOU you can be! Happy Valentine’s Day!
If you're interested in more advice for tackling the challenges of the choral year, check out our article "Advice for Running the Choral Marathon" here!
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